In a practice that makes me think of southern California, Prince George's
County is fond of controlling its streams via concrete channels like this
This photo looks downstream as the Crow and Bear Branches combine ahead,
only to be oddly split into two,
with the left side apparently flowing under the road, under the Bowie
Road RR bridge. It is not obvious where these channels emerge on the
I originally listed the stream in the foreground as the Bear Branch,
but reader Karl Ginter kindly provided clarifications:
"The channel emerges on the left hand side of the road beyond the bridge,
runs thru the apartment complexes (splitting the two complexes) and
continues on across the rerouted (new in 1958) Md 197 to the swamp and
the Pax river channel.
"A lot changed in this area between 1950 to 1980. They rebuilt this area
and put in the flood control in the 1970's or early 1980's. This was
just after Hurricane Agnes where the city was severely flooded, so
there was a lot of flood control projects in the city then. Before then,
it was bare stream beds, full of trash. The culvert is actually an
improvement! This work was done in the late 1970's as my best guess.
County records call this bridge structure 200000P-016102, and indicate
it was built in 1972.
"I don't believe that you're looking at the Bear Branch, but the Crows
Branch which runs up Marshall Ave, and then over behind Laurel High School.
"If I recall correctly, the Bear Branch runs underground from US 1 @
Cherry Lane to this point. It's been a long time... and it was above
ground at some point back then, although I can't remember precisely when
everything got covered over. To the right of the picture is the bowling
alley, and what used to be the Roadway depot and the old Laurel Drive In
Theater. The Bear Branch ran long the edge of what used to be the
Avondale School property, along the freight depot, behind the old 7-11,
and merged in at the bridge where the funky split in the culvert is."