Boat Building at the Cumberland Basin

Boat Building at the Cumberland Basin (HM19YE)

Location: Cumberland, MD 21502 Allegany County
Buy Maryland State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 39° 38.958', W 78° 45.795'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
Cumberland, the western terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, was the location where the George's Creek coal from western Allegany County was transferred from the short line railroads to canal boats for shipment east. Cumberland was also the center for canal boat building. C&O Canal Company owned boat yards were located on the Little Basin. A number of private boat builders such as John Mertens and Sons had large boat building yards at the south end of the loading basin known as the Shriver Basin.

The boat builders were skilled craftsmen. Boats were built of Georgia pine and oak and caulked with hemplike material called oakum. Boats could hold 120 tons of cargo each and could last 25 years or more. Originally built in varying sizes small enough to fit inside the 15 foot wide by 100 foot long locks, a standard size for boats of 14 1/2 feet wide by 90-95 feet long was adopted.

In the early years of canal operation, many boats were privately owned and given names such as Yankee, Pilgrim, Clementine and Three Sisters, but following formation of the Canal Towage Company in 1902, boats were numbered instead of named. At its peak, over 550 canal boats worked the canal, most constructed in Cumberland.

"Cumberland Boatyards" by John Louis Wellington (1878-1965) courtesy of The Maryland Historical Society.Bottom Left Photo
Looking north towards Cumberland Basin

Bottom Center Diagram
Diagram of 92' long by 14 1/2' wide cargo boat

Bottom Left Photo

Typical cargo boat with flags flying
HM NumberHM19YE
Series This marker is part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 26th, 2014 at 7:48am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 691910 N 4391225
Decimal Degrees39.64930000, -78.76325000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 38.958', W 78° 45.795'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 38' 57.48" N, 78° 45' 47.70" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 119 S Mechanic St, Cumberland MD 21502, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. What historical period does the marker represent?
  2. What historical place does the marker represent?
  3. What type of marker is it?
  4. What class is the marker?
  5. What style is the marker?
  6. Does the marker have a number?
  7. What year was the marker erected?
  8. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?