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Showing posts from May, 2017

Local Sign Find - May 21, 2017

I had the pleasure of driving around the state of Vermont this past Sunday. While the main focus of the trip was to photograph waterfalls (as opposed to taking pictures of the rivers and the lakes that I'm used to), I spotted some neat signs during the course of my travels as well.At one point, I headed down a forest road between Ripton and Goshen in the Green Mountain National Forest. I passed by a couple of signs on a side road where my roadgeek intuition kicked in and demanded that I take a closer look. That's when I spotted a couple of Vermont state route shields with part of a Vermont tourism logo rather than the state name written out.Further down the road on VT 73 in Brandon, I also found a really old VT 73 shield that isn't long for this world. On VT 3 in Proctor, I saw an old cast iron sign highlighting distance to nearby Pittsford and Rutland.

The National Road - Pennsylvania - Great Crossings Bridge and Somerfield

West of Addison, US 40 crosses the Youghiogheny River at what once was the town of Somerfield.  When crossing the current modern two lane bridge, you many not realize that it is actually the third to cross the Yough at this site.  The first - a stone arch bridge - was known as the Great Crossings Bridge.  Built in 1818, this three arch bridge was part of the original National Road.  The name Great Crossings comes from the men who forded the Youghiogheny here - George Washington and George Braddock. (1)  If you cross the bridge at the right time, this historic bridge and what was once the town of Somerfield will appear out from underneath this massive man-made lake.

The Great Crossings Bridge was located in the town of Somerfield.  Somerfield, originally named Smythfield until 1827, would develop as a result of the National Road. (1)  Somerfield would go through various stages of growth and decline throughout the 19th century.  In the early 20th century, Somerfield would develop as a …

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…