This pair of pictures comes to us from frequent commenter and Pittsburgh Daily Photographer, Jess, who sent them along after traveling MD state road 896. The catch about MD 896 is that it travels diagonally through the north-eastern most point in Maryland, leaving Delaware in the bottom picture and entering MD only to leave MD in another 1/5 of a mile later.
Much of the confusion around roads in that area, and part of the reason why they almost haphazardly cross the DE border is because the land in DE that is part of the wedge was in contention for a long time. The borders were formed long after the roads were organized. What is the wedge? Well, isn’t that a good question.
This is a bit of a continuation of the Delaware – MD border discussion we started long ago in this post. The issue is that the original border between the two states in this area was formed by the circumference of a circle with a 12 mile radius centered in Wilmington. You can see the remnants of this circle today in the DE – PA border. It was supposed to continue down to the point at the same latitude as Wilmington. That would make the border between MD and DE shaped more like an arc than the straight line it is today.
In fact there is a space of land called the wedge, between the historical arc border and today’s straight line border that was in contention for quite a while. Today the land battle is over and the space in the wedge belongs to Delaware, but the ambiguous border led to quite a few oddly placed road ways if viewed in the context of today’s maps.
Next time we talk about borders, perhaps we’ll talk about the northern border and how it should have been significantly farther north than it is today.