Carrollton Viaduct

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Carrollton Viaduct
Carrollton Viaduct in 1971
Carries Railroad
Crosses Gwynns Falls
Locale Baltimore, Maryland
Owner CSX Transportation
Design Arch bridge
Material Granite
Total length 312 feet (95 m)
Height 65 feet (20 m)
Longest span 80 feet (24 m)
Clearance below 51 feet 9 inches (15.8 m)
Construction start 1828 (1828)


Carrollton Viaduct
Located in Baltimore, Maryland
Located in Baltimore, Maryland
Carrollton Viaduct
Location Gwynn's Falls near Carroll Park, Baltimore, Maryland
Coordinates 39°16′31.5″N 76°39′17.6″W / 39.275417°N 76.654889°W / 39.275417; -76.654889Coordinates: 39°16′31.5″N 76°39′17.6″W / 39.275417°N 76.654889°W / 39.275417; -76.654889
Built 1829
Architect James Lloyd; Caspar Wever
NRHP Reference # 71001032[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 11, 1971[1]
Designated NHL November 11, 1971[2]

The Carrollton Viaduct, located over Gwynns Falls near Carroll Park in Baltimore, Maryland, is the first stone masonry bridge built for railroad use in the United States.


Laying of the cornerstone of the B&O.

The bridge is currently one of the world's oldest railroad bridges still in use for rail traffic, carrying loads far greater than originally envisioned.[3][4] It was named after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence and a director of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, who laid the cornerstone on July 4, 1828.[5] As he laid the first stone he said, "I consider this among the most important acts of my life, second only to my signing the Declaration of Independence." Builder Caspar Wever and designer James Lloyd completed the structure for the railroad in November 1829, at an officially listed cost of $58,106.73. The actual cost of the construction may have been as high as $100,000.[6]

The bridge, 312 feet (95 m) in length, rises from its foundations about 65 feet (20 m). It is 51 feet 9 inches (15.8 m) above Gwynns Falls. It consists of a full-centered arch with a clear span length of 80 feet (24 m) over the stream, and a space for two railroad tracks on its deck. To provide an underpass for a wagon road, an arched passageway, 16 feet (5 m) in width, was built through one of the masonry-walled approaches. Originally planned as one arch of 40 feet (12 m) chord, the dimensions were enlarged to quiet the concern of the proprietor of the mills located immediately above the bridge site, who feared that 40 feet would be insufficient if the stream was flooded. The heavy granite blocks which form the arches and exterior walls were procured from Ellicott's Mills and Port Deposit.[7] A temporary wooden framework supporting the central span held 1,500 tons (1,360 tonnes) of this stone during construction. A white cornerstone at one end of the bridge bears the inscription "James Lloyd of Maryland, Builder A.D. 1829."

Andrew Jackson, the first President of the United States to ride on a railroad train, crossed the bridge on a trip between Ellicott's Mills and Baltimore on June 6, 1833. The Carrollton Viaduct has provided continual service to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and its modern corporate successor, CSX Transportation.

The viaduct was designated a National Historic Landmark on November 11, 1971 and was automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same day.[2][8]

In 1982 the viaduct was designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Carrollton Viaduct". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2007-02-11. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  3. ^ Johns Hopkins University, Department of Civil Engineering. "Carrollton Viaduct". Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2006. 
  4. ^ "1825 Skerne Bridge, Darlington". 
  5. ^ John Moody (1919). "The Railroad Builders". Retrieved April 6, 2006.  (The HAER report states that the cornerstone was laid in May 1828.)
  6. ^ Dilts, James D. (1993). The Great Road: The Building of the Baltimore & Ohio, the Nation's First Railroad, 1828-1853. Stanford University Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-8047-2629-9. 
  7. ^ Laura Rice. Maryland History In Prints 1743-1900. p. 82. 
  8. ^ W. Brown Morton III (August 5, 1971). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Carrollton Viaduct" (pdf). National Park Service. . Accompanying 2 photos, from 1971. (320 KiB)
Works cited

External links[edit]