Rock Creek (Monocacy River)

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Rock Creek
1907 Taneytown Road.png
The confluence of Rock and Marsh Creek is north of the Pennsylvania/Maryland border[1] by 12.7 arcseconds[1] (c. 1907 map).
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
Region Adams County
Townships West: Cumberland, East: Mount Joy & Straban
 - from East coordinates shown right-justified
 - from West coordinates shown left-justified
Cities Gettysburg, PA, Barlow, PA
Highest point mainstream perennial flow
 - location near Rentzel Road
 - coordinates 39°54′20″N 77°11′18″W / 39.90545°N 77.18839°W / 39.90545; -77.18839 [2]
Source Susquehanna drainage divide
Mouth Monocacy River
Basin 65 sq mi (168 km2) [3]

c. 1840 January[4]
1870 [2]
1886 February 12[6]
1889 [3]
1913 March [4]
1923 August 30 [5]
1933 August
1972 June (Hurricane Agnes)
1996 June [6]
2011 September 8[8]

USGS feature ID 1185250 [9]
Namesakes Civil War: Rock Creek Rangers
Gettysburg Day2 Plan.png
On July 2, 1863, "Wiedrich's battery [of] six rifled cannon also exchanged fire with one of Jones's batteries on the opposite side of Rock Creek",[7] and snipers from a home on the East side fired on positions on the West side of the creek (on July 3, Confederates retreated across Rock Creek.)[8]
Website: Rock Creek Watershed (map)

Rock Creek is an 18.9-mile-long (30.4 km)[2] tributary of the Monocacy River in south-central Pennsylvania and serves as the border between Cumberland and Mount Joy townships. Rock Creek was used by the Underground Railroad (at McAllister's Mill, "slaves would slosh through the water to throw off the tracking dogs that were pursuing them")[10] and flows near several Gettysburg Battlefield sites, including Culp's Hill, the Benner Hill artillery location, and Barlow Knoll.

Rock Creek intersections, north-to-south
Intersection Location/Description Coordinates
Sources On drainage divide with Conewago Creek
Northernmost watershed point:

Summit near Oak Hill Rd:

Summit on Stone Jug Rd:

Summit on Harrisburg Rd:
39°55′17″N 77°11′21″W / 39.92145°N 77.18907°W / 39.92145; -77.18907[2]


Leedy Rd 39°53′55″N 77°11′24″W / 39.898669°N 77.190043°W / 39.898669; -77.190043
Shriver's Corner Rd 39°53′38″N 77°11′40″W / 39.894012°N 77.194464°W / 39.894012; -77.194464
Keller Rd 39°53′18″N 77°11′57″W / 39.888435°N 77.199297°W / 39.888435; -77.199297
Branch Crosses US 15.svg US 15 at milepost 13.2 north of Hunterstown Rd bridge 39°52′14″N 77°12′50″W / 39.87042°N 77.213781°W / 39.87042; -77.213781
Branch Extends beyond Shriver's Corner Road (at Goldenville Rd) to just beyond Rentzel Rd: 39°54′43″N 77°11′44″W / 39.911909°N 77.19552°W / 39.911909; -77.19552 39°51′53″N 77°13′07″W / 39.864656°N 77.21848°W / 39.864656; -77.21848
Boyd's Schoolhouse Rd Cumberland/Straban township border 39°51′24″N 77°13′24″W / 39.85667°N 77.22333°W / 39.85667; -77.22333
Survey line Borough line
"Site 59" on creek in Cumberland and Straban townships "intended for flood control".[9]
Blocher's Run[11] Flow from Marsh Creek (west) & Conewago Creek (north) triple pt on Oak Ridge:39°51′32″N 77°14′41″W / 39.858792°N 77.24483°W / 39.858792; -77.24483} 39°50′52″N 77°13′33″W / 39.847665°N 77.225797°W / 39.847665; -77.225797

US 15 Bus.
Harrisburg Road site of former 1846 covered bridge built by Joseph Clapsaddle[4] near Barlow Knoll 39°50′41″N 77°13′22″W / 39.84472°N 77.22278°W / 39.84472; -77.22278
Run drainage from the east
Run Drainage along former site of Alm's house[12] from Gettysburg College's Quarry Lake & Oak Ridge triple point (with Willoughby/Pitzer Runs) 39°50′17″N 77°13′17″W / 39.838126°N 77.221412°W / 39.838126; -77.221412
Stevens Creek[13] 39°50′13″N 77°13′17″W / 39.836882°N 77.221527°W / 39.836882; -77.221527
Island Depicted on 1916 Gettysburg National Military Park map[14]
Run (Depicted on battlefield map at right)
Railroad Early's Confederates burned the trestle on June 27, 1863 [10](rebuilt days later & in 1912)[11]
US 30.svg US 30 1807 3-arch [12] stone bridge of 60 ft (18 m),[15] 1853 covered bridge,[4] 1919 Lincoln Highway bridge,[13] replacement [14] 39°50′54″N 77°13′11″W / 39.84833°N 77.21972°W / 39.84833; -77.21972
PA-116.svg PA 116 Site of former 1853 90-foot covered bridge built by John Finly[4] and 1932 concrete bridge.[15][16] 39°49′51″N 77°13′4″W / 39.83083°N 77.21778°W / 39.83083; -77.21778
Survey line Borough line
Winebrenner Run[11] [17][18] 39°49′47″N 77°13′05″W / 39.829632°N 77.217922°W / 39.829632; -77.217922
Rock Creek Ravine Location noted in several battle records 39°49′35″N 77°13′03″W / 39.826369°N 77.217579°W / 39.826369; -77.217579
Jones Bridge Run?[11] Flows north of Culp's Hill to confluence just upstream of island 39°49′20″N 77°13′03″W / 39.822117°N 77.217504°W / 39.822117; -77.217504
Survey line 1893 Warren survey line for Gettysburg Battlefield crossed creek [19]
Benner Run Flows southeast of Benner's Hill artillery location ("Ladys Run" in 1886)[20] 39°49′11″N 77°12′50″W / 39.819645°N 77.213974°W / 39.819645; -77.213974
Ford between Spangler Spring and farm (Z. Tawney during the battle)[12]
Spangler Spring Run[11] Drainage southward from Stevens Knoll 39°48′51″N 77°12′54″W / 39.814124°N 77.215079°W / 39.814124; -77.215079
Guinn Run[21][11] 39°48′39″N 77°12′52″W / 39.81083°N 77.21444°W / 39.81083; -77.21444
Former site of McAllister's Mill dam (destroyed by 1870 flood)[22]
Run (Depicted on battlefield map at right)
Ford 1889 road downstream of McAllister's Mill[23]
Baltimore Pike 1802 turnpike bridge[16] (north of PA-97.svgPA 97 terminus) 39°48′18″N 77°12′41″W / 39.80500°N 77.21139°W / 39.80500; -77.21139
Run Flows under Baltimore Pike 39°48′10″N 77°12′39″W / 39.802645°N 77.210825°W / 39.802645; -77.210825
Run 39°47′55″N 77°12′28″W / 39.798701°N 77.207869°W / 39.798701; -77.207869
Run 39°47′38″N 77°12′33″W / 39.794015°N 77.209296°W / 39.794015; -77.209296
US 15.svg US 15 Near site of Battle of Gettysburg field hospital at George Bushman Farm:39°47′27″N 77°12′54″W / 39.79083°N 77.21500°W / 39.79083; -77.21500
White Run Drainage from Lake Heritage, Pennsylvania 39°47′05″N 77°12′20″W / 39.784651°N 77.205552°W / 39.784651; -77.205552
Run Drainage from Weikert Hill and Round Top, Pennsylvania 39°46′52″N 77°12′42″W / 39.781234°N 77.211699°W / 39.781234; -77.211699
Wright Avenue Run[11] from Big Round Top[12]
Sachs Road 1891 bridge[17] 39°46.950′N 77°12.387′W / 39.782500°N 77.206450°W / 39.782500; -77.206450
Little's Run "Two Taverns Run" in 1901 [24] when bridge was built at Little's Tavern[18] 39°46′45″N 77°12′45″W / 39.77928°N 77.212579°W / 39.77928; -77.212579
Soloman Road 1895 steel Burr arch bridge[25] "Lott's Bridge"[26] at "Lott's fording"[19] & 1977[20] ("Lott's Bridge") near Pine Bank Cemetery 39°46.339′N 77°12.532′W / 39.772317°N 77.208867°W / 39.772317; -77.208867
Run 39°46′18″N 77°12′43″W / 39.771634°N 77.212029°W / 39.771634; -77.212029
Rock Creek Ford Former ford just upstream of bend in creek with overhanging cliff[7] 39°46′17″N 77°13′09″W / 39.771504°N 77.219124°W / 39.771504; -77.219124
Distributary Former headpoint of millrace 39°45′30″N 77°13′31″W / 39.758325°N 77.225368°W / 39.758325; -77.225368
Dam ruins Former 1798 Black's/Horner's Mill dam to provide head for millrace (rebuilt 1937)[7]:150 39°46′17″N 77°13′09″W / 39.771504°N 77.219124°W / 39.771504; -77.219124
Plum Run Named "Rock" Run in 1821[18] 39°45′32″N 77°13′37″W / 39.758969°N 77.226806°W / 39.758969; -77.226806 (mouth of Plum Run)
PA-134.svg PA 134 Taneytown Rd at Barlow: 1841 covered bridge, c. 1872 replacement,[5] 1923 & 1989 concrete bridges 39°45′24″N 77°13′53″W / 39.75667°N 77.23139°W / 39.75667; -77.23139
Run Flow from southwest of Big Round Top 39°45′16″N 77°13′58″W / 39.754449°N 77.232642°W / 39.754449; -77.232642
Run 39°45′15″N 77°13′58″W / 39.754152°N 77.232771°W / 39.754152; -77.232771
Cromer's Ford Former ford for Chapel Road route south to Taneytown Rd[7] (horse team, wagon, & driver swept away in 1875)[21] 39°45′14″N 77°13′57″W / 39.75402°N 77.232599°W / 39.75402; -77.232599
Run Upstream of site of former ford at Benner Rd 39°44′44″N 77°13′57″W / 39.745606°N 77.232385°W / 39.745606; -77.232385
Run Near former intersection of Taneytown Rd & Basehoar-Roth Rd, and upstream of former Swetland Rd ford 39°44′24″N 77°13′08″W / 39.740095°N 77.218995°W / 39.740095; -77.218995
Mason-Dixon Rd ("Rock Creek Rd") site of 192-foot, single-span 1890 Burr arch bridge (east span collapsed January 5, 1946)[27][22] 39°43.800′N 77°13.819′W / 39.730000°N 77.230317°W / 39.730000; -77.230317
Lousy Run Near The Links 39°43′24″N 77°13′44″W / 39.723445°N 77.228887°W / 39.723445; -77.228887
Mouth Confluence with Marsh Creek ("The Points")[23] 39°43′12.7″N 77°13′3.7″W / 39.720194°N 77.217694°W / 39.720194; -77.217694[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Garmin 530HCx user (2009-11-16), GPS Measurement  at confluence point (Rock Creek west bank and Marsh Creek north bank) at water level & at base of 8 foot embankment)
  2. ^ a b c d e "The National Map" (NHD Viewer). National Hydrography Dataset. (USGS). Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  3. ^ Watershed Alliance of Adams County. Gettysburg, PA. "Watershed Profile: Rock Creek Watershed." Accessed 2010-08-21.
  4. ^ a b c d "Local History: The Wooden Bridges Built by Adams County" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Compiler. March 22, 1872. p. 2 (col 6). Retrieved 2011-04-26. 1841.--Contract with John Camp, for a covered bridge of two spans of 60 feet each, across Rock creek, at Horner's mill, on the Taneytown road--dated January 4, 1841; price $2,000. Commissioners, Daniel Diehl, Joseph J. Kuhn and William Douglass. This bridge was swept away by a flood about a year ago, and has since been replaced by another of the same character, on foundations several feet higher.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  5. ^ a b "Will Ask For Two County Bridges" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Times. Times and News Publishing Company. April 4, 1923. Retrieved 2011-04-28. The present structure at Barlow is a girder bridge of two fifty-five foot spans. It was built more than 70 years ago, according to the Commissioners. At one time 52 years ago, the structure was washed away from its moorings and carried on a much-swollen Rock Creek for a distance of half a mile. It was brought back; a few additions were made and only slight repairs have been made since that time. The bridge now has a roadway 16 feet wide. This is to be increased to 20 feet and all abutments and piles are to be reinforced with concrete 
  6. ^ "Dam Broken" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Compiler. February 16, 1886. p. 3 (col 2). Retrieved 2011-04-26. We hear that Horner's Dam, on Rock creek, five miles south of Gettysburg, was broken on Friday night,[February 12] and about 165 feet of the breast carried away. The new county bridge (occupying the place of one destroyed by a similar flood a few years ago) escaped without damage except a slight break in the pier supporting the centre. Mr. Henry Schriver lost 150 panels of post and rail fence along the creek by the heavy ice floating against it, and some of the roads were blocked. 
  7. ^ a b c d Geiselman (née Plank), John Henry (1996). Cleveland, Linda K, ed. Reflections. Preface: Sanders, Audrey J. Columbus GA: Brentwood Christian Press. pp. 26–7. Retrieved 2008-03-19. in the spring of 1923 they tore down the old covered bridge [and] erected a temporary bridge, up the creek… Mrs Heintzelman was in the [former miller] house busy baking. …carried her up to the…store… the cat was on the sewing machine and the dog on the table. …the oven door open and now the pies were floating around in the kitchen. … The flooding…broke up the temporary bridge. …formed a dam [into] the new bridge  construction
  8. ^ "Flooding causes evacuations". September 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-11. a water rescue was made around 6 a.m. at a Taneytown Road residence [sic] along Rock Creek in Cumberland [sic] Township.  (the rescue was from a northbound car stranded in the water over the roadway on the Mount Joy Township side of the creek.)
  9. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rock Creek (1185250)
  10. ^ Nasby, Dolly (2005). Gettysburg (Google Books). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-3651-2. Retrieved 2011-03-11. McAllister's Old Grist Mill … housed an Underground Railroad hideout. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Perles, et al (September 2006). Vegetation Classification and Mapping at Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site (PDF) (Report). Northeast Region, National Park Service. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2006/058. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  12. ^ a b c d Map of the Battle Field of Gettysburg (Map). Cartography by Gettysburg National Park Commission: Nicholson, John P; Cope, Emmor; Hammond, Schuyler A. New York: Julius Bien & Co. Lith. 1904. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  13. ^ McPherson, James M. Atlas of the Civil War. 
  14. ^ tbd (Map). Library of Congress, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John T. Palmer Co. 1916. 
  15. ^ "Local History: The Wooden Bridges Built by Adams County, Chapter III". Adams County Historical Society "Bridges" file: Gettysburg Compiler. March 15, 1872. 
  16. ^ "Commissioners Office". Adams County Historical Society "Bridges" file: Adams Sentinel. November 15, 1802. 
  17. ^ "Court Proceedings" (Google News Archive). New Oxford Item. August 21, 1891. Retrieved 2011-09-11. The report of viewers to view bridge site over Rock creek at the place where the public highway leading from the Gettysburg and Taneytown road to the Baltimore pike, crosses said creek on the line of the townships of Cumberland and Mountjoy, was confirmed nisi. The report was favorable to a bridge.  (column 4)
  18. ^ a b Map of York & Adams Counties (Map). Cartography by D. Small. W. Wagner. 1821. Retrieved 2011-05-28.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  19. ^ "To Bridge Builders" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Compiler. April 30, 1895. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  20. ^ "County Plans New Rock Creek Bridge" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Times. November 16, 1976. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  21. ^ "Out Of The Past: 150 ears [sic] ago" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Times. December 22, 1975. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  22. ^ "Half Of Longest Bridge In County Collapses As Ice Breaks Pole Props". Gettysburg Compiler. January 5, 1946. The breakup of ice on the creek had carried away 10 telephone pole props the highway department had used to bolster the 96 foot section. ... Twenty or more years ago...a concrete pier was built in the middle of the span 
  23. ^ Stewart, Jon (August 17, 2008). "Straddling the Mason-Dixon line" ( webpage). Frederick News Post. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  24. ^ Harry Wilcox Pfanz (2001-07-01). Gettysburg--the first day. Univ of North Carolina Press. pp. 217, 238, 254. ISBN 978-0-8078-2624-9. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  25. ^ Andrew B. Suhrer (2008). The Flying Dutchmen. Author House. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-4343-8630-4. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  26. ^ Janet Hewett (1995). Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Reports (v. 1-12, serial 1-12). Broadfoot Publishing. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-56837-275-4. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  27. ^ Charles Teague (2001). "Barlow's Knoll Revisited". Military History Online. Retrieved 2012-01-22. Blocher’s Knoll had a distinct disadvantage. Though the swollen Rock Creek itself was a barrier of sorts, the trees along that stream as well as Blocher’s Run would give cover to advancing soldiers. Barlow sought to balance that by sending four companies of the 17th Connecticut across the bridge to the Josiah Benner homestead on the far side of Rock Creek. They were there as skirmishers to blunt the advance of Gordon’s troops and alert their comrades. 
  28. ^ "Stevens Run (1188630)". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  29. ^ Balch, William Ralston; Butler, John M. (1885). The Battle of Gettysburg: An Historical Account (Google Books). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Lane S. Hart. Retrieved 2011-06-09. 
  30. ^ "[Alexander Dobbin article]". The Gettysburg Experience. Retrieved 2011-12-04. Rock Creek Church…located one mile north of the future town of Gettysburg (located near the junction of Carlisle Street and the Mummasburg Road) 
  31. ^ "Public Sale of Real Estate" (Google News Archives). Gettysburg Compiler. June 27, 1899. Retrieved 2011-04-26.