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The Allegheny-Cumberland Plateau 290

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-THE ALLEGHENY-CUMBERLAND PLATEAU 290. Bounds.—The eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau, called the Allegheny Front, extends for hundreds of miles through West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. A long climb is necessary to reach the top of this one-sided mountain (Sec. 272, Fig. 241), but the climb will be rewarded by the beauti ful view. To the eastward lie many ridges that fade away at last in the blue distance toward the Great Valley. If we turn and go toward the west, we are, for a time, on a fairly level country, which is higher than the tops of the ridges to the eastward. The rocks under the plateau have not been folded as they were in the ridge country (Fig. 245). Instead, they lie almost flat, for when this plateau was made, the rocks were simply raised and tipped a little to the westward, which is the direction in which the plateau now slopes. (Fig. 239.) This plateau (Fig. 21) extends southward into southern Alabama, and its northern edge overlooks the valleys of the Hudson and the Mohawk rivers, and the plains of Lakes Erie and Ontario. Its western edge is the rolling country of the Ohio Valley, a region that is much like the Northern Piedmont.

291. Rough surface--travel and trade.— The streams have cut valleys in the surface of the plateau. These we can see as we go westward and observe that the streams become larger, and the valleys become deeper and deeper. In some places the streams and branch streams have cut so many valleys and little side valleys that the whole plateau is cut up into little pieces. Sometimes there is room for only one farm on one of these level tops. The steep-sided, deep valleys, or ravines, make such a hilltop farm a very hard place to reach, and a lonely place in which to live. The northern part of this plateau is not so rough as is the southern part. As one travels south into West Vir ginia and Kentucky, one sees that the little pieces of upland become smaller and smaller and the valleys are deeper and deeper. This kind of surface makes it harder to travel and harder to make a living in the southern than in the northern part.

This southern section of the plateau is the country in which Dave Douglas lived.

(Sec. 3.) His ancestors, and those of his neighbors, came down the Great Valley and started through the mountains, seeking the west. For some reason they did not pass through the rough country but stayed in the plateau, and on that account' their life has been very different from that of their cousins who stayed in the Great Valley, and their other cousins who went through the moun tains to the good farm lands of the Mississippi Valley, where travel is easy.

292. A new mountain agriculture.—The trouble with many of the mountain farmers is that they are trying to do level-land-farm ing on steep hillsides. A teacher from a school in Douglas's neighborhood says: "A colony of Swiss would turn the coves (moist valleys at the bases of the hills) into gardens, the moderate slopes into orchards, the steeper ones into vineyards by terracing, and export the finest of cheese made from the surplus milk of their goats." The Swiss (Sec. 494) have lived in their mountains so long that they have learned how to farm to very good advantage. Milk giving goats of Swiss breeds have been brought to southern Appalachia and are doing well, and the agricultural schools are teaching people how to make cheese. The new business is growing. This land is also good for tree crops. (Secs. 87, 284.) Perhaps some time Dave Douglas will learn to use his land better. He will then have enough money to send his children to school, and he will be able to buy books and have a telephone. He could do this if he had a herd of good goats, and could take their milk to a neighboring cheese factory, as is done by the Swiss goat farmers. (Sec. 494.) 293. Forests and lumbering.—Much of the rougher land of the plateau has never been made into farms, and in some places in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky one can go for miles over forested mountain slopes without once seeing a house. Ever green trees of northern species grow in the higher parts of the plateau because it is cooler there. In the lower parts are oaks and poplars, such as are found in the Piedmont.

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