National Geographic : 1961 Jul
Highway, Creek, and Rails Snake Through the Narrows Near Cumberland, Maryland This cleft in the Allegheny Moun tains provided a corridor to the West. In 1834 the old National Road, U. S. 40's predecessor, was relocated through the gorge. Highway planners chose a route hugging a bank of Wills Creek. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (right), coming later, dug a right of way into the slopes of Wills Mountain. Western Maryland Railroad skirts Haystack Mountain (left). From their perch on Lovers Leap, the author's daughters, Mary Ellen (left) and Judith, can see Piney Mountain in the distance. Thundering hoofs and the crack of whips proclaimed the passage of sway-backed Conestoga wagons along the National Road. Crafted by Pennsylvania wagonmakers, Conestogas could travel the worst of roads with five-ton loads. Boat bottomed bodies sloped toward the center to prevent cargo from shifting. Drivers sometimes sealed their wagons and floated them across streams. A Conestoga teamster sat astride the left wheel horse. Meeting an other wagon, he passed to the right in order to watch the space be tween the hubs. From this prac tice apparently stems the United States rule of driving on the right.