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Oblique air photo of Point of Rocks, facing southwest.
Point of Rocks Station
Point of Rocks is a community in Frederick County, Marylandmarker. It is named for the striking rock formation on the adjacent Catoctin Mountainmarker, which were formed by the Potomac River cutting through the ridge in a water gap, a typical formation in the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians. The formation is not visible from the town and can only be seen from boats on the river, or from the southern bank of the river in Virginiamarker.

Transportation

The community contains the Point of Rocks Bridge of U.S. Route 15 over the Potomac River into Virginia. The bridge is the first such crossing of the river upstream of the American Legion Bridge on I-495 in Montgomery Countymarker. The only other crossing between them is White's Ferry.

Point of Rocks is a passenger station stop on the MARC Brunswick Line. The station, designed by E. Francis Baldwin, was built by the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad and completed in 1876. Marking the junction between the Metropolitan Subdivision (the current main line) and the Old Main Line Subdivision, it remains one of the B&O's signature landmarks, and is a popular subject of railroad photography.

History

In 1828, the narrow passage between the rocks at this site provoked a violent legal battle between the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Company and the B&O Railroad over who could have control of the narrow pass. After years of disputes, both companies finally compromised and allowed both canal and railroad to build on the right-of-way through the passage, with a wall between the two to avoid trains scaring the mules that pulled the canal boats.

During the American Civil War, the town was often raided by Confederate partisans, such as John Mosby, Elijah V. White and John Mobberly, operating in Loudoun County, Virginiamarker. The presence of the B&O railroad and C&O canal along with many exiled Unionists from Loudoun made the town such an attractive target.

In 2001 Duke Energy filed an application with the Maryland Public Service Commission to construct a power plant on the north edge of town. In November 2002, however, Duke officially canceled its proposal, though it retains property in the area.

Flooding

Older portions of the town are on the Potomac River flood plain and have been repeatedly inundated. An ongoing Federal Emergency Management Agency program to reduce flood insurance payouts has resulted in the purchase and demolition of a large portion of structures on the lowest-lying properties.

References

  1. Maryland Public Service Commission. Baltimore, MD. "In the Matter of the Application of Duke Energy Frederick, LLC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Construct a 640-MW Generating Facility in Frederick County, Maryland." Case No. 8891. June 18, 2001ff.


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