C&O Canal National Historic Park Headquarters

Cultural, Historic, Historic

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At the master plan level, this project considered the cultural landscape for approximately 1 mile of re-watered canal from the lock and lockkeeper's residence up to the Conococheague Aqueduct. The master plan established a long-term vision for both the narrative experience of this culturally rich landscape and a 2-mile accessible trail system to provide a robust visitor experience. The project site plan for construction focused on providing a new headquarters to relocate NPS staff from a site remote from the canal to a location within and adjacent to the central region of the 100-mile C&O Canal. Situated within the rich cultural landscape of the Town of Williamsport, the new 22,000 sf headquarters has views of the canal and the industrial Cushwa Basin. Acknowledging this project as a community assist, the design is influenced by the former lumber mill, local materials and proportions, and a board and baton finish that can be found throughout the area.

In addition to providing a new headquarters for the staff, visitor amenities are enhanced with additional parking and site reserved for a future Visitor Contact Station. The site is framed by historic storefronts along the Town's main street, which are renovated to provide visitor amenities. The visitor experience is curated through town, into parking, and into the park and the immersive interpretive historic landscape. Through a clear definition of the entry sequence, the C&O Canal and the Town of Williamsport are contextualized to augment to the visitor's experience. The project requires management of requirements from multiple jurisdictions, review agencies, Section 106 Compliance, and the National Park Service.


Design Team: Steve Ziger; Ann Powell; Michael Westrate; Claire Edelen

Location: Williamsport, MD

Owner: National Park Service; Maryland Economic Development Corp. 

Area: 22,000 sf

Completion: 2021

Rendering-C&O Canal National Historic Park Headquarters LARGER


Rendering-C&O Canal National Historic Park Headquarters LARGER


Before - Historic Storefronts-C&O Canal National Historic Park Headquarters LARGER

Before - Historic Storefronts

Construction-C&O Canal National Historic Park Headquarters LARGER