Normalcy Returns to 30th and the Canal

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The C&O Canal at 30th Street, near the now placid Venezuelan Embassy. Georgetowner photo.

What is past is prologue, indeed. What was a construction site since November of 2016 between Locks 3 and 4 of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal — also the scene of loud protests at the nearby Embassy of Venezuela for several years, climaxing in recent weeks — has returned to the way it was.

On 30th Street, one can observe the stonework at Lock 3 with its gates shining anew, celebrating the 188-year-old C&O Canal’s history. Most stones returned to exactly where they used to be in the wall. Still in a test phase, the locks in Georgetown are again holding back water or letting it flow for the first time in years. The canal will be temporarily drained for work on the 31st Bridge, which goes over the canal.

At the canal walk near the Old Foundry Building on 30th Street, the benches have returned, as has the bust of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, recognized “for his contributions toward the establishment of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.” The bust sits in the exact spot where it was placed in 1977. A new canal boat is expected in the summer of 2020.

Meanwhile, on the sidewalk outside the Venezuelan Embassy at 1099 30th St. NW, the site of conflicting demonstrators concerning President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, all is quiet.

The State Department put a stop to Codepink protesters remaining in the building — and counterprotesters out on the sidewalks — last week. It has set the building aside for the ambassador selected by Guaidó, Carlos Vecchio, who entered the building last Friday, according to the Washington Post. There is now a new flag in front, with lighting fixtures on the left and right corners of the building to illuminate the flag, in the Venezuelan colors of red, blue and yellow.

Lock 3 of the C&O Canal being testing with high water level in late April. Georgetowner photo.
New Lock 3 gates regulate the water flow in the C&O Canal. Georgetowner photo.
Bust of Justice William O. Douglas returns to its original spot along the C&O Canal. Georgetowner photo.
In late May, water flow through the C&O Canal is intermittent because of work on 31 Street bridge. Georgetowner photo.
Now cleared of demonstrators, inside and outside, the Embassy of Venezuela gets a new flag and new ambassador. Georgetowner photo.
Work on the C&O Canal to divert water from under the 31st Street bridge, which is to be replaced. Georgetowner photo.
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