Book ReviewMash, John. The Land of the Living. Cumberland, Md., Living History Foundation of Allegany County, Maryland, c1996. 889p. illus., maps, bibl. $52.45. (Order: Allegany County Historical Society.)
Only a dozen years ago, Allegany County was too far away to interest the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). Today our Little Orleans cabin sits beside the C & O Canal on the edge of Green River State Forest. This history of the forest and eastern Allegany County is worth calling to PATC notice.
It's a huge book, covering a vast amount of history. Parts 1- 3 begin well before the dinosaurs and come up to about 1700 A.D. Part 4, "The Land Barons," covers roughly 1700 to 1900 A.D., and Part 5, "The People," covers the twentieth century. Political events are ignored, but many other types of history are included: what delayed the completion of I-68 between Hancock and Cumberland for so many years; how wild game (deer, beaver, turkey, quail and more) disappeared from Maryland and then came back; the creation and abandonment of the largest apple orchard in the world; what old men remember of their experiences as young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and at the prisoner-of-war camps; and the stone rings on Polish Mountain, which neither archaeology nor local memories can explain.
Such stories can be found by opening the book almost at random. The book contains an excellent bibliography but no index. Maps are created for subjects as varied as watersheds and old cemeteries. Photos are plentiful, but they are not always as well reproduced as one could wish. Special lists, such as the origin of place names, are provided.
The book is the first production of a group of dedicated volunteers from the Living History Foundation of Allegany County who wish to preserve the history and culture of the Green Ridge area. The author, John Mash, who spent 15 years collecting material for the book, was, before retirement, Forest Manager of Green Ridge State Forest.
All income for the book's sale goes to support the work of the foundation. "Land of the Living" is worth its hefty sticker price.
Information on ordering:
The Land of the Living: $49.95
Make check payable to:
Please send your check to:
Living History Foundation of Allegany Co.