Towns or counties named “Alleghany” in N.Y., Md., Va. and N.C. are spelled with two “a” vowels rather than two “e” vowels unlike in Pa. where the word is rendered, “Allegheny.”
Callie Mines Road is located in southern Alleghany Co. It runs east to west on Iron Gate Hill and dead ends in Botetourt Co. at the edge of the George Washington National Forest. Travelers crossing into Botetourt County can witness that the highway sign, however, features the Pa. spelling, Allegheny Co.
Upon their return from Botetourt Co. on Callie Mines Road, the same travelers will find the same spelling, notifying them that they are entering Allegheny Co. as they enter Alleghany Co.
Confused? Consider that the headwaters of the Allegheny River located in Pa. feed the river that flows across the state into N.Y. where the Allegheny River flows through the town of Alleghany, N.Y.
How did the variant spellings get started in the first place? Research reveals that the Indian word, “Le nape,” has an unknown meaning, but translators rendered it to mean “fine river.” Derived from the Delaware, the name resulted in three different spellings.
The French established New France during the colonialization of the New World in what led to the French and Indian War between the French and the British in the region, and the French spelling, “Allegheny,” eventually was sanctioned by Pa., but the British spelling, “Alleghany,” was sanctioned by the other four states.
The U.S. Geological Survey spells the river, Allegheny, as it flows through Alleghany, N.Y., but an older survey spells the same river, Alleghany.
Delving into the history of the New World, one will find that the entire Appalachian Mountain Range that runs from Southeastern Canada to Central Alabama was once referred to as the Alleghanies rather than the Appalachians.
As for the Alleghenies today, the mountain range runs some 400 miles from Northcentral Pa., southward through Md. and Eastern W. Va. with its western portion sloping into the eastern portions of Ky. and Ohio.
The main settlements in the Alleghenies are Altoona, Pa., Johnstown, Pa. and State College, Pa.
The highest elevation in the Alleghenies is 4,862’ in Northeastern W.Va., and the eastern portion known as the Alleghany Front, a towering steep escarpment, runs north to south facing toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Alleghany County, Va. is part of Appalachia where visitors will find the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, LewisGale Hospital Alleghany, Alleghany County Public Schools and Alleghany High School.
All are spelled with two “a” vowels, but those who drive on Callie Mines Road into and back out of Botetourt Co. will pass the highway signs that inform them it is Allegheny Co. that they are exiting or entering depending on the direction they are traveling.