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Historical bridge tour: throughout Washington County, Maryland
Historical bridge tour
throughout Washington County, Maryland
There are more than half a million bridges in the United States, and you rely on them every day to cross obstacles like streams, valleys, and railroad tracks.
Since ancient times, engineers have designed four major types of bridges to withstand all forces of nature.
The Beam Bridge, which consists of a horizontal beam supported at each end by piers. The truss bridge, which consists of an assembly of triangles. The arch bridge, with great natural strength, consists of arches built out of stone. And the suspension bridge, which can span 2,000 to 7,000 feet--way farther than any other type of bridge!
There are several historical bridges throughout Washington County--some built in the early 1700s! Gather the family and take a Bridge Tour through Washington County, Maryland.
B & O Bridge...
also known as Long Bridge, B & O occupies the northwest area of Keedysville over Antietam Creek. Its historical significance is the architecture and engineering of the 1850-1874 period. The bridge is now privately owned and is not in use.
also known as Conococheague Bridge is located over Conococheague Creek. This beautiful bridge was erected by Pennsylvanian Silas Harry and is the oldest as well as one of the most graceful of Washington County's 19th century stone bridges. This five-arch span was built in 1819 as a step in extending the National Road (Route 40) westward from Hagerstown.
Devil's Backbone Bridge...
stretches over Little Beaver Creek at the spot where Braddock and his redcoats crossed the Little Beaver in 1755. Jabez Kenny built this one-arch span in 1824.
is another bridge that reaches over Conococheague Creek. It is an impressive five-archer located on Broadfording Road, and built by the Lloyds of Pennsylvania in 1829. This bridge's length was dictated by the fact that it was to span the Conococheague-literally-at a "broad" fording.
Hager's Mill Bridge...
is a two-arch bridge over Antietam Creek. Built in 1738 on the site of the first mill established in Washington County, Hager's Mill Bridge is the only stone bridge within Hagerstown's city limits. Economy is believed to have dictated the design of this unusually narrow, shallow-arched structure.
Old Forge Bridge...
too stretches across the Antietam Creek. This bridge is the last of Washington County's dated stone bridges. Old Forge Bridge narrowly missed destruction shortly after being erected in 1863. According to reports, when Lee crossed it on his retreat from Gettysburg, he decided not to destroy it only after ascertaining that the creek itself was fordable at that spot.
Cool Hollow Culvert...
is a historical bridge expanding a branch of Little Beaver Creek. This little bridge is located over a stream that flows only after prolonged rainfall. Its high centered arch perforates parallel stone walls that terminate in modified columns. Only one of its stone faces is visible today, the other having been obscured with concrete when the structure was widened.
Booth's Mill Bridge...
another of many that were built to stretch over Antietam Creek was built in 1833, by Charles Willson, who previously had built the Conococheague Bridge at Williamsport as an agent to the Lloyds of Pennsylvania. This two-archer replaced a wooden bridge near the site of a powder mill.
in Antietam Battlefield was built in 1836, just 26 years before the Battle of Antietam. This beautifully proportioned three-archer has been known ever since the Civil War by the name of the Union general who commanded the troops that used the bridge as the pivotal point for their flanking attack on the southern edge of Sharpsburg. Perfectly restored to its original condition today-even to the wooden coping that tops its walls-this gem of bridge construction is a monument to the engineering skills and artistry of Master Bridgebuilder John Weaver, who erected it for the budget cost of $2,300.
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