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Full text of "History and construction of the Carrollton Viaduct / by Clifford E. Boteler"

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.-■ presented 
1 or 
Admission to the 

i'-ii IkIu Honorary Engineering Fraternity 

University of Maryland 

January 1927 

— : -SUMMARY- :~ 

This oaper whi^e primarily intended to give a 
"History end Construction of Carroll ton Viaduct" over 
Owynn's Fslls at fcount Clare , Maryland, by way of in- 
troduction includes the inception of a railroad, a 
few frets concerning ita founders and early engineers, 
re? son for the road passing over Gvynn's palls, and 
other informs tion about the Baltimore and Ohio Rail- 
road up to the time Carrollton viaduct was completed 
In 1829. 

Actual drawings are omitted because as far rs 
the author has teen able to ascertain none are avail - 
eble , the Baltimore and Ohio having lost all of their 
ords in the Baltimore fire. 

Photos are included shoving the rock foundation, 
st' te of preservation of the structure, a modern loco- 
motive passing over it, and views in the immediate 
vicinity . 

This r is re snectfu.ll^ dedi' to the early 

ers of the Baltimore md Ohio Railroad, pioneers 
in rk which redounds to the Everl^siing honor of 

the s ryland, end reflects immortrl credit up- 

on the intelligence, perseverance and unfli 
of those who oritineled, perfected, and hrve ed to 

luccessful issue this . msl enterprise. 



PALTImOK K'S ECONOMIC P 051 VI pj _1826^_ 

Towards the end 01 the first quarter of the 19th. 
Century Baltimore vrs confronted Ly the Important eco- 
nomic protleni, how to retain its r?ik ns s prominent 
com.i.erci Q J. emporium of the United States. Although the 
growth of the country teyond the Alleghaniee had not teen 
rnticippted every tody felt that there were good things in 
store there and New York, Philadelphia, Poston and Balti- 
more all essayed to grasp them. New York had her Erie 
Canal completed in 182f;, which aim* ing the raoun- 

Lns in the country of the Great Lakes. Philadelphia 
bravsly attacked them in front; Fop tor, vrtched for a Tlnce 
to pass them. At that time railroads were unthought of. 
Canals *ere the means retire; on. Baltimore had a hope of 
constructing r canal looking toward the setting Bun, but 
the report pi General Bernard proved that a projec. in this 
ection w: s iaapr acticatle , except at a cosl U finitely 
one the means oi the city, and then the people may Le 
said to have sat aown, like the Israeli tee of old, ty the 
waters of Babylon, end wept. 

fthen Layfayette visited the city in 1824 and " 
received with gorgeous hospitality there was a general 

that this t i ened to be the fitful flash of the 
lest remnant 01 Baltimore 's enterpris* , before its light ana 

nth were finallj extinguished. 
THE FOUNDERS Ov -J i.h E &O . 

J.. »u1 lis time, however, railroads *er< first 
spoken 01, Evan Thom&s ^-i : Frltiraore »as in England, where 
he collected many valuable frets relative to the operations 
he had witnessed on the short Industrial railroads in the 
mineral i I cts of Great r -it"^. This Important infor- 
mation ■ forwarded to his brother Philip E. Thomas of Bal- 
tin .■:•■■( s aid likewise filliPm Provn, a member of parliament, 
to his brother George Frown. These do cum nts having tccn 
compared Mr. oas and Mr. Brown were toth fully convinced 
that 8 Pail Road could li i n Baltimore ard West- 
ern *aters, and that the future con ercial gronrtn of their 

citj i its early con on. 

John H.B. Latrobe in . 1 Recollt ct- 

ions of 1 itimore Pnd Ohio Rail Road, describes Mr. Evan 

Thomas as "a man of r ctive nervous ten ent, of gre^t flu- 

ency in spe , of active intellect, full of rll sorts of In- 
formation -'it. respectca for sterling jualitiea of he° rl r nc 1 
hovC, h< talked rrilroad ver he coalo find, or force a 

listener." Alt he seems not to hnve been e man to le?d 

in any undertaking he must been the ian of rll men to 

ur < oth i b< rs. His brother Philip v iil< lack- 

ing this impulsiveness was b on no : rness of 

could be cut Like cheese, to win a costly experience in 
the hard granite districts of Maryland. To these vere 
feu gineers of the United States Army. A mission of 
Engineers vere sent to England to study the short roads 
been established for mining purposes. 
Even with the test skill in the country at work, the 
vaguest icers >r< mailed a b may l< , elsting s scheme 

gested i. j the Engineers tor crossing the mountains. (T.K. 
P. La Trobe). A douLle track of road was to te constructed 
up and dov»n them, as straight as an ariowj care t taken 
that the upper end of one of the ti should te close to 
a stream, which v-ss to be used to fill water cars, vhose 
weight, as they decended on one track, was to drag up the 
passenger end burden cars on the other, the two trains be- 
ing connected ty e rope passing around a pulley at the sum- 
mit. At the toltom of the mountain the vater cars vere to 
be emptied; tut the engineer had forgotten to provide a way 
foi , them back to the top for the next trip." That 
there woul< ably be a want oi water for any purpose on 
the crest of the Alleghanies, never seems to have entered 
the here oi these distinguished men. The mountains vere 
still so far off, however, that this notion did no harm 
and was laid aside and he arc- of no more. 

while this may s ird, no less so is the ruling 
which erased the line to come ir i re Mount Clare Station 

llow etrrds. One mi^ht veil ask no: the company made the 
sjj embankment vest of Mount Clare; why it built the cost- 
ly structure of hern granite, the Carrollton Viaduct. The 

son is j . trobe, the Chief Engineer. The conscr, 

fathers oi Lhe cit; ; so ordained in t eir utti r ignorance t 
the roi a to te located at an ■ levation of 66 feet above 

tide and t 1 e company vac too poor t ny efficient re- 

\ence to en ii surdity to iree wise 

of Co Lhrm r f fords the neeresl llel. 

So here r r: the 8 lei< corner stone 

on Lhe 4th of July, 1828. Ealtimore Lean of July 7th, 

moniei te commencement of I 

hio Rail ] t concourse 

of strangers." an estimate oi 50,000 spectprs :nd 

rt" among the vnole, vc are happy to s~y, v- witnessec. a 
quietness anc ^ood order seloom seen in so I .je a multi- 

tude." It then pays tribute to the venerable Charles Carroll 
of Carrollton v ho layed the coi -i. ■ nd goes on to give 

s description oi the "grand civic procession." 

In 1 i ne , f s rme rs , a nd pi t . djie r s , millers, 

erSj tailors, t , csrperters, stone- 

cutters, ps 3, tanners, hatters, ss makers, took- 

lii , Lers, rope-makers, shi , ters, and 

y civic rssoci .,s. 


Li ttlt aej t;it. Citizens ' ' ac 

of 1831 , published in Hagerstown introduces one of its 

stories in this wise " -with s belief that the progress 

of the trltimore nnd Onio HpxI Road is an object of car- 
iosity end ir.: to very mr rs, we now proceed 
to lay before then, . ari Lion oi nteinec 
in i De Witt Clinton, Ctvl] jer, of New 

fc, who visited il 9 commenc t of 

travel thereoi to Ellieotts, (now LilicottJ 

City) rid a description o± Lhe most prominent structure on 
It, t. < Carroll ton ict, over Gwynn's Falls in Lhe vl- 

cinity of Bait in 


Tl* letter Led in Baltimore, Jane 2> i850> an<J fC _ 

eral interesting excerpts cone , Lhe Carrollton Tr ircact 

Lven. C2 s t^at "the Carrollton Viaduct does 

i it to its projectors, and will ri h any .trsod- 

ry ir. this country, or in Europe." "Moving on the travell- 

Lnds himself on Lhe level summit of the ground whxch 
overlooks I orais the ( )f Gwynn's Pells. The 

rosd i iproachei stream at right angles, and is crriied 

over it bj an immense structure oi dr< c- :"' nite, desi - 

ned by ( - , executed l^ J . Lloyd, ore 

of the most i risin end skill! 1 brid ts of 

Lhe country. I 1 is p work lor which the extent, BolJdity, 
bej utj , u' randeur, hrs not we believe its eqaal in the 
rounlry - " 


COKSa l D .i:::: 1 DET AILS. 

The viaduct, i i; i^med rfter Charles Carroll of Carroll- 
ton, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
peii. . Le v.fs ovei ninety years :' ^en with fitt- 

ctreinoiues he laid .he corner store of this structure. 

Records of the Carrollton Viaduct during the period 
of construction are entirely lacking and none of the designs 
or worl variable. Unfortui . all papers 

in pence to the cesi^n, showing sses which the en- 

gineers pla t -. viaduct to carry, the specifications, 

cost, the officials letting the contract and other mat- 
ters of i ' Lost in the Fsltimore fire. 

It hs inatley established that this structure 

is the oldest railroad viaduct in United StaUs. The Krie 
has ch this sti nt of the Baltimore and Ohio, but 

as Mr. Ric a then, District neer of t ; ie Baltimore 

ana Ohio sa; B,*The^ 're ri ey're wrong." The Carr- 

ollton Viaduct v >mpleted in 1d£^ and *»e* over it pas- 

sed upon lar schedule horse-drawn cms. At thi-e txine 

roac, di< mtemplate th€ use of steam and before 

locomotives adopted rs equipment in 1835 the Trie built 

the i ucca Viaduct near Susquehannf and tried out loco- 

motives over thJ . 1 ■ .. in 1832, the Carrollton ,T iad-iet 

•i in use ««lj three years. 
r F£li ... for October 1921 quotes 

from t Bilf.ay Age Gazett- Lished in 1917 some inter- 


esting construction details disclosed bj at reprirs on 

this old Btone Arch e which indicate the skill rnd in- 

1 the triage m; sons of nearly :. "The 

structure is 29' . e central arch of 80 feet 

Lth the tfee of ! .Is 65 feet, 3 inches a- 

1 ove the ted of the st . e pilrsters were placed 

on the side walls and extend to Pbout 4 feet above the or- 
Lnal elevation oJ railroad tracks, to form pets. 

The si ' ccs over the r re not lulled, tat 

track load is supported on m of longitudinal and 

12 inch brick !' Us, resting in the ^rch rings. 
These walls are space< feet center to center transvt rsely 
and 5 feet longi tuainall v , ma coverca vith 12 inch Mary- 
lane ranite slabs, i uch in tarn hold the ballast under 
the tracks. 

It TV33 originally constructed for doutle track, rnd 
although the equipment it wss designed to carry, undoatt- 

;, wei hed less t • track, it das remained li 

perfect condition under the continually incj ds, 

until it ir no* carrying es i»avj Loads rnd traffic ps any 
bridge in the country. 

Lrs iaouIq hi Ui ae ry in the recent 

prs; I Lee of r? the track at 

intervals, il^xng net I , tne railt 

up to tii. J ■- vel of the top ot the pj t vails, and placed 

a heavy lateral thrust upon th . h they were not cer 

carry. This caused the spandrel walls to oaove to such en 
exttnt that it Lee;; -ess; r take them covin to ttie el- 
evation oj L top 01 . rch, and in rowe pi- o i , -ill low- 

. and to reset them, backing them up with concrete under the 
track p sufficient distance to take the thrust from the para- 

t walls, in handling this work, special care was taken to 
replace the stones in their former position, in order tp pre- 
b< ive the originality of the old brj ps far as possible. 

It xs thought that the original plans called for two 
arches of 40 feet span, but to please the owner of r mill, 
who vas afraid a 40 toot span would drm up the stream the 
bridge vas lengthened to two arches, one of 80 fe t, the 
other of £0 foot span. shorter span of 20 feet on the 

st tnd of the structure was at son.e time filled and now 
is not visible, it j.s estimated that the original struc- 
ture contained 274,875 cu. ft. oi masonry, and the cost then 
completed W! sbe.blj $58,0uQ. Com poring records of the date 
the first rails *ere laid and th« time the first train of cars 
crossed over Carrollton Viaduct, the period of construction 
was , jximately six months. The ease with which stone vgs 
prpcurec from the quanies of the Patapsco on the line of the 
i rood rid much to moderate the exoense of construction . 



The oi'lj t ? Lcat.i.on that the author has teen able to 

tirjb re.acs: M No areent spirits p >re to or used near 

the »ork." Mr. Casper Wever, the Superintendent of Con- 
struction s - i r of l i i i-cllion Vi es in 
one of hj.s esrlj ts: "It is believed that I 

y te execittu wxthout the us adful poison, mo 

geously to the interest of the Company, and certainly 
moi foe-" My to its officers end contractors. The prom- 

ised good which prohibition holes out to all parties, re- 
quires that the measure shell be persisted ir.." 

The initial co?t ir not only exceedingly low, but the 
up-keep expenses on the Carrollton Tr iadact is a most re- 
markable feature. After 98 years or continous Bervice un- 
der he ic, tie up-keep h r negli ible. 
':.... . -i :t. 

Tooay , .. .i'_ viaauct looks as strong as it origins llj v r.s, 
the 1 the Balti - do n L- 

. s to come. The structure 
seems neither to b« • bj the elements r,or the Increas- 

ing subjected. The accompanying 

views show its s ilendid state oi ©reservation. 

It is not Mew of the vast capacity 

of his viaduct, nor is it likely that in the most imaginative 

mood he coulc .fvc visualized the iuodern locomotives shown 
in the accompaning vieus passing over it. The design of 
bridges et that time was not the eixact Bc.tnce which it is 
toe d In t esign of his fefifdge he hrd no precedents 

or rules to follow, 

Latrobe says, th< en ineers were severely criticized 

r assuming t _ ey lad purse of the goverja nd cen- 

sures them lor "extravagance M in using stone arches instead' 
01 i. structures. p] ias been, ful- 

ly deiiioiistra tc u . 

L there was i verdant treshness stout raxlru 

things in t ose days is t in the i ccount of the re- 

ception afforded Mr. %insns, the inventor of the "Winans 
frict. leel." Before b vast h or v , in the Ex ;e, 

Charles Carroll over ninety years of age, who waa the great 

n on all . t oceassions in T ore, cd in 8 

li ,1< car in one of the upper rooms, the cars being drrwn 
by 9 ridicously small wi 1 it attached to a small vei^rht 
hung t y a stri a pu ly and dropping nto the 

.1 below, Arounc him wei th< rominent men al- 

timore, 11 ich pleased ps children vith a ixv toy. 

Eq -:usint is the race of the locomotive ch 

was to pass over tht Can-oil ton Viaduct against the stage 

ch. Et rsz - d to have a race irom the Relay 

House to toount Clare, The start being made, awaj went 
hors< -ne, the snort of one and the puff of the 

other keeping time and tun°. At the first the horse had 
the Lest ,i Lt, ior his steam would pplied to the great- 
est advai ■ gt on the instant, whJfJCth* Tod lad to 
wait until tne rotation blowei to 

work. The horse ii .0 have teen s quarter of s mile 

en the safety vrlve of the engine lifted and the 
issuin or showed an excess of steam, "he t lover vhist- 
led, the Bteam bleu off, the pace increased, the pai t-rs 
shouted, th< Lni ained on the horse, soon it lapped him 

the race was neck and neck, tne engine passec the horse 

and up vent a mighty shout of victory. But the joy vrs of 
e ort duration. band driving I e blower slipped, the 
safety valve 1 to scream, rnd the engine for want of 
breath \<--^n to whe zc and . In vain Cooper tried to 
ur^e hi. s locomot. r ■ nc although he did get it to take its 
secona wind, th< v. on. rhaps the 

J. oil maj life in tne iret that while the horse drank 
chewet .'it 3.1.0,- . 

ich contraptions as these was Carrollton Viaduct 
I, yet loday it still carries the nerviest locomo- 

During the Civil War the structure was in serious c 
r of being dest.oyed, tut it came through unharmed, and 


judging from its present cone it., on mill c ntinue to serve 
indefinitely . 

Carrollton Viaduct, the first reat structure on the 

first railropc in the world is s proud monument to the gen- 
ius of its builder, James Lloyd and all those engineers who 
with bu unflagging purpose, through years of gloom, sacrifice, 
labor, and patient effort brou ht to accomplishment the sub- 
lime conception. 

Baltimore and Ohio 



October. 1()21 

Co rrolMetoViadud 

Baltimore «*<* Ohio Railroad 


The Cover Picture-The Carrollton Viaduct 

Built for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1829 

Photograph h lies, through the courtesy of 

D. A. Williams, Assistant to] 

The Citizens' and Farmers' Almanac of 1831, published in Hagerstown, Md\, introduces one of its stories in this 


" — w jth a belief that the progress of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is an object of curiosity and interest to 
very many of our readers, we now proceed to Say before them a description of the same as contained in a letter 
from De Witt Clinton, Esq., Civil Engineer, of New York, who visited it shortly after the commencement of 
travel thereon from Baltimore to Ellicotts, and an Engraved View and description of the most prominent 
Structure occurring on it, viz. : THE CARROLLTON VIADUCT over Gywnn's Falls in the vicinity of Balti- 
The letter is dated in Baltimore, June id, 1830, and we quote from it interesting excerpts concerning the Carrollton 

Viaduct, vil.: 

"The Carrollton and Patapsco viaducts do much credit to their projectors, and will rank with any masonry in 
this country, or in Europe." • • • » 

"Moving onward, the traveller finds himself on the level summit of the ground which overlooks and forms the 
eastern bank of Gwynn's Falls, The Road approaches the stream at right angles, and is carried over it 
by an immense structure of dressed in granite, designed by CASPER W. WEAVER, Esq., and executed by 
JAMES LLOYD, Esq., one of the most enterprising and skillful bridge architects of the country, called in 
honor of the illustrious individual who laid the First Stone, 

a work for which the extent, solidity, beauty, and even grandeur, has not, we believe, its equal in this country." 

r A. is ■*• .-. 

Wood cut of Carrollton Viaduct appearing in [he Citwna' anil Former*' Aimcnat. of 1B31. 
Note the "horse cars" on the track 

Lack of space prevents reprinting of more of this interesting letter, so we conclude with the following information 
concerning the viaduct furnished to the Railway Age Gazette in 1017 by S. C. Tanner, now superintendent of shops at 
Martins burg: 

Repairs recently made on the old stone Arch Bridge disclose some interesting construction details that indicated 
the skill and ingenuity of the bridge masons of nearly a century ago. The structure is 207 feet long, with a central arch with 
an 80 foot span, and with the base of the rails 65 feet, 6 inches above the bed of the stream. Large pilasters were placed 
on the side walls and extend to about 4 feet above the original elevation of the railroad tracks, to form parapets. The 
spandrel spaces over the arches are not filled, but the track load is supported on a system of longitudinal and transverse 
12 inch brick walls, resting in the arch rings. These walls are spaced 3 feet center to center, transversely, and 5 feet longi- 
tudinally, and are covered with 12 inch granite slabs, which, in turn, hold the ballast under the tracks. 

It was originally constructed for double track, and although the equipment it was designed to carry, undoubtedly 
weighed less than the present day automobile truck, it has remained in perfect condition under the continually increasing 
loads, until it is now carrying as heavy loads and traffic as any bridge in the country. No repairs would have been neces- 
sary in the recent past had not the common practice of raising the track at intervals, when applying new ballast, brought 
the rails up to the level of the top of the parapet walls, and placed a heavy lateral thrust upon them, which they were not 
designed to carry. This caused the spandrel walls to move to such an extent that it became necessary to take them down 
to the elevation of the top of the arch, and in some places, still lower, and to reset them, backing them up with concrete 
under the track a sufficient distance to take the thrust from the parapet walls. In handling this work, special care was 
taken to replace the stones in their former position, in order to preserve the originality of the old bridge as far as possible. 

The structure was in serious danger of destruction during the Civil War, but by careful guarding it came through 
unharmed, and judging from its present condition, it will continue to serve indefinitely. 


<//9/V£S LLOYD 


/om T~SHsrr>£ 



&&////? p /Cfec-t?*/ oyer 

&^o . 



1. The Baltimore and Ohio Magazine - October 1921. 

2. Personal Recollections of the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad --John H.B. Latrote. 

3. The Economic History of the Baltimore ana Ohio 
ivailroDd, 1827-1653.- The Johns Hopkins Press. 

4. A Bibliography of the Baltimore ano Ohi J--1827-1879, 

John ft . Lee . 
5. A History and Description of the Baltimore and 
Ohio -- William Prescott Smith.