The Narrows

The Narrows (HM2PV)

Location: Cumberland, MD 21502 Allegany County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 39.776', W 78° 46.862'

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An Easier Route for the National Road

At first, the National Road climbed west from Cumberland up and over Haystack Mountain. In the 1830s, when the road was rebuilt, a new route was chosen. It would be a mile longer but the grade was substantially decreased so that horse teams could pull twice the weight. The new route took advantage of the Narrows, a natural gorge cut by Wills Creek between Haystack Mountain and Wills Mountain.

Traffic along the National Road grew rapidly when the new route was completed in 1834 and a new bridge opened in 1836. When the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad reached Cumberland in 1842, National Road travel to and from the west increased even more. The region prospered.

Railroad tracks were soon laid through the Narrows. Two short line railroads connected Cumberland to the growing Georges Creek Valley coal region. Ultimately, travel by rail eclipsed that of the National Road, and traffic declined substantially in the years that followed. The invention of the automobile brought a revival to the old road as motorists enjoyed sightseeing in the Narrows.

(Sidebar): The Legend of Lovers' Leap
There is a local legend about the cliffs above the Narrows. When a young Indian princess and her lover were forbidden to marry, they leapt to their death from the cliff.
HM NumberHM2PV
Series This marker is part of the The Historic National Road series
Placed ByAmerica's Byways
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 11th, 2014 at 6:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 690347 N 4392700
Decimal Degrees39.66293333, -78.78103333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 39.776', W 78° 46.862'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 39' 46.56" N, 78° 46' 51.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 12500 US-40 ALT, Cumberland MD 21502, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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