Historic White’s Ferry has ceased its ferry operations between Montgomery County, Maryland, and White’s Ferry Road in Loudoun County.
The ferry operation announced the decision Monday after a recent court ruling in Loudoun County concluded that no public landing exists on the Virginia shoreline at Whites Ferry Road and that the ferry is prohibited from landing in the Virginia location.
The Loudoun County government is aware of the reports that White’s Ferry has ceased operations, according to spokesman Glen Barbour.
The county government is not part of the lawsuit after the ferry company stated Virginia has declined to establish a public landing.
“While Loudoun County is not party to the legal dispute, the county remains concerned about the outcome from a regional transportation perspective,” Barbour said in a prepared statement. “We recognize that any impact to ferry service may impact our residents and people who work in Loudoun County.”
Rockland Farm LLC, the plaintiff and owner of the 2.3-acre property in Loudoun County, argued in 2004 that the defendant, White’s Ferry, violated the terms of a 1952 license agreement by removing an existing retaining wall from the property and replacing it with a wall farther from the river, according to court records.
White’s Ferry refused to restore the property that led to the termination of the agreement and has continued its operations leading to a second suit in 2009.
The ferry company claimed it was operating lawfully because those areas have been established as public rights of way, either by condemnation proceeding, court records state.
Phyllis Randall, chairwoman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (D-At Large), said that neither she nor any county administration officials were made aware of the decision to close the ferry prior to the release of the information Monday morning.
“I am concerned that the White’s Ferry closing will have far reaching negative consequences on the hundreds of Loudoun residents who use this mode of transportation regularly,” Randall said in a statement.
Historic White’s Ferry is the last of 100 ferries that used to operate on the Potomac River, according to the town of Poolesville’s website. The cars are carried by ferry along a wire cable across the Potomac.
The ferry company has been in operation since 1786, according to Visit Loudoun’s website. Commuters use the ferry daily, where 24 vehicles can be transported at a time. Between 600 and 800 vehicles use the ferry each day.