Narrows Viaduct, Cumberland MD

Page 254 of the 1940 book "The Genealogy of Michael Korns, Sr. of Somerset County Pennsylvania" states "Jesse Korns born 1809, died 1888, buried in a vault in Rose Hill Cemetery in Cumberland...the viaduct across the river was built with his bricks".

There were at least two viaducts in Cumberland. One crossed Wills Creek at the narrows, and was made of brick, as shown by the photos that follow. The first five photos were taken by William E. Barrett in 1970 (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), Survey no. HAER MD-5). The Library of Congress information indicates that the viaduct was built in 1860, and was worked on in 1915, and a 1984 report states " The Wills Creek Bridge is located in the Cumberland and Pennsylvania subdivision of the Western Maryland Railway Company. It is a brick arch viaduct of four spans, each 45 feet in length. The abutments and piers, of which there are three, are built of stone ashlar laid in cement mortar. Except in 1915, when the brickwork of the structure was pointed, it is unchanged. A recent survey showed that the viaduct vibrates considerably when an engine passes over it, the bricks are soft, and the arches require training." To see the HAER report, click here.

The HAER title for the next photo: Aerial View of Bridge, Looking Southeast


The HAER title for the next photo: Detail View of Middle Arch Span, Looking Northwest


The HAER title for the next photo: View of North Side of Bridge, Looking South-Southeast Toward Cumberland


The HAER title for the next photo: Detail View of Bridge at Springline Of Brick-Arch and Masonry Pier, Looking West-Northwest


The HAER title for the next photo: View of South Side Of Bridge, Looking to West-Northwest Away From Cumberland.


The photo below was taken by Mike McKenzie in 2009. It shows the foundations for the bases of the old brick viaduct in Wills Creek. Mike reported that the photo was taken on the east side of Wills Creek looking west towards the National Highway /old route 40. Mike also reported that the railway bridge in the background is for the Western Maryland Railroad. Mike reported that the viaduct was tore down for flood control purposes. The viaduct would act as a dam and catch fallen trees & etc, and block the water and this helped to flood neighboring Locust Grove.

The photo below was taken by Mike McKenzie in 2009. It shows a brick from the brick viaduct. Mike stated "The brick appears to be roughly molded, but it is of very good quality, it is still very hard and durable after 160+ years.".

When I was a kid, I helped to clean up a train wreck near the viaduct; click here to see a third-party photo that shows both the train wreck and the viaduct. An excellent third-party aerial photo of the viaduct can be seen by clicking here.

Another Cumberland-area viaduct that is still (2009 in use that Mike is personally familiar with bears a 1909 date and crosses over Mechanic and Center Streets and Wills Creek. Click here to see a photo of the 1909 viaduct. Click here to see a print that is being offered for sale on a third-party website that depicts the viaduct area as it appeared circa 1915.

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