National Park Trust is working with the National Park Service and State of Maryland to acquire land closely tied to the history of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Washington, DC.

The 1.97-acre parcel along the historic canal near Seneca Creek is home to the ruins of the Seneca Stone Mill. Red sandstone from the nearby quarry was cut into blocks and shipped to Washington, DC for construction of buildings. 

Built in 1837, the mill closed permanently in 1901. 

In 1846, John P.C. Peter outbid 145 other companies to win the contract to supply red sandstone for a new building in Washington; the Smithsonian Castle. Though not quarried there, the mill also cut marble and granite used to build the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument.

The mill and grounds were to be transferred from the State to the National Park Service years ago. However, through some omission, it was not and escaped attention until recent years. 

Since it has been unprotected, vandals have spray painted the walls in numerous places. Trees and vegetation are encroaching on the walls. Roots and leaning or falling trees present a hazard to visitors and the ruins. When added to the park, the NPS will be able to allocate funds to protect the ruins and the public. 

Graffiti at the park
Project Details:

Fiscal Years: 2017-2021 

Parcel Sizes: 1.97 acres  

Project Value: $4,000

Long Term Significance of the Acquisition:
  • Will allow permanent protection, removal of graffiti, encroaching vegetation, and stabilization of the ruins; NPS cannot expend federal funds to maintain the non-federal property
  • Will give NPS authority to protect and manage the ruins and address any issues on the site
Value to the Park and Public:
  • Clean-up and protection of the site will allow the public better access and interpretation of the mill story
  • Protects the monument itself, which is now a historic feature of the park

Project location