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The National Road - Pennsylvania - Mason-Dixon Line and Petersburg Toll House

The National Road travels through and plays a large part in Southwestern Pennsylvania History.  Entering the state on Route 40 from Maryland at the State Line, a remnant of Pennsylvania's automobile past can be seen.  It is an old state line marker made of concrete and was most likely at the time over 50 years old. When I took these photos in 2000 or 2001 the marker was mainly intact.  Today, the marker it appears that the marker is no longer there.  There is also a stone marker for the Mason-Dixon Line where the National Road crosses the state line.  I had never noticed it, but Pete Zapadka has



Just a bit further west at the summit of Winding Ridge is an example of the old tourist motor lodge.  The Dixie Motel is an old-fashioned six room motor lodge and gas station.  The motel sits just north of the Mason-Dixon Line and another Mason-Dixon marker from a 1902 re-survey of the line can be found.  The Dixie Motel still offer rooms at $19/night and advertises that you can sleep or…

The National Road - Maryland - Wilson's Bridge

A few miles west of Hagerstown on Route 40 stands Wilson's Bridge, a stone arch bridge over Conococheague Creek.  The five-arch bridge, built in 1819, is named on the National Register of Historic Places.  The bridge actually remained in service until 1972 when it was severely damaged by Hurricane Agnes. (1) In 1984, Wilson's Bridge was beautifully restored by LeRoy E. Myers.  The bridge is one of numerous stone bridges still standing in central and western Maryland.

Standing to the stone bridge's south is a just as intriguing bridge that carries US 40 currently.  The 'New' Wilson's Bridge is a open-spandrel concrete arch bridge that was opened to traffic in 1936

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(1) "Wilson's Bridge." Bridgehunter.com. May 8, 2017Brian Polidoro

The National Road - Maryland - US 40A: Middletown and Boonsboro

Just west of Frederick, Route 40 splits in two, the old road and the new road.  If you bear left and take US 40A, you will be on the old road.  Alternate Route 40 through Frederick and Washington Counties bridges centuries of American History.  Taverns and towns that are over 250 years old and mountain passes that were of strategic importance during the Civil War can be found along the over 25 miles of this "old" road.

Middletown is a small village of nearly 4,000 residents sitting near the base of the South Mountains west of Frederick.  Middletown was in the center of activity during the days before the battle of Antietam.  In 1862, Union and Confederate forces in the early September days leading to Antietam would march along the National Road through the town.  The old National Road crosses South Mountain at a point called Turner's Gap.  It was at Turner's Gap, along with nearby Fox and Crampton's Gap, that the Battle of South Mountain was waged on September 14,…

The National Road - Maryland - Jug Bridge Memorial Park

For over 130 years, from 1808 to 1942, a very unique stone arch bridge carried everything from horse and buggy, Civil War troops, and finally automobiles over the Monocacy River just east of Frederick.  The bridge's most unique feature, and what would give the bridge its name, was the jug shaped stone demijohn on the east banks of the Monocacy.  The bridge was built in 1808 during the construction of the Baltimore-Frederick Turnpike - a precursor to the National Road and eventually US 40.   In 1824, the Marquis de LaFayette was greeted by Fredericktonians at the bridge upon his return to the area.  The Jug Bridge would see action in the Civil War during the Battle of Monocacy in July 1864.  At the time of battle, the bridge was under Union control and was attacked by Confederate troops hoping to move closer to Washington as a way to divert some of Ulysses S. Grant's troops from the Petersburg campaign. (1)

The bridge 425 foot long bridge consisted of four 65 foot stone arch s…

The story behind the ghost ramps around Pittsburgh International Airport

The roads around Pittsburgh International Airport have a lot of history and intrigue.  The growth of the airport and resulting land acquisitions has changed the routing of many roads in Western Allegheny County.  As the airport grew and traffic around the airport increased, the need for new roads would also change the landscape.  Of course, the fact that this is Pittsburgh means there were also plans for highways that never came to be.  Two of these never built highway plans, the Beaver Valley Expressway (BVE) extension and the full-speed connection to the Southern Expressway at Flaugherty Run Road have traces - specifically ghost ramps - of highways that never came to be.

Beaver Valley Expressway Extension:

For close to three decades this unused piece of roadway along the southern end of Beaver Valley Expressway puzzled Pittsburgh area travelers.  Located near the current-day maintenance hangers for Pittsburgh International Airport, this concrete stub of a highway was supposed to be …

West Dummerston Covered Bridge

Most covered bridges in Vermont or anywhere else in the United States aren't terribly long. Most are under 120 feet.  The West Dummerston Covered Bridge is depending on the source anywhere from 267, 271 or 280 feet in length.  It is a two span covered bridge that crosses the West River in the Town of Dummerston.

The bridge is the longest covered bridge that is entirely within the state of Vermont.  The Cornish-Windsor bridge is longer at 449 feet but is shared by both Vermont and the State of New Hampshire.   The West Dummerston Bridge was built in 1872 and is of the town lattice truss design.  The bridge is actually the fourth crossing of the West River at or near this site.  Three prior bridges were built prior to the the 1872 bridge and all were washed away by floods.  (1)  The bridge was built by Celeb B. Lamson and is the only surviving bridge that he had built. (2)  The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1993 and only reopened after an extensive rehabilitation was co…

Future Interstate 587 now signed in North Carolina

Future Interstate 587 signs are now posted along US 264 in Eastern North Carolina.  The freeway segment of US 264 from Zebulon to Greenville will be designated as Interstate 587 once the entire route is built to interstate standards.   The new signs were first posted on April 12, 2017.

Some Birthday Roadgeekery

For my 40th birthday, quite a few road friends were in town for the celebration.  So after some breakfast at the New York Diner.  Nine of us headed on a brief tour along old US 64 from Knightdale eastwards to Spring Hope.  For the entire set on Flickr - head over here.

First, we stopped and did a quick walk through my hometown of Knightdale.



From there it was out to Zebulon to get to old US 64.  One of the areas I wanted to revisit and show to the crew was the abandoned US 64 Tar River Bridge near Spring Hope.  The bridge is still in good shape and is a very popular fishing hole.


Finally, we did a walkabout in Spring Hope.



Also got a shot of what I understand to be the new standard for low frequency rail crossings.   The Yield signs have become a new requirement.  
Overall it was a quick but nice and enjoyable trip.  I will be working in the Spring Hope photos for a walkabout feature on the Carolina Crossroads Blog soon.

Former Greater Pittsburgh International Airport Terminal

For just over four decades, the former main terminal of Greater Pittsburgh International Airport was the city's gateway to the world.  Located nearly 20 miles west of Downtown Pittsburgh, the Joseph Hoover designed terminal would see millions of travelers pass through its doors.  Known best for the terrazzo compass in the main lobby, the terminal had many other distinguishing features.  The well landscaped entrance that led up to the curved stepped design of the terminal. Each level of the terminal would extend out further than the other allowing for numerous observation decks.  The most popular observation deck, the "Horizon Room", was located on the fourth floor.


From when it opened in the Summer of 1952 until its closing on September 30, 1992, the terminal would grow from a small regional airport to the main hub for USAir.  The terminal would see numerous expansions and renovations over its 40 years of service.  Expansions in 1959, 1972, and 1980 increased the capac…