One of the joys of living in the DC area is the opportunity to participate in the Smithsonian Resident Associates programs. We took advantage of many of these over the years. Some highlights for which I have no pictures:

There are others for which I will eventually get the pictures online. Most of these include "industrial archaeology." We visited train sites, canals, mills, old roads and such-like.

This album covers a 1985 trip to train sites on the B&O Old Main Line in Maryland. The trip was led by John Hankey, who was at the time the historian of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. He was assisted by Joe Nevin who eventually stepped into his footsteps as leader. It seems that Hankey is still leading similar tours for other organizations and Nevin is still leading railroad-themed excursions for the Smithsonian.



Ballman Truss bridge, Savage, MD

The first old bridge we visited was the Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge in Savage, MD. It was originally built for another location and moved to its current location in 1887. This is common. Bridges cost a lot of money to create and if they were no longer needed at their original location they were often dismantled and moved to another place where they were.

At present the bridge is used for a footpath.

The design of the bridge was patented in 1852 by Walter Bollman.

The building in the background is the Savage Mill. In the years since we were there, it has been turned into a shopping and restaurant complex.

Ruined Mill

Another old mill. The note on my slide does not give any additional information about this location, so I can't say if it was part of the Savage Mill complex. The wonders of the WWW turn up a picture of this ruined mill that confirms that it is on the Little Patuxent River.

There is an angler in the center of the picture. It looks like a great way to spend a day.

It is so long ago and I have forgotten so much.

Thomas Viaduct

The Thomas Viaduct is named for the B&O railroad's first president.

It is a continual amazement to me that Google can flesh out my vague memories of the distant past.

Built in the early 19th century it is one of the oldest railway bridges still in use. We were told that at the time of its construction there was concern that the curve in the bridge would make it unstable. In fact it made it MORE stable.

Gadsby's Run Viaduct

This one was hard to identify after this span of time. I believe it is the bridge over Gadsby's Run. The original construction was in 1828, but it was expanded two more times. In 1875 the exterior stone arch was retained, but the bridge was widened by building a new portion inside. I found it mentioned at a web site dedicated to the Old Main Line.

Carrollton Viaduct

The Carrollton Viaduct is even older than the Thomas Viaduct and it is also still in use, carrying much more weight than was originally envisioned.

Patterson Viaduct

The Patterson Viaduct is slightly younger than the Thomas Viaduct shown above, but it was seriously damaged in a mid-19th-century flood and replaced by the Bollman Truss bridge also shown above.


We had been told that we needed to bring our own picnic lunch to enjoy at midday. I don't remember the meal we had, but we still have that white and green cooler.

One civilized feature of the Smithsonian bus tours in those days was that sherry and cheese were served on the way home. We often brought a bottle of our own wine and some interesting cheese to share as well.

Old highway

This may not look like much, but it was the original roadbed of one of the very old westward trails out of Baltimore. Unfortunately my slide doesn't say anything beyond "old road" so I'm unable to identify it further.

The Smithsonian bus can be seen on the right of the slide. Typically we would drive downtown in the early morning and park at the Air & Space museum to meet the bus there. Usually the buses would also make a scheduled stop at a suburban location as well. If one of our trips happened to be headed west, we might meet the bus at the Vienna Metro stop.

I don't know why I only took pictures of the bridges and viaducts on this trip because I remember visiting historic cuts as well. For example, the "deep cut," which is described online as: "The Deep Cut was made into the ridge between the Gwynns Falls and Patapsco River. The original effort turned out to be much greater than the railroad had anticipated. At 68 feet deep and 3000 feet long, the cut is more impressive when you learn it was all accomplished by hand. Hundreds of men worked with shovels and pickaxes around the clock for well over a year to carve into the sticky clay. It came close to bankrupting the fledgling railroad." This is pretty much what we were told on our tour.

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