Patterson Viaduct

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Patterson Viaduct
Patterson Viaduct Ruins, 1970

39°14′56″N 76°45′53″W / 39.248889°N 76.764722°W / 39.248889; -76.764722Coordinates: 39°14′56″N 76°45′53″W / 39.248889°N 76.764722°W / 39.248889; -76.764722

Patterson Viaduct Ruins
Patterson Viaduct is located in Maryland
Patterson Viaduct
Patterson Viaduct is located in the US
Patterson Viaduct
Nearest city Ilchester, Maryland
Area 2 acres (0.81 ha)
Built 1829 (1829)
Built by Wever, Caspar; McCartney, John
Architectural style Masonry Arch Bridge
NRHP reference # 76002221[1]
Added to NRHP June 3, 1976
Crosses Patapsco River
(before 1868)
Locale Ilchester, Maryland
Official name Patterson Viaduct
Design Arch bridge
Total length 360 feet (110 m)
Longest span 55 feet (17 m)
Clearance below 43 feet (13 m)
Opened December 1829
Closed 1868

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.[2]

History and design[edit]

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.

Patterson ceremonially opened the viaduct on December 4, 1829.[3] In 1830, The viaduct was part of the route used by the B&O's first horse-drawn carriage train to Ellicott's Mills.[4]

Ilchester Tunnel

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. According to local folklore, Ilchester Tunnel is haunted by Peeping Tom.[citation needed]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Pamela James (August 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Patterson Viaduct" (PDF). Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  3. ^ Laura Rice. Maryland History In Prints 1743-1900. p. 80. 
  4. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]