Route 355. Maryland Route 355 (Rockville Pike) bisecting Montgomery County is an example. The ancient trace that the Army of the Potomac, including Sumner's II Corps, followed out of its camps in Tenally Town, District of Columbia now hosts a six lane highway providing consumers access to wall-to-wall malls. But as you continue along Rte. 355 northward to Frederick, once past the Rockville and Gaithersburg suburbs the route narrows to a two lane highway through the still small towns of Hyattstown and Urbana. While the two-laner now evokes the original road, the highway engineer's quest to smooth and straighten the horse track for the automobile is evident and even memorialized. Just south of the point where the route skirts the Monocacy Battlefield, is a stone monument that celebrates the successful straightening of the ancient road.
Despite the endeavors of the engineers, every so often you can still make out a trace of an original road left abandoned by straightening and grading. This is the case on Route 355 and it is the case on many of the routes that lead to Sharpsburg. Sometimes these abandoned sections are easy to spot; other times you can just make out the old road now filled with brambles and trees.
The Upper Bridge Approach. The first post in the "lost road" series is about the original route from Keedysville to the Upper Bridge. This route at some point was truncated and the approach to the bridge abandoned. Today the only way to go is by way of Pry Mill--a route also available in 1862--and the original direct route is now impassable.
|Google Earth map of present day Coffman Farm Road. Red route|
parallels the current road. Blue route traces the now-abandoned bridge approach.
|View of the lost Keedysville Road looking east from vantage point 1 (see map above).|
|View looking east from vantage point 2.|