Skip to main content

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 Jug Bridge and US 40 in 1933. (A.S. Burns / Library of Congress)
The bridge 425 foot long bridge consisted of four 65 foot stone arch spans. (2)  As the widespread use of the automobile grew, stress on the bridge became more evident. During the 1920 - 30s, concerns over the bridge's condition would be voiced.  Finally, on March 3rd, 1942, one of the arches along with a 65 foot section of the bridge collapsed into the river.    While a new concrete open spandrel bridge was being built directly to its south, a temporary wooden bridge was built to cross the collapsed section and allow vehicles to continue to use the highway. (2)  Just over 10 years later in 1955, a second parallel structure to the new bridge would open allowing for four lanes of US 40 traffic to cross the Monocacy.  Later to the north, another bridge would be built carrying Interstate 70 and US 40 over the river.  After the replacement bridge opened in 1944, the Jug Bridge was torn down though the demijohn monument remained.  Years after the collapse of the bridge, the "jug" and a stone monument to General LaFayette were moved to a park about two miles west of their original location.

The Jug Bridge Monument at its current home. (Doug Kerr)
Today, the "jug" sits at the Jug Bridge Memorial Park just off of Interstate 70 and Maryland Route 144 at Exit 56. For centuries, a local rumor was that a jug of whiskey was placed inside the monument by those building the bridge.  As a result of planned expansion of the Frederick Municipal Airport, the City of Frederick is considering moving the bridge to a new home.

Detail of the Jug Monument (Doug Kerr)
Detail of the Marquis de LaFayette monument at Jug Bridge Memorial Park (Doug Kerr)

Site Navigation:

Sources & Links:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…

The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

Brief History:
Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …