From "Toe" path

From "Toe" path (HM25QV)

Location: Chesapeake, VA 23323
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 39.763', W 76° 21.989'

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The Evolution of the George Washington Highway

—Dismal Swamp Canal Trail —

The walking path you are standing on right now has quite a history.

In 1804, it was a tow road on the eastern bank of the canal, where laborers, using long wooden poles, ropes or mules, pushed loaded barges full of shingles, lumber, corn husks, and other staples up and down the canal. There are even records of a shipment of brandy being the first to travel down the canal on a boat under its own power.

In 1896, when the canal was widened, some of the original towpath was destroyed to make room for the wider canal, which shifted the road in some areas. The original "corduroy road" (log road over a low and swampy area), was paved in 1920. In 1934, when drawbridges were constructed on U.S. Route 17/George Washington Highway at Deep Creek and South Mills, it was widened from 20 to 30 feet. This road became the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail in 2003 when the "new" portion of U.S. Route 17 opened for business.

The connection to our first President? George Washington's survey company charted parts of the Great Dismal Swamp - his namesake exists to this day: "Washington Ditch." (Look for it on Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge map on sign #1 at North Trailhead.)

Picture yourself riding in your '56 Chevy down this section of road in the 1960s. You could enjoy the view of the

canal and stay cool under the shade of the many overhanging trees in summer. This portion of the road was so shady and dark that those who traveled it often referred to it as "The Tree Tunnel." There was even a sign on the road for travelers in both directions: TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS.
HM NumberHM25QV
Placed ByParks, Recreation and Tourism, Chesapeake, Virginia
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, March 2nd, 2018 at 10:01am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 377877 N 4058327
Decimal Degrees36.66271667, -76.36648333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 39.763', W 76° 21.989'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 39' 45.78" N, 76° 21' 59.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, Chesapeake VA 23323, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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