Central to the mission of the Friends is our volunteer stewardship of the Historic Great Falls Tavern. We led a major rehabilitation of the Tavern in the year 2000 as well as funding frequent improvements to its landscaping and furnishings, as well as an annual clean-up.
In 2006, after a two-year funding campaign, the Friends contributed the replica canal packet boat, the Charles F. Mercer, that is resident just below Lock 20, adjacent to the Tavern. During summer months, visitors can take mule-driven rides on the boat for a brief experience of life on the canal. The Friends continue to fund maintenance and improvements to the boat. Recently, the Friends collaborated with other organizations to restore the lockhouse at Swain's Lock to serve as an educational center. The scope of our charter extends to any historic structure along the C&O Canal.
In addition to these projects, The Friends sponsor seasonal and cultural events at the Tavern and organize historical excursions in the Park and adjacent canal towns, as well as keeping our members informed as to ongoing preservation and conservation issues.
Photo © James W. Moore. Used by permission.