Settled in 1740 and established as a ferry crossing for early pioneers, Williamsport sits at the confluence of Conococheague Creek and the Potomac River. The establishment of the C&O Canal and Western Maryland Railway and the transfer of commodities, especially coal, spurred development of the town a century later.
Williamsport is a quintessential canal town. Recent refurbishment of the historic Conococheague Aqueduct made it fully operational, allowing canal boats to pass over Conococheague Creek. From atop Doubleday Hill, travelers have the unique delight to spy a variety of canal features in one place, including a complete lock and renovated lockhouse, a railroad lift bridge, a Bollman iron truss bridge, the Cushwa Turning Basin and warehouse, and now, a watered aqueduct. Appropriately, Williamsport is the future home to the headquarters for the C&O Canal National Historic Park, and its Williamsport Visitor Center welcomes visitors right off the towpath.
Local Events and Activities
The Williamsport Historic District contains a remarkably intact district of buildings from the town’s initial settlement period to the establishment of the C&O Canal and the heyday of the canal in the late 19th century. Several B&B’s, restaurants, taverns, pizzerias, and a delectable café welcome travelers.
The eight-bay Springfield Barn, which overlooks Williamsport’s Byron Memorial Park, was built in 1755 by Otho Holland Williams, the town’s founder, and is one of the largest barns in the state. A museum located in its old milk parlor is open Sunday afternoons, March through October.
Parking and Trail Access
Parking is available next to the C&O National Historical Park’s Williamsport Visitor Center (inside Cushwa Warehouse), and you can access the towpath by walking up and over the hundred-year-old railroad lift bridge, now outfitted with runnels for your bicycle.