This vintage postcard is dated 1910 and is titled “Big Rock Entrance to The Narrows, Cumberland, Maryland.” The scene shows the Western Maryland railroad line curving around a rock with a sheer, almost vertical cliff to enter The Narrows, the valley cut between the mountain cliffs.
This being the railroad entrance to the valley and Cumberland, Maryland, The Narrows also provides a valley that serves as entrance through road and stream. The first federally funded highway in the United States, The National Road, was re-routed in 1832 through The Narrows, because it forms a thousand-foot natural gap between Wills and Haystack mountains.
Cumberland was a key road, railroad and canal junction during the 1800s. It was one of the largest cities in Maryland, second only to the port city of Baltimore. It’s prominence at that time helped to give Cumberland its nickname of “The Queen City”. The surrounding hillsides provided coal, iron ore, and timber that helped supply the Industrial Revolution. In addition, the city was a major manufacturing center, with industries in glass, breweries, fabrics, and tinplate.
This vintage postcard of The Entrance to The Narrows not only shows a view of one of the more beautiful sites near Cumberland, but also a historic view of the railroad lines that passed through what was the Western Maryland wilderness at that time they were built.