Germantown Historical Society to Hold Presentation on the Metropolitan Branch of the B & O Railroad

by Patrick Herron

The Germantown Historical Society will host a free, two-part presentation on the structures of the B&O railroad, which will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2023. Go to www.germantownmdhistory.org/upcoming-events  to sign up via Eventbrite for this free event and get directions. Full details below courtesy of Susan Soderberg:
Viaducts Bridges and Trestles – Structures holding up the Trains Next spring we will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the railroad that runs through the County. The Germantown Historical Society will be previewing the celebration with a dual event – a talk on the structures of the railroad on Saturday, November 19 followed on Sunday, Nov. 20 by a short hike to one of the most magnificent of those structures – the Waring Viaduct over Seneca Creek.

Many of you have ridden over this viaduct on the train or seen pictures of it, but not many have actually visited the structure from below. That is because there are only two ways to access it – either by a very steep and overgrown path from Waring Station Road at the top, or through the private property of the Izaak Walton League below. For this event the League has granted GHS and our guests access through their property. We may even have a picnic in their pavilion if the weather cooperates.

From the time the Metropolitan Branch of the B & O Railroad began service to Washington D.C. in the spring of 1873 it started to transform the County. Suburban railroad towns started popping up down-county and the farmers up-county began planting peach and apple trees and milking cows. Steam-powered mills and factories were built near the train stations, bringing us into the Industrial Age. City folk came up from the city in the summer to escape the sweltering heat, noise and pollution. So people in the up-county opened their homes as rooming houses or built hotels to accommodate them.

Rising more than 500 feet from the District to Gaithersburg, cutting through the highest elevation of Parr’s Ridge, and crossing many small brooks and large creeks and the Monocacy River, the 42-mile long railroad posed many challenges for the builders. Great feats of engineering were needed to meet these challenges. Come to the lecture to find out about these engineering feats – and learn the difference between a viaduct, a bridge and a trestle.

Saturday, November 19, 1pm
Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd., Germantown, MD

Sunday, November 20, 1pm
A Short Hike to the Waring Viaduct from the Isaac Walton League park.
Go to https://germantownMDhistory to sign up via Eventbrite for this free event and get directions

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