Little Tonoloway Culvert

Looking Upstream

The Little Tonoloway Culvert is a fine example of craftsmanship located at mile 124.3 on the C&O Canal.  Because of it’s location on the Hancock waterfront, it’s easy to find, and–as culverts go–it’s a real eye-popper.  It has always made me wonder where the fine line between a culvert and an aqueduct begins and ends.  I suppose it’s somewhere between the Little Tonoloway and–maybe–Fifteenmile Creek. In fact, this culvert is so big that it has its own sandbar!

As one starts at the Potomac and follows the creek upstream through the culvert, the stream takes a sharp left-hand turn.  This creates a fairly large basin behind Subway and the gas station on the main drag, and when the river is flooding, backwater fills the culvert and creates a large pool in the Little Tonolway that stretches into the edge of town.  In fact, during the March 2010 flood, we went looking for the culvert only to find that both sides were hidden under the dark, muddy water.  As stated, the culvert is easy to find; however, it’s an often-overlooked canal structure that’s well worth the side trip

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