Right in from of you stands the Cushwa Warehouse. This is where you'd come to buy coal for your company or household. There'd be a fellow in the booth there, like Martin Bovey, but folks called him Marty.
Now Marty had worked on the boats, but he only got 25 cents a day. So he decided to go to work at the Cushwa Warehouse and he became yard foreman and the weigh master.
So if you brought your wagon here, to load up some coal, you'd talk to Marty. And this is what you did:
You'd pull your wagon onto the scale and weigh the empty wagon first. Then you'd fill up the wagon with as much coal as needed, then reweigh the wagon. The difference in weight between the full wagon and the empty wagon was how much coal you got.
And that coal was the real good soft coal from just west of Cumberland.
Now if you look on the side of the building, you can see high water markers from a bunch of floods, like 1877, 1889 - that was the Johnstown flood. And 1972, that was hurricane Agnes. Course a real big flood was back in 1936...look up to the top of the building to see that one. Yep, the water was all the way up there.
And Marty, he knew all the company records were up there on the top floor. So he got a rowbot and rowed his way over, and started pulling all those records out of the warehouse. That must've been something to see!
Folks, this warehouse has been here in one form or another since around 1800. It's seen a lot: the construction of the canal and of the railroad - you can still see some tracks. And there used to be a slaughterhouse closer to the aqueduct - you can still see its foundation. And it's seen about 40 floods over the centuries, some small, some devastating. And in its present incarnation, the Cushwa Warehouse is home to a Visitor Center of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. And we're glad to have you here.
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