Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

029-0211 Potomac Canal Historic District (Patowmack Canal at Great Falls)

Potomac Canal Historic District (Patowmack Canal at Great Falls)
*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

See link(s) below to view additional documentation.

VLR Listing Date 09/19/1978

NRHP Listing Date 10/18/1979

NHL Listing Date 12/17/1982

NRHP Reference Number 79003038

The Patowmack Company was organized in 1785 to make the Potomac River navigable from Georgetown to Harper’s Ferry, a project designed to bring western trade to the Chesapeake region. The canal, one of the earliest in the country to have locks, was innovative from an engineering standpoint. George Washington, a prime mover in Potomac River improvements, served as the company’s first president. The Patowmack Canal Corporation went bankrupt and dissolved its charter in 1826. The canal was abandoned in 1830. The section at Great Falls preserved by the National Park Service contains several locks and numerous archaeological sites relating to the canal and the town of Matildaville, which was planned to serve the canal at Great Falls but eventually disappeared. A remarkable engineering feat is the deep canal trace cut through the rock cliffs.

1982 NHL Nomination

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: June 4, 2020