Along the C&O Canal

August 15, 2023

Welcome back to Georgetown! Both the campus and the neighborhood have changed a lot over the years, but the canal-front transformation might be the most dramatic.

Browne's "Along the Canal"
Syd Browne's Along the Canal
Lithograph on paper, 1943

The C&O Canal closed to commercial traffic in 1924, when the homes and businesses alongside went into decline. By the date of this print, you can see nature beginning to reclaim the area.

Just up the slope from the sleepy canal, though, the Georgetown neighborhood of the 1940s housed an independent and vibrant black community. For more on Black Georgetown see Black Georgetown Remembered, published by the Georgetown University Press. Hear interviews with Black Georgetowners who remember that time on the Press’s YouTube Channel.  

The Canal was designated a National Park in 1971, and today cyclists, joggers, and tourists enjoy its 185 miles. For more views of Georgetown through the ages from the University Art Collection, see our exhibitions Georgetown Impressions and Along the Potomac: Vintage Views by Local Etchers.

--Christen E. Runge, Assistant Curator, Art Collection