Saturday, March 22, 2008
Polish Mountain is on the National Road, about two miles east of Flintstone, Maryland, in Allegany County. The route of the road on the east side, Maryland State Route 144, remains relatively unchanged. This photograph, taken in 1921, illustrates the east face of the mountain quite well.
The route that is signed as the National Road Scenic Byway, differs somewhat on the western side of the mountain. In 1958, Route 40 (now Maryland 144) removed many of the curves on the National Road for a much easier drive. The old alignment of the National Road is now known as Gilpin Road NE, and provides for a much more fun drive, though it does have fewer places to stop and take photographs, due to very narrow or nonexistent shoulders. This tablet, erected in 1958, is just west of the turnoff for Gilpin Road.
The view from the top of Polish Mountain can be quite spectacular. Below, I-68 cuts across the landscape.
This realignment is just the summit, as seen looking west. Note the "lighthouse", on the right side of the road, near the curve, warning motorists to slow down. On the old path of the road, to the left, one can see a vertical bar with diagonal stripes, also warning motorists to slow down.
Seventy five years later, the landscape has changed little. This view shows the same realignment, but as seen from the opposite direction.
The road west from the summit of Polish Mountain was a difficult one. Some period postcards claimed "17 curves," many with sharp drop-offs like this one. The vertical bar with the diagonal stripes was a sort of warning sign, indicating a situation where motorists might need to slow down.
More curves like this one presented themselves as the motorist continued down the mountain. June 1932?
This photo is at the foot of the west slope Polish Mountain looking east showing relocation of the road and the new guard rail. The billboard on the old alignment is for Amoco Motor Oil. It reads "Low cost per mile is what counts!"
Some of the realignments discussed above are illustrated on this map.
All black and white photographs are used courtesy of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library / State Library Resource Center, Baltimore, Maryland. All black and white photographs are by the Maryland State Roads Commission, except for the first one, which is by the Maryland State Department of Forestry.
The Fairview Inn, at milestone 3 on the National Road in Baltimore, is probably best known for its place in this print, in the Cator Print Collection at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, in Baltimore.
It has been used as the background for all of the National Road historical markers erected by America's Byways in Maryland. The one shown here is the general introductory marker, used in many places around the state, here at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.
This is the only known photograph of the Inn, which was demolished in the 1920s. Some versions of the photograph crop the image a bit wider, to include the milestone, which is just to the right of what you see here. This image is believed to have been made by T. C. Worthington, Jr., circa 1900. (Courtesy of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library / State Library Resource Center, Baltimore, Maryland.)
This is the same site, as seen today.
Friday, March 7, 2008
This seemingly abandoned cemetery sits on the old National Road, two and a half miles west of Lisbon, in Howard County, Maryland. Last names include Stackhouse, Webb, Owings, Hood, Delawder, Burdette and others. Most are from the middle third of the 19th century, though I noticed some as recent as the second quarter of the 20th century.
One of the more curious stones was this one, which appears to be carved from slate. I could not make out the inscription.
Samuel T. Burdette - Departed this life March 21, 1850, aged 27 years.
The cemetery is on the right side of the road, when traveling west. More photographs of the site can be found over on my Flickr account, in the set Stackhouse Family Cemetery.
The new bridge, as seen from the south, looking north.
In 1914, a new, concrete arch bridge replaced the existing one over the Gwynns Falls in Baltimore.
These four photographs, all courtesy of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library / State Library Resource Center, Baltimore, Maryland, document the construction of the new bridge.
This map illustrates the locations from which the photographs were taken. If you click on the cameras, you can see the historical photographs shot from that approximate location.
Streetcar passing over the old bridge over Gwynns Falls, with the new bridge in the background.
This image was taken at about the same angle as the one above, but much closer.
The bridges, as seen from the south.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
This 1920s or 1930s photograph, by the Maryland State Roads Commission, shows the area east of Hancock looked like before I-70 was cut through. The spot is on the National Road, about two miles east of Hancock, as seen from the west, looking east. Fruit orchards, like those on the left were plentiful.
The white object on the left side of the road, enlarged here, appears to be milestone 95 M to B. This milestone, along with 94 and 93, sit in the median of I-70, close to their original positions. Due to a relatively narrow shoulder and large quantity of traffic, I have not been able to obtain a photograph of milestone 95 to acertain that it is, in fact, what is pictured here.
Photograph used courtesy of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library / State Library Resource Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
The stone bridge at Puzzley (sometimes Puzzly) Run, west of Grantsville, Maryland, came up briefly once before, but I never wrote much, primarily because there was nothing to write - I couldn't reconcile the path of the road today, the bridge, and the previous alignment.
This turn of the century postcard shows the bridge, between the two curves of the road, as seen from a bit farther west.
This is the south side of the bridge, the same one shown in the color photograph above. It was probably taken in the 1920s, by the Maryland State Roads Commission.
This view, looing west, shows the stone bridge on the right and the new alignment of the road on the left. 19th century bridge builders tended to take the straightest path possible across a stream, as it was cheaper and easier to build bridges this way. Automobiles, travelling at higher speeds, could not easily navigate these sharp curves, so in 1932, the road was straightened, eliminating this bridge. Photograph by the Maryland State Roads Commission, September, 1932.
This view, looking east toward Grantsville, is from almost the same location as the black and white postcard above. Photograph by the Maryland State Roads Commission, September, 1932.
This photograph, taken last summer, shows the current route of Route 40. The structure that appears to be a stone wall, in the center of the picture, is the south side of the bridge.
The bridge has deteriorated rather considerably. Little remains of the north side. The west end of the south wall is lacking. Still, given that the bridge is probably 180 years old and that it hasn't had any maintenance for at least the past 90 years, it looks quite good. It appeast to be structurally sound, and may still be in use, as a driveway to a private residence.
The three photographs by the State Roads Commission are used courtesy of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library / State Library Resource Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
Courtesy of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library / State Library Resource Center, Baltimore, Maryland
I don't know where it is today, but Milestone 32 M to B (just west of Mt. Airy, Maryland) sat on the National Road until at least 1920, as seen here in this photograph from the State Roads Commission.
The milestone is just behind the second mailbox, in this englargement of the photo.
This particular bit of roadscape remains surprisingly similar today. There is still no signal at the railroad crossing and the landscape remains much the same, but with a few more trees.