Stone Arch Bridges of Washington County

Broadfording Bridge

Wilson's Bridge - over Conococheague Creek:
Erected by Pennsylvanian Silas Harry, Wilson Bridge is the oldest as well as one of the most graceful of Washington County's 19th century stone bridges. This five-arch span was built in 1819 as a step in extending the National Road (Route 40) westward from Hagerstown. Today it is bypassed by a larger bridge designed for 20th century traffic.

Price's Bridge - over Conococheague Creek:
This five-arch bridge, at Price's Ford, was built by the Lloyds of Pennsylvania in 1822. Stone for the structure was quarried on the Solliday Farm and trasported downstream by horse-drawn boats. Typical of most of the early 19th century bridges in Washington County, this bridge was built to replace a wooden structure.

Devil's Backbone Bridge - over Little Beaver Creek:
Located at the mouth of Little Beaver Creek at the spot where Braddock and his redcoats crossed the Little Beaver in 1755, this one-arch span was built by Jabez Kenny in 1824.

Funkstown Turnpike Bridge - over Antietam Creek:
This is the first of the stone bridge built over the Antietam Creek in Washington County. This three-arch span was constructed by James Lloyd in 1823. More than a century later, it was irreparably mutilated, aestheticlly, by being widened with contiguous concrete arches, so that it now presents two "faces"-one of stone, one of concrete.

Roxbury Mills Bridge - over Antietam Creek:
Located on Garis Shop Road, this three-archer over the Antietam Creek is a fine example of the design and workmanship that characterize stone bridges of the era. Built in 1824, in close proximity to the once famed Roxbury Mills, the ruins of which still stand today, this was one of a series of bridges to be constructed by Silas Harry for Washington County.

Broadfording Bridge - over Conococheague Creek:
An impressive five-archer located on Broadfording Road, this bridge's length was dictated by the fact that it was to span the Conococheague-literally-at a "broad" fording. Built by the Lloyds of Pennsylvania in 1829, its center arch and next adjacent westward are considerably higher than the other three, even though the bridge itself does not rise with corresponding sharpness at it center.

Conococheague Bridge - over Conococheague Creek:
This four-arch span was built in 1829 at Williamsport by Charles Wilson & Co., agents of the Lloyds of Pennsylvania. It has survived two major remodeling projects-entailing addition of cantilevered concrete aprons to widen its roadbed-but still rests as soundly on its original arches as when it was first built.

Hitt Bridge - over Antietam Creek:
This unusually attractive three-arch span with a high center arch, on Highway 63 near Keedysville, was building in 1830 by Silas Harry, an agent for John Weaver. It crosses the Antietam Creek at the ford which Braddock's army used in 1755, later the site of Samuel Hitt's mill.

Antietam Iron Works Bridge - over the mouth of Antietam Creek:
Located at the juncture of Antietam Creek with the Potomac River, this four-arch stone bridge was on of the first two bridges contracted for by the County Government. Built in 1832 by John Weaver, this site enjoys almost legendary fame as the battleground of the Catawba and Delaware Indian tribes. It also pinpoints on the map the locale of the burgeoning complex of furnaces and mills which was operated as the Frederick Forge & Furnace for many years.

Hess' Mill Bridge - over Little Antietam Creek:
This two-archer near Keedysville is the second of the two bridges built by John Weaver in 1832. It is unique in that one arch is so much larger than the other, presumably because it joins low land on one side of the creek with a high ridge on the other. An alternative reason for the design could be that the smaller arch was intended to accommodate the millrace located on the side of the Little Antietam Creek.

Booth's Mill Bridge - over Antietam Creek:
Built in 1833, by Charles Willson, who previously had built the Conococheague Bridge at Williamsport as an agent to the Lloyds of Pennsylvania, this two-archer replaced a wooden bridge near the site of a powder mill.

Funkstown Bridge No. 2 - over Antietam Creek:
This second bridge over the Antietam Creek at Funkstown, "at Shafer's Mill," was built in 1833 by George Weaver. Its most notable feature is the graduated size of its three arches, growing larger from east to west as it bridges from low ground on the east to higher ground on the west. Distinctive, too, are the wings which lead off obliquely on its north side in the direction that the road follows on either side and the use of both rounded and pyramidal piers on the downstream side of this one bridge.

Antietam Aqueduct - over Antietam Creek at Antietam Furnace
Unique among Washington County's early 19th century stone bridges are the structures which carried the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal over streams in the county. Built in 1834, this three-arch span is one of the larger of these, crossing the mouth of Antietam Creek.

Conococheague Aqueduct - over Conococheague Creek
Built to carry waterborne rather than vehicular traffic over a waterway, this three-archer with Romanesque columns surmounting its piers resembles the Antietam Aqueduct. Located at Williamsport, this bridge became a target for Rebel shelling under General Stonewall Jackson's orders during the Civil War, but damage was confined to the northwest corner. The arches of the aqueduct, unlike those of the county-built bridges of the time, boast keystones.

Burnside Bridge - over Antietam Creek on Antietam Battlefield
Built in 1836, just 26 years before the Battle of Antietam, this beautifully proportioned three-archer has been known ever since the Civil War by the name of the Union general who commanded the troops that used the bridge as the pivotal point for their flanking attack on the southern edge of Sharpsburg. Perfectly restored to its original condition today-even to the wooden coping that tops its walls-this gem of bridge construction is a monument to the engineering skills and artistry of Master Bridgebuilder John Weaver, who erected it for the budget cost of $2,300.

Leitersburg Bridge No. 2 - over Antietam Creek
Originally known as Strite's Mill Bridge, this two-arch span was the first of two bridges built in 1839 by John Weaver, builder of Burnside Bridge. This bridge crosses the creek with only two (equal in size) arches, necessitating a steeper approach on either side and resulting in a more close-coupled appearance at the center if its rise.

Rose's Mill Bridge - over Antietam Creek
Located on Garis Shop Road, it is the second bridge built by John Weaver in 1839. This handsome three-archer was specially adapted to the mill along which it was constructed. The western-most of its three arches was designed to accommodate the mill-race flue, and the floor of the bridge at its southwest corner was widened to permit loading and unloading of wagons directly under the second-floor-level mill door.

Claggett's Mill Bridge - over Antietam Creek
The seventh of the bridges built in Washington County by John Weaver, this graceful three-archer was completed in 1840, near the mill operated for generations by the Claggett family. A distinctive feature of Claggett's Mill Bridge is that its center arch spans a sizeable island. Whether or not the island was there when the bridge was built or if it was formed later by an upstream deviation of the creek's flow is unknown.

Claggett's Mill-Race Bridge - over Antietam Creek
Although it vaults only a mill-race deflected from the Antietam proper, this small but well-designed bridge is typical of many others that have not survived at mill sites in the county. It is not certain that John Weaver built this one-archer. Conjecture is that the Claggetts contracted to have it built in 1841, after completion of the three-archer nearby. The presence of a keystone supports the theory that a mason who had worked on C & O Canal structures was hired to erect it.

Hager's Mill Bridge - over Antietam Creek
This two-arch span, built on the site of the first mill established in Washington County, is the only stone bridge within Hagerstown's city limits. Economy is believed to have dictated the design of this unusually narrow, shallow-arched structure. Built in 1738 and later extended with two concrete arches, it is today a garish example of the incompatibiliby of two eras, rather than the picturesque landmark it could have been.

Old Forge Bridge - over Antietam Creek
The last of Washington County's dated stone bridges, Old Forge Bridge narrowly missed destruction shortly after being erected in 1863. According to reports, when Lee crossed it on his retreat from Gettysburg, he decided not to destroy it only after ascertaining that the creek itself was fordable at that spot.

Pry's Mill Bridge - over Little Antietam
Structural details seem to indicate either the later 1830's or early 1840's as the construction date of this two-archer. Its upstream piers are unique in that they are shaped like the prows of ships. The wings and parapet of this bridge were rebuilt in the twentieth century, but it relegation to rural use has saved it from destructive widening of it narrow roadbed.

"Felfoot " Bridge - over Little Antietam
Although undated, this easily could be one of the earliest of Washington County's bridges. Its masonry echoes that of the Revolutionary war-ear farmhouse, barn and other buildings on this historic "Felfoot" property, which was originally surveyed in 1734. An unusal feature of the bridge are the squared pilastres used at the outside end of each arch, where they apparently serve more as ornamentation than as a structural necessity.

Kline's Mill Bridge - over Little Beaver Creek
This two-arched, undated bridge today presents two contrasting faces - one, the rugged stone facade engineered by bridge-building artisans of more than a century ago; the other, the smooth concrete face added in mask-like fashion by a more recent, more utilitarian generation. There are no historical records showing when or by whom this bridge was built.

"Cool Hollow" Culvert - over a branch of Little Beaver Creek
This little bridge is located over a stream that flows only after prolonged rainfall. Its high centered arch perforates parallel stone walls that terminate in modified columns. Only one of its stone faces is visible today, the other having been obscured with concrete when the structure was widened.

Monroe Chapel Culvert - over tributary of Antietam Creek
Representative of many stone culverts in Washington County, including many dozens along the route of the C & 0 Canal, this one nevertheless is far from being typical. It is a high bridge with a tall, horseshoe-shaped arch, rather disproportionately vaulting over a stream with a very meager flow. Both its walls are concave and squared, columnar piers terminate the wall on either side of the off-center arch.

Marsh Run Bridge - over Marsh Run
This small bridge of stone piers with a wooden floor is primitive, rustic and typical of many bridges that span streams on farm properties throughout the County. Included here only to show the type of bridge that Army engineers wanted to build, on a much larger scale, across the Concocheague at Kershner's Ford back in 1819. Had they been successful in their effort to erect a cheaper bridge, it is doubtful the "bridgebuilding fever" ever would have hit Washington County. The high cost of keeping wooden structures in repair would have prompted their replacement with metal floors long before the dawn of the twentieth century.

Marsh Run Culvert - over Marsh Run
Included as another of the many styles used for the small bridges which span seasonal streams is this diminutive model which duplicates in line, on a much smaller scale, the sweep of the multiple-arched bridges over Washington County's two main creeks. The arch is the smallest feature of this culvert, indicating that the stream never had a heavy flow, even after prolonged railfall.

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