South Mountain (Maryland and Pennsylvania)

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South Mountain
South Mountain-airphoto.jpg
Northward view of South Mountain in Maryland
Highest point
PeakQuirauk Mountain
Elevation2,150 ft (660 m)
Coordinates39°41′46″N 77°30′47″W / 39.696°N 77.513°W / 39.696; -77.513
Dimensions
Length70 mi (110 km)
Width12 mi (19 km)
Geography
Appalachian map.svg
Appalachian Mountains
CountryUnited States
StatesMaryland and Pennsylvania
Range coordinates39°43.2′N 77°29.5′W / 39.7200°N 77.4917°W / 39.7200; -77.4917Coordinates: 39°43.2′N 77°29.5′W / 39.7200°N 77.4917°W / 39.7200; -77.4917
Parent rangeBlue Ridge Mountains
Geology
OrogenyGrenville orogeny
Type of rockGranite, gneiss and limestone

South Mountain is the northern extension of the Blue Ridge Mountain range in Maryland and Pennsylvania. From the Potomac River near Knoxville, Maryland, in the south, to Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, in the north, the 70-mile-long (110 km) range separates the Hagerstown and Cumberland valleys from the Piedmont regions of the two states. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail follows the crest of the mountain through Maryland and a portion of Pennsylvania.

Geography[edit]

South Mountain begins at the Potomac River as a low, narrow ridge, barely one mile wide and only 1,200 feet (370 m) above sea level at its crest. South of the Potomac River in Virginia, the ridge continues as Short Hill Mountain for about 12 miles (19 km) before subsiding near the town of Hillsboro. South Mountain in Maryland gradually grows higher and wider towards the north. Near the Pennsylvania border, the mountain merges with the hills of the parallel Catoctin Mountain range to the east and becomes more like a low mountain range than a single crest. North of U.S. Route 30 in Pennsylvania, the South Mountain highlands reach their greatest width, over 12 miles (19 km), and several summits top 2,000 feet (610 m). The mountain then turns more to the east and becomes a series of small rocky hills between Mount Holly Springs and the northeastern end of the mountain at Dillsburg.

Major summits[edit]

Maryland[edit]

From south to north:

  • Lambs Knoll, 1,758 feet (536 m) above sea level
  • Monument Knob, 1,540 feet (470 m)
  • Bartman Hill, 1,400 feet (430 m)
  • Pine Knob, 1,714 feet (522 m)
  • Buzzard Knob, 1,520 feet (460 m)
  • Quirauk Mountain, 2,150 feet (660 m) - highest point on South Mountain in Maryland

Pennsylvania[edit]

The Washington Monument on Monument Knob in Maryland

From south to north, then east:

  • Mount Dunlop, 1,720 feet (520 m)
  • Monterey Peak, 1,663 feet (507 m)
  • Clermont Crag 1,627 feet (496 m)
  • Wildcat Rocks, 1,772 feet (540 m)
  • Virginia Rock, 1,818 feet (554 m)
  • Buzzard Peak/Chimney Rocks, 1,946 feet (593 m)
  • Snowy Mountain, 2,090 feet (640 m)
  • Green Ridge, 1,980 feet (600 m)
  • Mount Newman, 1,784 feet (544 m)
  • Piney Mountain, 1,904 feet (580 m)
  • Big Pine Flat Ridge, 2,100 feet (640 m) - highest point on South Mountain in Pennsylvania
  • Big Flat Ridge, 2,065 feet (629 m)
  • East Big Flat Ridge, 2,070 feet (630 m)
  • Mount Holly, 1,504 feet (458 m)
  • Long Mountain, 1,583 feet (482 m)
  • Center Point Knob, 1,075 feet (328 m)
  • White Rocks, 1,105 feet (337 m)[1]

Gaps[edit]

Maryland[edit]

From south to north:

Pennsylvania[edit]

From south to north:

State reservations[edit]

Maryland[edit]

From south to north:

Pennsylvania[edit]

From south to north:

Conservation[edit]

In Pennsylvania, the region surrounding is the focus of a Conservation Landscape Initiative, led by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The initiative is organized as South Mountain Partnership, which involves other organizations, government, business, and community members.

History[edit]

The history of South Mountain defines the early history of western Maryland. It was viewed as a boundary to the Susquehannock in their original treaty granting land to Maryland. In a 1732 letter to the colonial governor of Maryland, Captain Civility (Togotolisa) chief of Conestoga warns against settlement in the valley beyond the mountain.[2] The first Euromerican land grant west of South Mountain by Maryland was William Park's "Park Hall" in 1731 near Crampton's gap.[3] The earliest route of the Great Wagon Road crossed South Mountain by Fox's Gap on a course between Middletown and Sharpsburg.[4] Other important passes for migration and settlement were Turner's Gap near Boonsboro. Orr's Gap, used today by Interstate 70, and the course of "Cartledge's Old Road" generally following Maryland state route 77. Maryland finally gained clear title to the lands west of South Mountain at the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster.[5] Following the 1859 John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry seven of the raiders escaped from the Kennedy Farm headquarters to Pennsylvania by following (Elk ridge and) South Mountain north. The escapees traveled by night and spent the days in cold camps among the densest thickets they could find along the remote ridge top.[6] They finally left the mountain near today's Caledonia State Park between Chambersburg and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Battle of South Mountain was fought on the mountain at Crampton's, Fox and Turner's gaps during the Maryland Campaign of the American Civil War in 1862. In 1863, military engagements of the Gettysburg Campaign on the mountain range included the Fight at Monterey Pass near the Mason–Dixon Line.

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey 7½ topographic maps
  2. ^ Archives of Maryland, Vol 28, pages 10 & 11
  3. ^ MSA S1203-1697 (Maryland State Archives)
  4. ^ Older, Curtis (2009). The Braddock Expedition and Fox's Gap in Maryland. Heritage Books. ISBN 9781585493012.
  5. ^ Franklin, Benjamin (1744). A Treaty Held at the Town of Lancaster... Benjamin Franklin. p. 53.
  6. ^ Ellis, Ted (2017). Snow on the Buds. ISBN 0998833037.