Point of Rocks, Maryland

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Point of Rocks, Maryland
Unincorporated community
Community of Point of Rocks
U.S. Route 15, across the Potomac River at Point of Rocks, Maryland
U.S. Route 15, across the Potomac River at Point of Rocks, Maryland
Location of Point of Rocks, Maryland
Country  United States of America
State  Maryland
County Frederick
Website www.PointOfRocks.org

Point of Rocks is an unincorporated community in Frederick County, Maryland. It is named for the striking rock formation on the adjacent Catoctin Mountain, which were formed by the Potomac River cutting through the ridge in a water gap, a typical formation in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. The formation is not visible from the town and can only be seen from boats on the river, or from the southern bank of the river in Virginia.

History[edit]

Model of the Point of Rocks station at the Brunswick Heritage Museum
Oblique air photo of Point of Rocks, facing southwest

In 1828, the narrow passage between the rocks at this site provoked a violent legal battle between the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Company and the B&O Railroad over who could have control of the narrow pass.[1] After years of disputes, both companies finally compromised and allowed both canal and railroad to build on the right-of-way through the passage,[1] with a wall between the two to avoid trains scaring the mules that pulled the canal boats.

During the American Civil War, the town was often raided by Confederate partisans, such as John S. Mosby, Elijah V. White and John Mobberly, operating in Loudoun County, Virginia. The presence of the B&O railroad and C&O canal along with many exiled Unionists from Loudoun made the town such an attractive target.

In 2001 Duke Energy filed an application with the Maryland Public Service Commission to construct a power plant on the north edge of town. In November 2002, however, Duke officially canceled its proposal, though it retains property in the area.[2]

The Point of Rocks Railroad Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and St. Paul's Episcopal Church was listed in 1978.[3]

Flooding[edit]

Older portions of the town are on the Potomac River floodplain and have been repeatedly inundated. An ongoing Federal Emergency Management Agency program to reduce flood insurance payouts has resulted in the purchase and demolition of a large portion of structures on the lowest-lying properties.

Transportation[edit]

The community contains the Point of Rocks Bridge of U.S. Route 15 over the Potomac River into Virginia. The bridge is the first such crossing of the river upstream of the American Legion Memorial Bridge on I-495 in Montgomery County. The only other crossing between them is White's Ferry.

Point of Rocks is a passenger station stop on the MARC Brunswick Line. The station, designed by Ephraim Francis Baldwin, was built by the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad and completed in 1876. Marking the junction between CSX's Metropolitan Subdivision (the current main line) and the Old Main Line Subdivision, it remains one of the former B&O's signature landmarks, and is a popular subject of railroad photography.

Notable people[edit]

  • Craig Davis, author and international development expert

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lynch, John A., Justice Douglas, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, and Maryland Legal History, University of Baltimore Law Forum 35 (Spring 2005): 104–125 
  2. ^ Maryland Public Service Commission. Baltimore, MD. "In the Matter of the Application of Duke Energy Frederick, LLC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Construct a 640-MW Generating Facility in Frederick County, Maryland." Case No. 8891. June 18, 2001ff.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°16′33″N 77°32′22″W / 39.27583°N 77.53944°W / 39.27583; -77.53944