|Photo: Pixabay/David Mark
Western Maryland, also called the Maryland Panhandle, is comprised of Washington, Allegany, and Garret counties, and is the most rural region of the state. Known for its mountainous terrain (it is part of the central Appalachians), the area’s weather is more similar to that of West Virginia rather than the temperate climate of the rest of Maryland with cooler summers and harsher winters. Despite being heavily agrarian, the region has several major highways that crisscross the region: Interstate Highways I-70, I-81, and I-68, as well as U.S. Highways US-11, US-40, US-40 Alt, US 219, and US 50. There are also quite a few state roads that traverse the area.
Produce and dairy farms are plentiful, with the best-known crop being the apples grown in the Cumberland Valley, but corn, potatoes, beans, and various green-leaf vegetables are also grown. The town of Hancock, located in Washington County, is the narrowest stretch in the state with its northern and southern borders separated by a mere 1.8 miles.
Garrett County, the westernmost county in the state, was the last part of Maryland to be settled, and it
In September 1776, Washington County was founded having been “peeled off” of Frederick County. It was the first US county to be named for the Revolutionary War general (and later President) George Washington. This particular region was mostly made up of English, French, Swiss, and Scottish settlers. Home to Fort Frederick, the only British colonial fort still standing, the county has the dubious honor of being the location of Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War. As mentioned previously, the railroad had a large presence here, as well as the C&O Canal, and there are three museums that highlight this important history.
Allegany County was created by splitting a portion of Washington County. The area became the home to many pioneers who would travel through the Cumberland Narrows, a 1,000-foot-high gap in the Allegany Mountains. English settlers arrived to mine and created many towns and farms (when mining didn’t provide the riches they sought). The name Allegany is said to come from the Native American word oolikhanna meaning “beautiful streams.” An important center of transportation, the area saw travel by canal, train, and horse and buggy. The National Road, the first federally funded highway, began in Cumberland, and the Lavale Toll Gate House still stands as the state’s only remaining toll house on the National Road.
|Photo: Courtesy of
Boonsboro Historical Society
Come back next month for a virtual visit to the Eastern Shore Region of Maryland.
About Estelle's Endeavor (Releasing September 26)
Estelle Johnson promised to wait for Aubry DeLuca, but then she receives word of his debilitating injuries. Does she have the strength to stand by him in his hour of need?
Aubry DeLuca storms the beaches at Normandy, then wakes up in the hospital, his eyes bandaged. Will he regain his sight? Will the only woman he’s ever loved welcome him home or is he destined to go through life blind and alone?
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