MHT File Photo, Undated Photo
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridge, Antietam Creek
B&O Railroad over Antietam Creek, Osage Drive, Boonsboro, Washington County
Period/Date of Construction:
This timber trestle carries the Washington County branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, now part of CSX, over the ravine formed by the Antietam Creek northwest of Keedysville. The Washington County branch of the B & O is a spur which extends from Weverton at the main line on the Potomac River for 24 miles to Hagerstown. Construction of this section of railroad was completed in November of 1867. The wooden bridge, approximately 400' in length, is supported by a series of timber bents resting on concrete sills. The structure is joined with metal bolts. Abutments and piers are of coursed stone. It would appear that most or all of the original wooden timbers have been replaced. Although this spur line has been abandoned in recent years, the bridge is in good condition.
The timber trestle which carries the Washington County branch of the B & O Railroad between two bluffs flanking the Antietam Creek is significant for its architecture, for the engineering expertise it displays, and for its contribution to commerce, communications, and transportation in Washington County for over 100 years. Nearly 400' in length, the trestle is known locally as one of the longest bridges on the B & O Railroad. It is unique in that it is believed to be the only timber trestle or "western type" bridge in Maryland and possibly in the eastern United States. Sometimes called "Long Bridge," the structure is part of a spur line which branched from the main B & O Railroad at Weverton near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Although a route was proposed form Harpers Ferry to Hagerstown shortly after the B & O opened its line along the Potomac River in 1834, the spur was not opened until after the Civil War. The track was first used on November 22, 1867, for a consignment of wheat sent to Baltimore. Prior to the opening of the Washington County Branch there was no direct rail service from Hagerstown to Baltimore. It was an important asset to farmers and manufacturers in Washington County who depended on rail transport of the crops and products.