The Washington Post

Live the Civil War life in C&O Canal rental


The lock house at Lock 25 along the C&O Canal in Edwards Ferry, Md. (Chris Hanessian)

You could call it living the simple life. There is no heat, no running water, no electricity and no kitchen in the 1830-era house. There is an outdoor fire ring for cooking as well as an outdoor portable toilet. Just one-third of a mile away is a water supply.

During the war, the family who lived there tended Lock 25 to allow boats to pass through on their way to Washington or as far north as Cumberland. The lock tenders got a rent-free house in exchange for being on duty round-the-clock. Usually the cargo in the passing boats was coal, but it could also be soldiers. The families living along the canal would witness the beginning and the end of several Confederate campaigns into Maryland. They would also find Union soldiers assigned to guard the canal, camping on their land and helping themselves to the family’s garden.


The lock house's dining room. (Chris Hanessian )

The charge is $100 per night with a limit of three nights. The renter brings linens and any food or drink. The honor system calls for departing guests to take with them every single thing they brought to the lock house.

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