HISTORY ond CONSTRUCTION
THE CAhhOLLTON VIADUCT
Admission to the
i'-ii IkIu Honorary Engineering Fraternity
University of Maryland
— : -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
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
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.
REASON t'OR LOCATION.
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.
ATTITUDE Oi- 1 TI1K PUFUC.
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
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.
OKIGltvAL ?LA«S, COST.
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 .
SPECIE1 CA TIONS.
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
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-
Baltimore and Ohio
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
"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,
THE CARROLLTON VIADUCT,
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
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.
FIRST LOCOMOTIVE, BALTIMORE &
&&////? p /Cfec-t?*/ oyer
-: -BIBLIOGRAPHY- :-
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.