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White's Ferry on the Potomac River
White's Ferry is a cable ferry service operating across the Potomac River. It is located six miles west of Poolesville, Marylandmarker, and north of Leesburgmarker in Loudoun County, Virginiamarker. It is the only ferry still operating on the Potomac River. The General Jubal A. Early carries cars, bicycles, and pedestrians between Maryland and Virginia.

History

Early settlers recognized that the relatively still waters of the Potomac River at the location would provide an ideal location for a ferry. The first known ferry operation at the location was Conrad's Ferry, pronounced contemporaneously by the locals as "Coonrod's Ferry" in 1817. After the Civil War, former Confederate officer Elijah V. White purchased it and made many improvements to the service. He named his ferry boat in honor of his former commander, General Jubal Anderson Early.

More than a convenient river crossing, the ferry provided a place of commerce between the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the surrounding community. Farmers from Virginiamarker used the ferry to get their crops to markets in Marylandmarker and Washington, D.C.marker via the canal. In the days before modern refrigeration, a farmer's access to reliable transportation meant the difference between prosperity and watching a year's worth of work rot in storage. Together, the ferry and the canal shortened the time it took farmers to get their goods to market. To further assist them, White built a granary along the canal to store grains until they could be loaded and shipped via the canal. Its stone remains can still be seen in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park near mile marker 35.5.

Recent events

Crossing the river on the Gen.
Jubal A.
Early


On September 13, 2006, the United States Coast Guard ordered White's Ferry to be shut down because the operator was unlicensed. The ferry continued to operate in spite of the order. The next day the Coast Guard allowed the ferry to resume operations after the owners assured the Coast Guard that there would be licensed individuals on the vessel. For operating without a licensed operator the ferry was fined $8000, which it could appeal.

On December 12, 2008, passengers were evacuated from the ferry when it became stuck shortly after 8:10 a.m. during a routine crossing from Maryland to Virginia.

Each May White's Ferry is the location of an event honoring wounded soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Centermarker. Escorted to the area by a large motorcycle honor guard, the soldiers enjoy a day of music, food, fishing, and rides on the Ferry. The event is sponsored by the town of Poolesville, MD, and receives support from many groups and individuals within the community.

Location

White's Ferry is located at

The street address for the terminal on the Maryland side is: 24801 White's Ferry Road, Dickerson, Maryland 20842

References

External links




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