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Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Fall Line and the Gorge

 
 
The Fall Line and the Gorge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones
1. The Fall Line and the Gorge Marker
Inscription.  You are about to enter the most scenic and rugged section of the Northwest Branch. This rocky gorge marks the "Fall Line," where the tough metamorphic rocks of the Piedmont, meaning "foot of the mountain," give way to the sandy sediments of the Coastal Plain. The rapid change in gradient creates a series of waterfalls, also referred to as the "Torrent and Gorge" section of the Northwest Branch. Below the Fall Line, the stream widens and slows down.

Northwest Branch is a tributary of the Anacostia River. The rugged beauty of this area contributed significantly to the state of Maryland identifying the Anacostia as a "Scenic and Wild River" in 1984 under the Maryland Scenic and Wild Rivers Act.

On larger streams and rivers, the Fall Line generally marks the limit of travel by ships. Many large cities like Washington, D.C. and Baltimore were established just below this geographical barrier where ports could be established.

This spectacular, scenic, steep-sided stream valley was a favorite of President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt wrote of the area to his son:

"Mother and I had a most
The Fall Line and the Gorge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 14, 2018
2. The Fall Line and the Gorge Marker
lovely ride the other day, way up beyond Sligo Creek to what is called North-west Branch, at Burnt Mills, where is a beautiful gorge, deep and narrow, with great boulders and even cliffs.

Excepting Great Falls it is the most beautiful place around here. Mother scrambled among the cliffs in her riding habit, very pretty and most interesting. The roads were good and some of the scenery really beautiful.

We were gone four hours, half an hour being occupied with the scrambling in the gorge."


(The White House, June 21, 1904)

"Hearing can be a source of ...exquisite pleasure ... Take time to listen and talk about the voices of the earth and what they mean—the majestic voice of thunder, the winds, the sound of surf or flowing streams." — Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder (posthumously 1965)
 
Erected by Montgomery Parks.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEnvironmentGovernment & PoliticsWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 39° 1.826′ N, 77° 0.252′ W. Marker is in Silver Spring, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Columbia Pike (U.S. 29) south of Hillwood Drive
The Fall Line and the Gorge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 14, 2018
3. The Fall Line and the Gorge Marker
, on the right when traveling west. On the grounds of Burnt Mills East Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10701 Columbia Pike, Silver Spring MD 20901, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Rachel Carson Greenway (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Burnt Mills (about 500 feet away); Rachel Carson (about 600 feet away); Luther Rice (approx. 0.9 miles away); Rice The Organizer (approx. 0.9 miles away); Rice The Educator (approx. 0.9 miles away); Rice The Journalist (approx. one mile away); Rice The Missionary (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Silver Spring.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 20, 2019. It was originally submitted on January 14, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 171 times since then and 25 times this year. Last updated on February 4, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 14, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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May. 26, 2020