The Hancock Visitor Center, located in Hancock, Maryland, is an integral part of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. This center is housed in the historical Bowles House, which holds its own fascinating piece of American history. The Bowles House, first traced back to Lord Baltimore of England, was developed by William Yates who built the original structure in 1785 on a hill overlooking the Potomac River. This house witnessed the construction of the C&O Canal, which passed through Hancock in 1839, and it was later occupied by the Bowles family during the peak of canal operations in 1875.
The Hancock Visitor Center, established through a partnership between the Hancock Historical Society, the Town of Hancock, and the National Park Service, opened in May 2010. Its exhibits focus on local canal and Hancock history, while preserving the original look and feel of the Bowles House. The center offers visitors a unique glimpse into the past, illustrating life during the time of the canal’s operation.
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The Visitor Center, located at milepost 123 on the C&O Canal, overlooks Lock 52 and the Tonoloway Aqueduct, offering an immersive experience in the region’s historical landscape. The center’s location along the towpath provides an ideal starting point for exploring the rich history and natural beauty of the area.