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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Racing West

 
 
Racing West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
1. Racing West Marker
Inscription. On this spot in 1838 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) pulled into the lead in the race for transportation industry dominance with the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C&O). Denied across to the Maryland side of the river, the B&O struck a deal with the armory to build an elevated train trestle on the river wall beneath your feet. Continuing west along what was then the Virginia side of the river, the B&O Railroad quickly passed the C&O Canal and won the race west, becoming the first successful railroad in the United States.
 
Erected by Harpers Ferry National Historic Site - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 39° 19.447′ N, 77° 43.794′ W. Marker is in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Potomac Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. My Favorite Boat (a few steps from this marker); Found Underground (a few steps from this marker); Power of the Potomac (a few steps from this marker); Home of Joseph Perkins (within
Racing West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
2. Racing West Marker
The marker stands next to the river wall along the Potomac.
shouting distance of this marker); A Perfect Heap of Ruins (within shouting distance of this marker); Daring Escapes (within shouting distance of this marker); Six Acres That Changed the World (within shouting distance of this marker); By the aid of these machines... (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Harpers Ferry.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker shows a train passing the C&O Canal. Unable to pass over the hills around you, the railroad and the canal both followed the river through a gap in the Blue Ridge at Harpers Ferry. An inset photo shows the railroad trestle. The railroad trestle along the river wall above was supported by thick beams that were laid into the grooves in the wall in front of you.
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
Modern Railroad Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
3. Modern Railroad Bridge
The B&O has shifted the rail lines at least three times. The first, mentioned on the marker, passed along the river wall. The second passed further inland along what is today a berm along Potomac Street. The last crosses the river at a less critical angle to a point roughly in the middle of the old Armory site.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 583 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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