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

Breezewood - The Rise and Decline of a Highway Rest Stop

It's the Pennsylvania Turnpike Interchange most people hate - and with a passion.  The Breezewood Interchange - a junction of two Interstates (70 & 76) that became complicated due to archaic rules, rural politics and power, and an unwillingness to change.  At its romanticized best, this small unincorporated community of under 100 residents is a reminder of travel days of the 1950s-1970s; at its worst, it is a gradually dying relic of old motels and services that drivers are forced to slow down and drive through on their way to bigger and more modern destinations.

The Breezewood Interchange is an exception to the rule in the Interstate Highway System.  Depending on your direction, Interstate 70 joins or leaves the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) here.  However, unlike nearly every Interstate junction in the United States - Interstate 70 must traverse on a roughly 1/4 mile stretch of US 30.  A four lane highway complete with traffic lights, center turn lanes to cross traffi…

Old US Route 99 in Goshen, Traver, and the Warlow Rest Area

This summer I had a look into the alignment history of US Route 99 through the Tulare County communities of Traver and Goshen.  The photo below is take from Camp Drive northbound in Goshen on what was US Route 99 until the early 1930s.



Part 1; the history of US Route 99 in Goshen and Traver

Goshen and Traver were both founded in 1872 as sidings of the Southern Pacific Railroad.  The Southern Pacific Railroad laid the groundwork for development of southern San Joaquin Valley.  Previous to the Southern Pacific Railroad travel via wagon or foot in Central California tended to avoid San Joaquin Valley in favor of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road.  The Stockton Los Angeles Road lied to the east of San Joaquin Valley in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and was less subject flooding.  Before the Southern Pacific Railroad most of San Joaquin Valley was a sparsely inhabited wetland which made travel by road difficult.  Goshen and Traver can along the Southern Pacific Railroad on the 1873 Ore…

California State Route 283; former US Route 101 over the Rio Dell Bridge

This week we examine one of California's shortest State Highways; California State Route 283.  California State Route 283 includes the 1941 Rio Dell Bridge and is a former segment of US Route 101.  The photo below is the Rio Dell Bridge after the 1964 Christmas Floods which wiped out the northern approach span. 


California State Route 283 ("CA 283") is a 0.36 Mile State Highway between modern US Route 101/Redwood Highway and the community of Rio Dell in Humboldt County.  The key feature of CA 283 is the 1941 Rio Dell Bridge which was the second alignment of US Route 101.  The Rio Dell Bridge connected Scotia north over the Eel River via Wildwood Avenue to Rio Dell.  The Rio Dell Bridge is a steel truss design which 1,643.1 feet in length.  The Rio Dell Bridge is also known as; North Scotia Bridge, Eel River Bridge, Scotia-Rio Dell Bridge, Albert Stanwood Murphy Memorial Bridge, and the Eagle Prairie Bridge.  CA 283 is unsigned presently ranks as the second shortest State…