Monday, August 29, 2016

Patterson Viaduct

Built in 1829 at Ilchester, the viaduct was destroyed in the flood of 1868.  A metal bridge was put on the remaining parts of the bridge, and now there is a walking bridge.  It was named for wealthy business man William Patterson (1752-1835) a founder of the B & O; one of his many children, 'Betsy' married Napoleon's brother.
George Ellicott Jr.'s home is directly above the viaduct in this c1854 image, and his Ilchester flour mill is to the right.  More details and images HERE

The current B&O bridge leads to a tunnel cut through the hill... which the original went around.  Interesting description of "rustic."  

"Patterson Viaduct.—Here the rail-road passes from the left to the right bank of the Patapsco, over a stone bridge with four arches, at an elevation of forty-five feet above the water. The arches at either end are used for carriage-ways; the others allow a free passage to the stream. The entire structure is about three hundred feet in length."
A Geographical, Historical and Statistical View of the Central Or Middle United States. by Henry Schenck Tanner  Phila: 1841

"A ride as far at least as Ellicott's mills, 13 miles from Baltimore, is considered almost a matter of course by strangers visiting the city. The scenery on the route, being mostly in the vicinity of the Patapsco-river, is picturesque and interesting.

The Patterson Viaduct is an immense structure of granite, by which the road is carried to the opposite bank of the Patapsco. It is built of granite blocks, from one to seven tons in weight, and its entire length is 375 feet. It has four beautiful arches, the two centre ones each a span of 55 feet, with extensive wings and water walls, abutments, &c. The height from the water to the crown of the arches is 30 feet. The corner stone of this structure was laid on the 6th May, 1829, and on the 4th of December it was crossed on horseback by William Patterson, Esq. for whom the honor had been reserved, and whose name it bears. It embraces nearly 10,000 perches of masonry."
The Traveller's Guide Through the Middle & Northern States… by Gideon Miner Davison  Saratoga Springs NY: 1834 6th ed.
"...owing to the objections raised against it by the Superintendent. Nor could this individual be prevailed on in the present instance to waive his objections, till the builder, John McCartney, took the trouble to erect a wall at the quarry, in which the expense and appearance of the rustic work was contrasted with that of dressed or faced work, obviously to the disadvantage of the latter. Thus the style of the architecture displayed in this bridge is ascribable to the builder rather than to the Superintendent.

The Patterson viaduct when completed, will probably have cost the Rail-road company about $35,000. The aggregate quantity of masonry contained in it, exclusive of filling, has been stated at 6,655 perches, which at the amount just mentioned would give for the average cost of the masonry about $5,25 per perch. The real cost of this structure will unquestionably have been far less, as we shall now attempt to show.

The stone of which the bridge is constructed, is of a superior quality, and was found in profusion remarkably convenient to the work. The greater part of it was conveyed to the bridge site by means of temporary rail-ways and cars, constructed at the expense of the company. The exterior of the walls was dressed in a manner so rustic, and the sides and edges of the arch stones in a manner so rough, that those parts of the work could not fairly be admitted to have cost more than $6 per perch inclusive of all expenses. The backings and fillings of the bridge were composed of stone, excavated from the road in the immediate vicinity of the bridge, or from other places contiguous thereto, and cannot be said to have cost more than $1,25 per perch, for which price a side wall in the vicinity of Ellicott's mills, which was certainly as expensive as that portion of the work alluded to, is known to have been built. We are persuaded that any competent judge of mason work, on examining the character and circumstances of the work in question, would pronounce the rates above stated extravagant, rather than inadequate.
Agreeably to a return furnished by the Superintendent, the aggregate quantity of dressed masonry contained in the bridge when completed, is 2,581 perches, which at $ 6 per perch amounts to $16,522

Agreeably to the same return, the amount of backing and filling contained in the bridge, is 6968 perches, which at $1,25 per perch, amounts  $8,710

Maximum real cost of bridge ... . $24,232
Leaving a net profit of more than ten thousand dollars in the possession of those concerned in the building of the bridge."
Narrative of the Proceedings of the Board of Engineers: Of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company… by Stephen Harriman Long.  Baltimore: 1830

Library of Congress – single arch
©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
Forgotten history of Ellicott City & Howard County MD

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