"Make easy the way for them and then see what an influx of articles will be poured upon us." - George Washington, 1786
You are standing on the original roadbed of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, North America's first common-carrier railroad. Baltimore's leading merchants and businessmen founded the B&O in 1827 to connect the city to western markets. Within a few decades, raucous steam-powered trains carried daily deliveries of coal, wheat and lumber from rural areas to the port of Baltimore, securing the city's prominence in world trade.
The B&O Spawns Industries in the Patapsco Valley
Waterpower and the railroad mad the Patapsco Valley an ideal place for industry. Shortly after the railroad's completion, established factories expanded and new factories were built. The railroad provided a ready supply of materials and a convenient means of shipping products in Baltimore.
The B&O linked the Patapsco Valley's mill communities together and connected them with the outside world. Until 1949, daily passenger trains trundled up and down the valley carrying mail, passengers, and newspapers. Railroad stations also provided residents with telegraph services.
Along the Patapsco Heritage Trail you will follow or parallel the path of the arly railroad. Look for stone bridges, walls and culverts that date back to the railroad's early development. At this location, you can see the remains of stone abutments for the patterson Viaduct, a bridge that once carried tracks across the river. It now supports a footbridge for park users.
Text with main photo: The westbound ore train emerging from the Ilchester, Maryland tunnel and crossing the Patapsco River on May 13, 1951.
Text with lower left photo: Ellicott City Train Station.
Text with lower middle top photo: Locust Point.
Text with lower middle middle photo: Grove Mill.
Text with lower middle bottom photo: Glen Artney stop.
Text with lower right top photo: Completed in 1829, the B&O crossed the Patapsco River atop the graceful Patterson Viaduct.
Text with lower right bottom photo: Destroyed by a flood in 1866, the viaduct was replaced by an iron truss Bolman Bridge. By 1903 the railroad was re-aligned to bypass the river's severe curvature. A new bridge was built upstream.