Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography


One of the “must sees” we found while visiting Spruce Forest and the Artisan Village in Western Maryland is the Little Crossings River Bridge. now known as the Castleman’s River Bridge.

The stone arch bridge is a popular stop for photography and picnics.  At the present time pedestrian crossing of the bridge is closed for repairs.  When it opened in 1813, the 80 foot span was the largest of its kind in the United States.  The bridge would carry traffic for nearly 120 years when the steel truss bridge was opened within 500 feet to the south.  After sitting without use for about 20 years, the bridge was restored in the mid-1950s and is now the focal point of Castlemans River Bridge National Park.

The bridge is among the oldest surviving bridges in the country is this magnificent stone arch bridge that is so old that it was built during the time of the War of 1812! At the time it was built it was a monumental engineering achievement for the United States and it was the longest single span bridge in the country. The bridge was part of the National Road. If Route 66 is considered the mother road, than the National Road would be the father road. It was the main route to travel west past the Appalachians, and as such was a critical transportation feature for the early United States.

This bridge stands today as a major remnant of that roadway. As an arch bridge of any construction date, the 80 foot long, 30 foot high span is very impressive and noteworthy. The span length, combined with the bridge’s construction date, makes this one of the most important stone arch bridges in the country.

The Castleman’s Bridge is listed as a National Historic Landmark, which is a distinction that very few bridges have earned. The bridge has been preserved in place for pedestrian use in a park setting. US-40, the modern equivalent of the National Road, runs on modern alignment just south of this bridge. The US 40 bridge is worth a look too.

Supposedly, the large arch was built to accommodate a potential C&O Canal extension to Pittsburgh that was never built.



10 Responses to “LITTLE CROSSINGS”

  1. Not a “little” crossing this one, but a great one!

  2. So glad they restored it and didn’t let it fall to ruin. It is a real beauty. Thanks, Francine, for sharing it, and its story, with us.

  3. That bridge could be in England!
    Lovely autumn colours as well 🙂

  4. So interesting. And I love the Fall colours in the background of your bridge photos.

  5. Amazing how the arch holds up the bridge.

  6. Thank you for introducing The Castleman’s Bridge–out National Historic Landmark! Great post, Francine!

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