Friday, March 6, 2009

Rails into Annapolis

The Annapolis & Elk Ridge Railroad right of way is still clearly visible through Annapolis. To trace Lincoln's arrival in 1865 you might start by going to the Annapolis Mall parking garage next to the theaters and going to the top level. Go all the way to the west side. This photo (click it for a full size view) shows the view looking west over the top level of the parking garage between Macy's and Lord & Taylor. Notice the cut through the trees and the line of utility poles paralleling it into the distance. That is the old rail bed of the Annapolis & Elk Ridge Railroad. As you can see, the tracks ran right through the mall at this point.

Now turn around and go across to the opposite side of the parking structure. You are now looking east toward Annapolis, and again the large utility poles help trace the old rail bed. This line converges with West Street until they meet at about the intersection of West Street and Route 2. From there to about Gibralter Avenue the old rail bed very closely parallels West Street. After Gibralter Avenue the rail bed and West Street again diverge as the latter angles slightly to the south while the rail route continues straight toward the neighborhood of Homewood.

The rail bed is clearly visible through Homewood. This is a photo of the walking trail that sits on the rail bed, paralleling Poplar Avenue.

This is another look at the rail bed as it passes behind the Annapolis Police Department and crosses Taylor Avenue, disappearing in the distance behind the Loews Annapolis Hotel.

And finally, here is the commemorative plaque placed in February 2009 by the Annapolis Lincoln Bicentennial Commission at the corner of Calvert and West Streets. This is where the original depot of the Annapolis & Elk Ridge Railroad was located, and where Lincoln was met by Captain Blodgett on February 2, 1865.