Beginning in 1873, the picturesque Viaduct Station Hotel complimented the Thomas Viaduct. The Viaduct Hotel was built in the town of Relay as a rural vacation spot and a comfortable place for passangers to change trains. The hotel was a forerunner of many notable station hotels constructed by the B&O and other railroads.
Designed by B&O architect E. Francis Baldwin, the station's gothic architecture with extravagant stonework, grand towers and many windows belied its modest size. An exquisite Victorian garden adorned the station's exterior.
The town of Relay proved to be a poor location for such a magnificent structure. By the 1870s, Relay had ceased to be a major interchange point for intercity passenger trains. Though the station attracted a trickle of vacationers, by the 20th century it was used primarily for employee housing, offices and storage. It was demolished in 1950.
"The station was the showplace of the line; many people, overwhelmed by the scenery and the clear air, stayed in the comfortable Viaduct Hotel all summer. Near by was a large park, a beautiful garden filled with shrubs and flowers and shade trees. usually that area was quiet and serene, but on the Fourth it was transformed into a combination carnival and county fair." - John Randolph Stidman, Baltimore Sun, June 28, 1953.
Text with middle left photo: The McCartney Monument stands near the location of the former Viaduct Hotel. Erected in June 1835 by contractor John McCartney, this obelisk commemorates the extraordinary effort that went into building the Thomas Viaduct.
Text with lower middle photo: The Viaduct Hotel's "English Romantic" garden.
Text with upper middle photo: A promotional photo taken shortly after the Viaduct Hotel's opening in 1873.