B & O Bridge Over Georges Creek, Piedmont, West Virginia

This lovely stereoview published by G. W. Robinson of 103 West Baltimore Street depicts a  rail bridge against a backdrop of water and hills.

Taken from slightly above, the view centers the mid-creek pier, and the glistening water draws the eye from there up toward the cleft between the gently sloping hills beyond. The photographer gives us a composition that celebrates  both the wilderness of the Alleghenies and the industrial ingenuity that has penetrated the mountains and made them accessible to the romantic viewer’s shaping eye.

According to the information printed on the back of the card, this bridge spanned Georges Creek at Piedmont, Mineral County, West Virginia. Georges Creek flows down an Allegheny County, Maryland valley from Frostburg to the Potomac. The valley was long mined for coal once the B & O reached Piedmont in the 1850s.

Photographer and local historian Christopher DellaMea’s website, Coal Fields of the Appalachian Mountains, has a good section on the Georges Creek coal field.

I haven’t been able to confirm the location of this bridge, when it was built, or when it was destroyed. It appears, to my untutored eye, to be a one-pier span of a Bollman truss design. It may once have been part of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad. The rail line up Georges Creek was operated by CSX up until 2006, when a small partnership bought the line and renamed it the George’s Creek Railway.

Is the perspective from the south, looking north up George’s Creek from Piedmont? Or from the north, looking south to the Potomac?

If you know anything about this bridge, its history, status, and location, please let me know.


  1. Gerald Altizer says:

    The bridge was constructed by the George’s Creek Railroad, which built south from Lonaconing to connect with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Piedmont. The line opened for service in May 1853. The span crosses the Potomac River from Westernport, Maryland to Piedmont, WV just west of the confluence with George’s Creek.The GCRR was later purchased by the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1944 the C&P was merged into the Western Maryland Railway and ultimately included in the CSX system via the Chessie System.

    The picture was taken facing east towards Keyser, West Virginia with Westernport, Maryland towards the left of the frame.

    1. waldonia says:

      Thank you so much for answering my plea for information, Gerald–I hoped there was a bridge and railroad expert out there who would know.

  2. Mike High says:

    Yes, it is a classic Bollman Bridge, like the one that the B&O (re)built at Harper’s Ferry, probably around the same time. Would be happy to share more, if you have an email address.

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