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

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

Old US Route 40 on Donner Pass Road

While completing California State Route 89 between Lassen Volcanic National Park and US Route I took a detour in Truckee up the infamous Donner Pass Road. Generally I don't dispense with the history of a roadway before the route photos but the history of Donner Pass is steeped within California lore and western migration.  The first recorded Wagon Crossing of Donner Pass was back in 1844.  The infamous Donner Party saga occurred in the winter of 1846-47 in which only 48 of the 87 party members survived.  Although the Donner Party incident is largely attributed to poor planning and ill conceived Hastings Cutoff it largely led to the infamous reputation of Donner Pass. The first true road over the Sierra Nevada Range via the Donner Pass was known as the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Road.  The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed by 1864 to assist with construction of the Central Pacific build the First Trans-Continental Railroad over Donner Pass.  The websit

California State Route 159 (former California State Route 11 and US Route 66)

California State Route 159 was a post 1964-Renumbering State Route which was designated over former segments of California State Route 11 and US Route 66.  As originally defined California State Route 159 began at Interstate 5/US Route 99 at the Golden State Freeway in Los Angeles.  California State Route 159 followed Figueroa Street, Colorado Boulevard and Linda Vista Avenue to the planned Foothill Freeway.  California State Route 159 was truncated during 1965 to existing solely on Linda Vista Avenue where it remained until being relinquished during 1989.  California State Route 159 was formally deleted from the State Highway System during 1992.   The history of California State Route 159 Prior to 1933 the Division of Highways was not actively involved in maintaining urban highways outside of occasional cooperative projects.  The responsibility for signage of US Routes in cities was thusly given to the Automobile Club of Southern California in the Southern California region.  This bei