Looking at old photographs is like peering through an open window back into history. Not only do they give you a sense of wonder from traveling back in time, but also a staggering feeling of awe from seeing just how much things have changed. For this post, I have used one of Lewis Reed’s original photographs for “then” and a Google stock image for “now”.
Point of Rocks Station. Photo by Lewis Reed, ca. 1911.
Point of Rocks Station (THEN): Point of Rocks is the location of an important railroad junction and the site of one of the most picturesque and best known of the historic stations of the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. At this junction, the ex-B&O Old Main Line from Baltimore, one of the oldest lines in the country, and the ex-B&O Metropolitan Branch from Washington, D.C., opened in 1873, come together and continue west as one line to Cumberland, Pittsburgh, and Ohio. A little known fact is that the station was struck by lightning in the late afternoon of June 27, 1931 and gutted. We can be thankful that the B&O ordered its full restoration.
The Point of Rocks station was completed in 1876 and was designed by renowned architect E. Francis Baldwin who would construct a number of stations and depots for the B&O, particularly along the eastern areas of the railroad. The Point of Rocks station itself in terms of exposure is likely the most well known B&O station as it is heralded as one of, if not the, most photographed railroad station or depot in the country. The station’s popularity lies as much with its splendor as its location. Situated at the point where two railroad lines converge, coupled with a beautiful steeple which faces directly towards where the railroad tracks meet makes for a truly magnificent setting, unrivaled anywhere else.
Point of Rocks Station (NOW): The building remains in active use today as a railroad station, which is used by MARC, the Maryland-subsidized commuter train service. The stop remains a fairly active one for MARC, transporting commuters from their offices in Washington, D.C. to the suburbs of Maryland and West Virginia. While the future of the Point of Rocks station may be somewhat uncertain it is hoped that by being on the National Register of Historic Places as well as “overseen” by the Point of Rocks Community Historical Society that the station’s future can be secured and preserved.
Point of Rocks Station today.