“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Durbin in Pocahontas County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Cheat Mountain

Dramatic Barrier

Cheat Mountain Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 7, 2012
1. Cheat Mountain Marker
Inscription.  At the heart of what was then the large state of Virginia, the Allegheny Mountains posed a formidable barrier to settlement and development. Turnpike engineer Claudius Crozet faced the daunting task of designing and building a road over these mountains, and no mountain was more of a challenge than Cheat. At Cheat Mountain, the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike lifted from 2700 feet on the valley floor near Durbin up to 3700 feet in less than 5 road miles.

Even apart from the challenging terrain, the top of Cheat Mountain was its own landscape in the sky, with its own local climate and conditions. Mountaintop weather was harsher than most travelers were accustomed to, often making Cheat a challenge of one’s willpower and endurance. Its high elevation meant colder temperatures year round, and winters were especially harsh. Snows were recorded as early as August. The dense virgin spruce forests also kept the mountaintops cool and damp, so snowfall sometimes lasted into early summer.

The mountain caught large amounts of precipitation. Just a few miles away, Travellers Repose received almost 30 inches less water a year. Summer travelers
Cheat Mountain Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 7, 2012
2. Cheat Mountain Marker
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could enjoy the cool Canada-like climate and the boreal-like beauty of the red spruce forests on top of the mountain, but road conditions suffered from so much water. In some years, months might pass before a traveler could cross Cheat.

The Trotter brothers, charged with delivering the mail from Staunton to Parkersburg from 1855 to 1858 replied to a reprimand from the Postmaster General for their late delivery of the mail in the winter of 1855.
"Mr. Postmaster General Washington, D.C.
Dear Sir:
If you knock the gable end of Hell out and back it op against Cheat Mountain and rain fire and brimstone for 40 days and 40 nights, it won't melt the snow enough to get your damned mail through on time."

Erected by Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Natural Features.
Location. 38° 35.91′ N, 79° 50.928′ W. Marker is in Durbin, West Virginia, in Pocahontas County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Forest Road 27 on U.S. 250. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Durbin WV 26264, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Asa Gray / Buffalo-Indian Trail (approx. 1.4 miles away); Cheat Summit Camp (approx. 1.4 miles away); Shavers Fork
Cheat Mountain Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 7, 2012
3. Cheat Mountain Marker
(approx. 1.6 miles away); Cabin Remains (approx. 2.3 miles away); Astride the Road from Nowhere (approx. 2.4 miles away); Guarding the Turnpike (approx. 2.4 miles away); Cheat Summit Fort (approx. 2.4 miles away); Behind the Parapet (approx. 2.4 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 10, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 634 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 10, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 17, 2021