What’s in a Map? (repost)

* Note: this post was originally made on 7/9/2015 but seems to have disappeared into the ether. I’m reposting it from memory b/c it’s a VERY interesting map, not just for Georgetown Branch research, but for the DC area. Enjoy!

Baist's map of the vicinity of Washington D.C.
This “Baist’s map of the vicinity of Washington D.C.” shows the proposed extension across the Potomac into VA. ca 1904. From the Library of Congress

Maps are so often used to base opinions when it comes to historic interpretation. The B&O planned on extending the Metropolitan Southern branch all the way into Northern VA to connect with the Southern RR and points South. At the time, the B&O was in some financial stress and the plan was never realized. They did, however, connect with the port of Georgetown, consolidating three railroads into one. (Metropolitan Southern, Washington & Western Maryland and the Georgetown Barge, Dock and Elevated Ry Co.) This became the Georgetown Branch of the B&O after 1908.

Read more about this history here on the Capital Crescent Trail website: http://www.cctrail.org/history_georgetown_branch

The plan to continue across the Potomac was a serious plan by the B&O. So serious, in fact, that it appears on many maps and documents that I have come across, including official B&O track maps! (there is one hanging on the wall at the B&ORRHS Archives in Eldersburg that shows this very thing) I came across this Baist map of DC and the extension is very clearly shown. So much so, the line continues on into VA for quite a while.

Take a minute to visit the Library of Congress website and see this for yourself. It’s a stunning map with lots of history to explore. Enjoy!

https://www.loc.gov/item/87691445/

You can view the map on this page or you can download the original. They even have a .TIF file that is nearly 1GB in size! Here’s a wide view to give you an idea:

Baist map showing B&O line through VA
This Baist map shows the proposed B&O line crossing the Potomac and traversing Northern VA. The line was, of course, never built.

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