The Challenge of Sideling Hill

The Challenge of Sideling Hill (HM56H)

Location: Hancock, MD 21750 Washington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 43.128', W 78° 16.84'

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"Our pleasure trips usually stopped at the top of the mountain because of thehairpin turn to the right that dropped into a severely sharp curve."

This route is an ancient one. Our travelingancestors pushed across, around and finallythrough this mountain. Sideling Hill, alwaysa steep and dangerous climb, first showedup on a 1755 map as "Side Long Hill."

When frontiersman Thomas Cresap movedup the Potomac Valley, he hired localIndians to widen the trail over the mountainfor his wagons.

During the heyday of the National Road,stagecoaches crashed and passengers were killedon the slope near Hancock.

Throughout the 1930s, the 40 miles to Cumberlandon US 40 was still considered a long hard trip."There were five mountains to go over - from eastto west - Sideling Hill, Town Hill Mountain, GreenRidge, Polish and Martins Mountain."

With construction of I-68, engineers finallytamed this 350 million-year-old ridge in the1980s. They blasted out a 4½ mile long, 380foot deep and 200 foot wide cut in SidelingHill. After two years and $20 million worthof modern blasting, the first motorists drovethrough the cut in August, 1985.

(sidebar) As evidenced by this early 20thcentury advertisement,automobile trips on narrow,steep roads without guardrails,could be a dangerous business.Local historian EmilyLeatherman recalled, "Rainydays were disastrous. We couldwatch the cars go to the doctor'soffice across the street. They hadslid off the road into the ditchesor trees."

(sidebar) The deepest road cut in Maryland history moved 4.5 millioncubic yards of rock and dirt.
HM NumberHM56H
Series This marker is part of the The Historic National Road series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 5:16pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 733087 N 4400083
Decimal Degrees39.71880000, -78.28066667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 43.128', W 78° 16.84'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 43' 7.68" N, 78° 16' 50.40" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3000 Sideling Hl, Hancock MD 21750, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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