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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ellicott City in Howard County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Road Versus Rails

The Rivalry Begins

 
 
Road Versus Rails - The Rivalry Begins Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, September 8, 2006
1. Road Versus Rails - The Rivalry Begins Marker
Inscription. Ellicott City’s Main Street is the National Pike, part of the road system that moved Americans west. Only two decades after the road was constructed, a new transportation rival appeared. In 1831, America’s first railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio, introduced steam engines to the Patapsco River Valley. The rivalry between the road and the railroad came together here.

Noisy, dirty, and at first, unreliable, the railroad soon gained the upper hand. By 1840, a stage coach trip to Cumberland on the National Pike cost $9 and took twenty hours. The same trip on the B & O cost $7 and took ten. John H. B. Latrobe summed it up best when he wrote, “That solitary horseman who comes down [the National Road] at a trot that dislocates half the bones in his body, and sends his saddle bags with grievous flapping is one of the few who still prefers its glow and dust to the shade and velocity of travel on the iron avenue to the west.” While it was so important for the first decades of the 1800s, the National Road was doomed.

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Close Up of Photo on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, September 8, 2006
2. Close Up of Photo on Marker
Compare this 1890 view of the B&O station with the contemporary view at Photo No. 3.
caption)
An 1832 traveler observed that “Ellicott’s Mills is at the intersection of rail and turnpike roads; the two great thoroughfares to the west. We have the pleasure of observing the slow paced vehicles passing below us and the rapid easy movement of the railcars.”
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), and the The Historic National Road marker series.
 
Location. 39° 16.067′ N, 76° 47.7′ W. Marker is in Ellicott City, Maryland, in Howard County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Maryland Avenue and Main Street (Maryland Route 144). Touch for map. Marker is at the B&O Railroad Museum at the Ellicott City Station. Marker is in this post office area: Ellicott City MD 21043, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. B&O Railroad Station (a few steps from this marker); Old Stone Tavern House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Phoenix Emporium
Road Versus Rails - The Rivalry Begins Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, September 8, 2007
3. Road Versus Rails - The Rivalry Begins Marker
(within shouting distance of this marker); Hunt's General Store & Millinery Shop (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ellicott’s Mills (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ellicott City.
 
Also see . . .
1. Stop at the Historic National Road Wayside Exhibits. (Submitted on December 1, 2006.)
2. Road versus Rails: The Rivalry Begins. PDF version of the marker (Submitted on March 12, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.) 

3. Impossible Challenge: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Maryland. (Submitted on May 5, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.)
4. Impossible Challenge II: Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 1994. (Submitted on May 5, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.)
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsRoads & Vehicles
 
Detail of marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 1, 2008
4. Detail of marker
Marker and Main Street (the National Road) in Ellicott City image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 1, 2008
5. Marker and Main Street (the National Road) in Ellicott City
B&O Railroad Station, Now a Museum image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, February 25, 2006
6. B&O Railroad Station, Now a Museum
National Road milestone 10 M to B image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck
7. National Road milestone 10 M to B
This milestone is just across the street from the marker, almost underneath the B&O bridge. "10 M to B" indicates 10 miles to Baltimore, where the National Road began.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 28, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,166 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 28, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   3. submitted on September 17, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   4, 5. submitted on March 1, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.   6. submitted on March 17, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   7. submitted on January 23, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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