Those heading “downstream” on the C&O Canal towpath will notice a a small, but abrupt hill just after crossing the Conocheague Creek Aqueduct. At first glance, it’s just one of many high spots along the trail, but this one actually has a very interesting story behind it.
It is the location of Williamsport’s oldest cemetery: in fact, town founder General Otho Williams of Revolutionary War fame is buried there. Also, if the name Doubleday rings a bell, there is another interesting story regarding the hill that dates to the early stages of the Civil War.
Major General Abner Doubleday, who invented baseball in 1835, mounted three siege guns (facing the Potomac River) on the western corner of the hill in 1861 when he was a Captain in the Union Army. Some people believe that there are no such things as coincidences, but I beg to differ.
Today, many young people from around the world who carry on the love and tradition of baseball gather for the Little League World Series in Williamsport. The difference is that the series is played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania! I guess it really is a small world.
In all, Doubleday Hill covers a few acres of territory, but it’s ridge line is a stone’s throw from the C&O Canal. In fact, the side opposite of the Civil War shrine runs down to Canal Street. The hill is a perfect place to journey back in time to check out some really ornate headstones, and visitors can also imagine an era when canal boats churned through the water literally in the shadow of the cannons. This little piece of history doesn’t have any direct relation to the C&O Canal NHP, so it is often overlooked by park enthusiasts. However, it’s an interesting place, and I would highly recommend a side trip to the top of the hill.