Mt. Savage, 1860
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, Editor of New York Evening Post
The Baltimore and Ohio Railway which brought us to Mt. Savage is one of the most picturesque in the United States. For more than one hundred and fifty miles it follows the course of the Potomac, winding as the river winds, making sudden turns around lofty crags, sweeping around the base of grassy hillsides, passing under old forests now bright with their autumnal hue, and sometimes coming out into fair open valleys. Harper's Ferry, where the Shenandoah comes breaking through its rocky pass to pour itself into the Potomac, would be itself sufficient to give this railway preeminence were there nothing else worth looking at along the tracks. Here the train stops a few minutes, and the passengers alight to look at the majestic cliffs, and to see the place which has recently acquired a new and memorable historical association by the strange adventure of John Brown.
A hundred and eighty miles from Baltimore you reach Cumberland, one of the most beautiful sites for a town I ever saw. It lies on the north bank of the Potomac River in a circle of lofty hills clothed with forests, and divided by half a dozen deep gorges. The town has one or two pleasant streets, the rest are shabby and unsightly. At Cumberland you leave the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, and enter a single passenger car at the end of a long row of empty coal-wagons, which are slowly dragged up a rocky pass beside a shallow stream into the coal regions of the Alleghenies. You alight among smoking furnaces and forges and vast heaps of cinders at Mt. Savage, near the foot of the mountain that bears that name, a village of four thousand inhabitants gathered from various nations, mostly employed in the iron works and mines, and living in cottages. As you ascend from the village you perceive more and more the beauty of this area. You are among deep winding valleys and broad mountainsides, forests of grand old trees, grassy fields; at every step some new charming prospect opens up before you.
From the mouth of the coal mines on the mountains short railways descend to the village, down which rattle trains of trucks loaded with coal. Our party made a visit to a coal mine some three miles distant from Mt.
McDonald's Forge was the first name of the community now known as Mt. Savage, Maryland. When the name Mt. Savage was given has not been determined. A person by the name of McDonald, a widower, decided to become a Catholic priest. The town was not named for him but for his son.
This data was procured from Mr. W. Torkington of Cumberland, Maryland, whose father at one time was Rector of St. George's Episcopal Church, Mt. Savage, Maryland.
William Cullen Bryant
Vol. 1, No 3.
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms
Editor: Felix G. Robinson