Visitors soon can spend the night in a historic lockhouse along the C&O Canal, thanks to a grant that will be used to restore the structure.
Swains Lockhouse in Potomac—a one-story structure built in 1832 and considered critically in need of maintenance—received a $100,000 grant from the National Park Service, the C&O Canal Trust announced Tuesday. The grant will be matched by another $108,160 raised by the C&O Canal Trust, the Friends of Historic Great Falls Tavern and the C&O Canal Association.
The trust is selecting a contractor for the project and expects to begin renovation in the fall, said Heidi Glatfelter Schlag, the director of marketing and communications. The project should then take a year to complete.
Once it’s refurbished, guests can rent Swains Lockhouse for lodging. It accommodates up to eight people for a flat fee of $160 per night, Schlag said.
Swains Lockhouse, or Lockhouse 21, will be the seventh in the Canal Quarters program.
Refurbished lockhouses can be booked for up to three nights. Four others are in Montgomery County—Lockhouse 6 near Brookmont, 10 near Cabin John, 22 near Potomac and 25 near Poolesville. The first two have full amenities. The latter two are designated as “rustic” and don’t have electricity or running water.
Guests typically reserve the lockhouses several months in advance for everything from family reunions to Boy Scout troop outings, Schlag said.
In addition to guest space, Swains Lockhouse also will include a dining room that can be used as a classroom space for educational programs, according to the C&O Canal Trust.
Each lockhouse is furnished to depict a specific time in the history of the canal. Swains Lockhouse will be restored to match its look in 1916—the year the National Park Service was created and a time when the canal moved from commercial to recreational use.
The National Park Service awarded the grant as part of its Centennial Challenge Program celebrating the 100th anniversary of the country’s national parks. The program distributes $20 million from Congress to parks for improvements to trails and building restorations.
Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen supported the grant to restore the lockhouse, calling it an important historical site.