Near Hancock in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Challenge of Sideling Hill
This route is an ancient one. Our traveling ancestors pushed across, around and finally through this mountain. Sideling Hill, always a steep and dangerous climb, first showed up on a 1755 map as “Side Long Hill.”
When frontiersman Thomas Cresap moved up the Potomac Valley, he hired local Indians to widen the trail over the mountain for his wagons.
During the heyday of the National Road, stagecoaches crashed and passengers were killed on the slope near Hancock.
Throughout the 1930s, the 40 miles to Cumberland on US 40 was still considered a long hard trip. “There were five mountains to go over - from east to west - Sideling Hill, Town Hill Mountain, Green Ridge, Polish and Martins Mountain.”
With construction of I-68, engineers finally tamed
(sidebar) As evidenced by this early 20th century advertisement, automobile trips on narrow, steep roads without guardrails, could be a dangerous business. Local historian Emily Leatherman recalled, “Rainy days were disastrous. We could watch the cars go to the doctor’s office across the street. They had slid off the road into the ditches or trees.”
(sidebar) The deepest road cut in Maryland history moved 4.5 million cubic yards of rock and dirt.
Marker series. This marker is included in the The Historic National Road marker series.
Location. 39° 43.128′ N, 78° 16.84′ W. Marker is near Hancock, Maryland, in Washington County Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hancock MD 21750, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The National Road (here, next to this marker); Gettysburg Campaign (a few steps from this marker); Sideling Hill Cut North Bench (within shouting distance of this marker); Sideling Hill Cut South Bench (within shouting distance of this marker); Sideling Hill and Town Hill Mountains (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hancock.
Also see . . . Sideling Hill Exhibit Center. This page has an impressive arial view of the Sideling Hill road cut. (Submitted on January 20, 2007.)
Categories. • Man-Made Features • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 20, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 12,690 times since then and 398 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on January 20, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. 2. submitted on January 20, 2007. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on January 20, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.