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Established in 1973, the Friends of Historic Great Falls Tavern is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the preservation of the Great Falls Tavern. Donations and membership dues fund the Friends' qualified preservation and educational activities. The Friends mission includes projects along the length of the C&O Canal:

We are the official "Canal Steward" of the Great Falls Tavern, performing periodic maintenance and clean-up.

We raised the funds for the construction and delivery of the replica packet boat, the Charles F. Mercer. Donated to the NPS in 2006, it provides an interpretative history program of a mule-drawn canal boat ride on the C&O Canal at the Great Falls Tavern.

We provide the funds to maintain the Charles F. Mercer.

We purchased some of mules that pull the Mercer on canal boat rides.

We assist in improving the Tavern's infrastructure, such as the purchase of outside lighting and custom made window shutters as well as the custom maintenance of original locks and keys of Tavern doors.

We plant flowers and other plants to maintain the Tavern's gardens.

We support other National Park Service partners along the length of the C&O Canal.


The Friends also hold social events to foster camaraderie and sharing of knowledge about the Historic Great Falls Tavern and the C&O Canal.  These activities include an annual trip to a Canal-related historical location, a summer picnic with the C&O Canal Association, British-style pub quizzes and an annual dinner with a presentation on some aspect of the Canal and/or local history.


About Us

Photo © James W. Moore. Used by permission.

Mules on the twopath of the C&O Canal