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The Northern Piedmont

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THE NORTHERN PIEDMONT Trace its boundaries on the map. In Section 214, we learned that the eastern boundary is marked by the fall line. Why is this boundary the head of navi gation on all the streams which flow across it? The word piedmont means "at the foot of the mountains." See on the map, Fig. 15, and on Fig. 241 how this region is bounded at thewest by the steep Blue Ridge Mountains, which extend almost like a wall nearly all the way from New Jersey to South Carolina. At the northern end, near the Hudson River, the Piedmont is narrow. Toward the south it widens out. Its southern boundary is the Cotton Belt. The clay hills of the Northern Piedmont continue into the Cotton Belt, but since cotton is so important to the people living there, we call that tion of the Piedmont a part of the Cotton Belt.

258. Fall-line ports and man ufactures.—The fall line was the natural place for the early set tlers to locate their towns. Their boats could ascend the rivers only to the head of navigation, and there they often met the Indians with whom they traded goods for furs. Many of the towns on the fall line were built on the sites of these Indian villages. The falling water at such places can furnish power for mills, and that is the other reason why there is a fall line industrial town on almost every large stream that passes from the Pied mont into the Coast Plain. Trenton stands at the fall line on the Delaware; Philadelphia marks the point where the last rapids appear in the Schuylkill River; Wilmington is situated by the rapids of the Brandywine, a branch of the Delaware; Baltimore lies where a creek called Jones' Falls tumbles into Chesapeake Bay; Washington is by the rapids of the Potomac; Fredericksburg is at the head of navigation on the Rappa hannock; Richmond and Raleigh, capitals of two states, are also fall-line cities. In every case the falls fixed the point for the head of navigation, and cities which were started at these points could thrive and grow.

259. A land of rolling one should ride west in an automobile across the Coastal Plain, the car would run along roads that are very level. For miles and miles one would not see a hill as high as the top of the car. There is no hard rock by the road side, but only sand and gravel. But where the road leaves the Coastal Plain and enters the Piedmont, hills appear, some of them higher than houses. Now the road runs up

over the top of a hill and down on the other side into a little valley, then up the next hill and down again, up and down, up and down, never away from the sight of hills.

The clay soil of the Piedmont is heavier and harder than the sand and gravel soil of the Coastal Plain. In the sides of the high banks beside the hilly roads solid rock is often seen. Sometimes the fields are stony and sometimes the fences around them are made of stones that have been cleared from the fields.

When the automobile has followed the hilly Piedmont road for several hours, there appears in the distance a long, blue mountain range. The color of the mountains changes to green as one approaches, and the traveler sees the forest-covered wall of the Blue Ridge, rising to a height of a thousand feet or more. There are cultivated fields on some of the lower slopes.

This Blue Ridge mountain range, which bounds the Piedmont on the west, has several narrow gaps where rivers have worn sharp notches in the mountain range. Through these gaps the .rivers drain the Great Valley west of the ridge. Name some of the rivers (Fig. 15). From the Maryland boundary to Reading, Pennsylvania, the mountain is not so high as it is farther south, but beyond Reading it rises again into a sharp ridge that extends to northern New Jersey.

260. climate of the Pied mont is much like that of the Coastal Plain, except that its elevation of 300 to 1500 feet makes its winters somewhat colder. The winter east wind is colder when it reaches the Piedmont than when it leaves the ocean. The summer brings no sea breeze to the Piedmont. • (Sec. 226.) 261. A home of great men.—Being near the shipping ports at the fall line, the Piedmont was settled early. It was a very important part of the United States at the time of the Revolution. Philadelphia, then the national capital, was the home of Benjamin Franklin, one of the great founders of our country. In those early days the homes of other great men were established in the Piedmont section. President Jefferson's old home (Fig. 230) may still be seen near Charlottesville in the central part of the Virginia Piedmont; President Monroe's old home, near Leesburg, is in the northern Virginia Piedmont. Mount Ver non, which was the home of George Wash ington, is but a few miles distant from the Piedmont.

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