Housed in the historic 1913 Western Maryland Railway Station, the Cumberland Visitor Center of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park invites you to explore the rich history of the C&O Canal and Cumberland.
The western terminus of the 184.5 mile long shipping waterway, Cumberland served as the beginning point of much of the heavy shipping along the canal an a major boatbuilding center for the canal company. It was here the George's Creek coal was transferred to canal boats for shipment to Washington DC, and here that the boats returned nearly empty to begin the process over again. The orientation area of the visitor center provides an overview of the C&O Canal history and a look at the park today. Visitors can obtain maps and information to help in planning an extended park visit. A park ranger is available to assist and answer questions. Trail and nature guides and C&O Canal histories are available for purchase from the Parks & History Association bookstore.
From the orientation area, enter the portal of the Paw Paw Tunnel, hear the familiar drip of water as you pass through the corridor and step back into the days of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Awaiting you within the main exhibit hall is a three quarter size section of a C&O Canal boat. Learn about mules and cargo and the day-to-day life of the canal families. Peer into the entrance of a mine that provided the number one cargo shipped on the canal - coal. A model lock and exhibits on boatbuilding and Cumberland as a crossroads complete the exhibit. Children will enjoy several interactive exhibits including Mutt the mule.
The Cumberland Visitor Center is located at 13 Canal Street in downtown Cumberland, MD. Part of the Canal Place and adjacent to the Washington Street Historical District, the visitor center is only yards away from the 184.5 mile marker on the C&O Canal towpath and from the beginning of the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile rail-trail leading to Pittsburgh, PA.
Admission is free. For group tours contact the visitor center.