This black and white vintage postcard shows “The Narrows” in Cumberland, Maryland. The Narrows is the name for a beautiful and picturesque valley that passes through a gap in the mountains with high cliffs on either side at one point. It is a thousand-foot natural gap between Wills and Haystack mountains. This valley has become an entrance to Cumberland, Maryland providing access by road, train, and even stream as Wills Creek runs through it and is thought to have carved the valley.
Cumberland is located in the far western end of Maryland in the Appalachian Mountains at the junction of the North Branch of the Potomac River, and Wills Creek. Cumberland, Maryland is named after the son of King George II, Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland. It is built on the site of the old Fort Cumberland, the starting point for British General Edward Braddock’s trek through the wilderness and attack on the French strong-hold of Fort Duquesne (today in downtown Pittsburgh) during the French and Indian War. General Braddock’s march from Cumberland has become Braddock Road.
This postcard is also #8 from The Braddock Road Series by John Kennedy Lacock, Amity, PA depicting scenes along the historic route that General Braddock took in 1755 through Western Maryland. Some of his vintage postcards, such as this one, had the ongoing history of Braddock’s trek on the back of the postcard as it related to the picture:
“The difficulty experienced by the advanced party under Major Chapman, caused Braddock himself to reconnoiter Wills Mountain (Lovers Leap). Mr. Spendelow, Lieutenant of the Seamen acquainted the General that in passing through The Narrows he had discovered a valley leading around the foot of Wills Mountain. In two days the road was built intersecting with the other road in the neighborhood of Allegheny Grove. It was through The Narrows that Braddock’s main force and supplies began to pass on June 7. The present National Road passes through the Narrows of Wills Creek along Braddock’s Run.”
The Entrance to the Narrows as well as The Narrows themselves present one of the most beautiful scenes in the Allegheny Mountains.