Patterson Viaduct Ruins, 1970
|Official name||Patterson Viaduct|
|Total length||360 feet (110 m)|
|Longest span||55 feet (17 m)|
|Clearance below||43 feet (13 m)|
The Patterson Viaduct was built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) as part of its Old Main Line during May to December 1829. The viaduct spanned the Patapsco River at Ilchester, Maryland. It was heavily damaged by a flood in 1866 and subsequently replaced with other structures.
History and design
The viaduct was constructed during the first building phase of the railroad, which extended from Baltimore, Maryland, to Ellicott's Mills. The Patterson, the third bridge built for the B&O, was similar in construction to the company's first bridge, the nearby Carrollton Viaduct and was named for B&O director William Patterson. It was designed by Caspar Wever and built under the supervision of John McCartney, one of Wever's assistants. (McCartney's good work on the Patterson Viaduct was later rewarded with the contract to build the 1833-35 Thomas Viaduct.)
The bridge was constructed of granite blocks and was about 360 feet (110 m) long, rising about 43 feet (13 m) above its foundations. It had four graduated arches: two of 55 feet (17 m) chord length each and two of 20 feet (6 m) chord length each. The smaller arches allowed the passage of two county roadways, one on each side of the river. The exterior surfaces of the granite blocks were undressed, or rusticated.
The viaduct was almost totally destroyed in an 1868 flood. A single-span Bollman Truss built into the west abutment in 1869 incorporated the original roadway arch and upstream wing wall. The Bollman design was supplanted by another bridge before the railroad was realigned about 400 feet (120 m) upstream in 1902–03 with the opening of the Ilchester Tunnel.
Today, all that remains at the original crossing is the single masonry roadway arch of the 1829 construction on the west bank and the stone abutment on the east bank, just south of the present railroad bridge. In 2006, a cable-stayed footbridge, with a design that echoes a Bollman Bridge, was added atop the abutments.
The Patterson Viaduct Ruins were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 3, 1976.
- List of Howard County properties in the Maryland Historical Trust
- List of bridges documented by the Historic American Engineering Record in Maryland
- List of tunnels documented by the Historic American Engineering Record in Maryland
- List of bridges on the National Register of Historic Places in Maryland
- Maryland Historical Trust, Crownsville, MD. "Patterson Viaduct Ruins." Accessed 2012-01-12.
- Laura Rice. Maryland History In Prints 1743-1900. p. 80.
- Amy Worden (10 December 1987). "A Bridge to Howard County's Past; Railroad History Buffs Urge Preservation of 157-Year-Old Landmark on Patapsco River". The Washington Post.
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. MD-12, "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Patterson Viaduct, West Bank of Patapsco River, near Ilchester Bridge, Ilchester, Howard County, MD", 1 photo, 1 photo caption page
- HAER No. MD-21, "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Ilchester Tunnel, East side of Patapsco River, Ilchester, Howard County, MD", 1 photo, 1 photo caption page