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    Appendix A –Roadway

A-1 : Narrative Route Description

  Allegheny Mountain Backway. At an altitude of 4,400 feet, the high ridge of Allegheny Mountain separates watersheds, and at this location now defines the state line between Virginia and West Virginia.   Starting at modern US 250 and a short distance east of the state line, a narrow, one-lane tract leads in a westerly direction to the mountain crest. This part of the original turnpike is not passable by motorized vehicle.   It could be developed as a foot trail.  

A gravel back road turns off of 250 at the crest of the mountain at the state line, where there is an historical marker for Camp Allegheny. This short road connects the present US 250 to the original alignment.   Continuing on the turnpike Backway, the road goes through Camp Allegheny, then on down the mountain to Traveller’s Repose.   

  Byway Alignment.  From Highway 250 near the state line and the turn off to Camp Allegheny the modern road descends into the valley where it intersects with WV 28.   A short drive south on this highway brings one to the place where the Backway rejoins US 250.  

  Upper Greenbrier Valley.   The turnpike ran mostly along the northern edge of the valley, at the base of the mountain. The modern road in many places runs lower down, more through the commercial districts of Bartow, Frank, and Durbin.  

 Turnpike Alignment – From Traveller’s Repose, the pike crossed the river a slight distance west of the current bridge. There was a covered bridge here, but it was destroyed in the Civil War, and was not replaced for many years after. The pike forded the river near the bridge alignment, and there was a log footbridge. The pike then angled just behind what is now the Hermitage Motel, briefly joined the modern road, then diverged again at the curve. It angled across the field to the base of Burner Mountain on the north edge of the valley, traveled along the bench at the base of the mountain, and returned to the modern route at what is now the west edge of Bartow. Parts of the pike are still in use as local access roads, other sections can only be seen as grades in the field.   From there the modern road has straightened some sections, and short looping cutoffs of the pike can be seen. At Frank the pike crossed down into the valley, along where the tannery was built. For a short distance it coincided with the railroad grade.   The pike was rebuilt higher up when the railroad went in. At Durbin, the pike crossed back above the modern road, following an alley behind the commercial buildings, then passing through alleys and a couple of yards until it emerges on a street at the west end of Durbin. Some sections follow existing streets or alleys, but a few places are totally abandoned and now run through yards.

  Cheat Mountain   After the road reaches the first peak, at the county line between Pocahontas and Randolph Counties, the terrain is rough. Paralleling the road, Shavers Fork River runs along the top of the plateau, and the historic Cheat Bridge over Shavers Fork was located a short distance south of the modern highway bridge. On the west side is another peak, then a steep decline into the Tygarts Valley.

  Backway alignment – The original alignment crossed the modern highway and the bridge at the west end of Durbin. The road does a switchback up the mountain, then continues on the far side of the ridge away from the modern highway. This road is blacktop and is known as Back Mountain Road. There are still small settlements along the turnpike route, which was not bypassed until the 1950s. It joins with the highway and continues on up the mountain on the same alignment as the highway. Just before Shavers Fork, the turnpike diverged south from the modern route, crossed at Cheat Bridge, then climbed the knob to the site of Cheat Summit Fort, built on both sides of the pike. It then continued west across the plateau, coming out to the modern route at Red Run. Today the section of the pike west of Cheat Summit is in the worst condition of any section, as strip mining in the vicinity has changed the natural drainage and much of the route is too marshy even for foot travel.

  Byway Alignment - The modern highway then follows the basic route of the old turnpike down the steep western slope of Cheat Mountain, to the head of Riffle Run. Remnants of the earlier 1826 road on a different alignment can still be found in the woods.Much of the turnpike has been converted directly into the paved highway used today.   The Byway then continues up the Tygart Valley, through Huttonsville, Mill Creek, Valley Bend, Dailey, and Beverly.

 Backway alignment – At Beverly the turnpike proceeds left across the river then follows the route that is now Rich Mountain road, across the valley and up the ridges of Rich Mountain. It crosses the mountain at a low-gap pass, then continues down the west side. It goes through what is now Mabie, then turns left, and follows the Coalton-Pumpkintown road to old route 33 (now 151). It follows the approximate route of the old highway, crossing the Middle Fork River into Upshur County.   The road then passes through several small towns, Burnt Bridge, Ellamore, Excelsior, Overhill, Daysville, Heavener Grove, Reger, then Buckhannon the County Seat.   The road turns at the hospital and proceeds through an underpass of US 33.   It then becomes CR 12 and continues on that road to Lorentz where it returns to US 33 at the Lorentz Historic Marker.   At Horner turn right, then left to be on CR 33-3 which is the old Turnpike, and proceed to McGuire Park then return to US 33.  

  Byway Alignment – Rather than turning at Beverly the road continues on to Elkins staying on US 33 through town. Two choices are available after leaving Elkins on US 33.   Turn left at the short road to Norton to get onto 151, then continue to Pumpkintown and rejoin the backway, or continue on US 33 west of Elkins proceeding to near Lorentz where the Backway joins the Byway, and on to an underpass of I 79. Weston, the County Seat of Lewis County is just beyond.   Passing through Weston, our road US 33 is joined by US 119.    The road passes through several small towns, Sunset Acres, Pricetown, Camden, Alum Bridge, and (my favorite) Pickle Street.   Just after passing the Lewis County line, in the town of Linn, the old Turnpike has a new name, SR 47.   The road then passes through the small towns of Troy, Coxs Mills, and Newberne.   Shortly the road and the county line between Gilmer and Ritchie counties coincide.   At Racket the two diverge, with the road again passing through more small towns: Burnt House, Thursday, Smithville, Beatrice, Macfarlan, and Cisco.    The Turnpike’s passage through Wirt County is short – less then 10 miles, and passes only one small town – Freeport.   After entering Wood County, the road goes through the towns of Kanawha, Cedar Grove, and Stewart before ending at an intersection in Parkersburg where it joins US 50.