ijustwant2ride.com

Location – Hancock Visitor Center

Mile Marker –123

Historical Comments – The Hancock Visitors Center is located in the Bowles House.  Construction of the home began in the mid 1700s and thus pre-dates construction of the canal. The house sits near Lock 52 and after this part of the canal was opened the residents would sell/trade with the canal boats as they transited through the lock.  Passing through several hands over the next century it remained private property until the 1980s.

Hancock is one of the oldest settlements in western Maryland.  George Washington stayed here several times while he was surveying the area as a young man.  During the Civil War Hancock was held for ransom by the Confederate Army, but no one paid ransom.

Ride to Site – The Hancock Visitors Center is not easy to find and is poorly signed. If you are approaching from the east you are riding on I70, the visitor’s center is almost immediately on the left side of road (Main Street/MD 144) as you reach the bottom of the exit.  It is hidden between guardrails and trees as you ride down the interstate exit. I rode past the entrance, the fact it was there never registered.

Coming from the west you might see the sign for the visitor’s center if it is not hidden by tree branches.  It is located between the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) building and the ramp to I70.

Amenities – Visitors Center, public restrooms, parking, all normal amenities in the town of Hancock.

Road Conditions (from main road) – rough pavement with loose gravel.  The entrance/exit is on a somewhat sharp incline please pay attention to your line of travel for the gravel that has been kicked onto the pavement.

Railway Situation – none

Parking Lot Conditions –Pea gravel and dirt with a bit of pavement.

Main Attraction – The first floor of the Bowles house has been converted in to the visitor’s center.  There are several artifacts of the construction period of the canal as well as photographs of the area during the period the canal was open.  Lock #52 is also on the grounds of the visitor’s center and is in good shape.

My Thoughts – This visitor center does not have amount of information on the canal as does the nearby Williamsport visitor’s center.  It is difficult to find and is only open Memorial Day thorough Labor Day.

Map

Ijustwant2ride.com

Difficult to find!

 

 

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