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|COUNTY||WORLD GUIDE #||CROSSES||TRUSS||SPANS||LENGTH||BUILT||GONE|
|Frededick||MD-10-18x||Toms Creek||Burr arch||1||Approx. 80'||Unk||1923|
Emmitsburg Road or Toll Gate Hill Covered Bridge crossed Toms Creek a little south of Emmitsburg on Emittsburg Road. The bridge was likely built in the mid 1800s.
It is possible the bridge referred to in The Maryland Session Laws of 1844, Chapter 139, is the Toll Gate Hill/Emmitsburg Road Bridge. The Act was passed on March 1, 1845:
An act authorizing the Levy Court of Frederick County to levy a sum of money, if in their judgment they deem it advisable, to rebuild a bridge over Tom's Creek, on the road leading from Frederick to Emmittsburg. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland, That the levy court of Frederick county, if in their judgment they deem it advisable, but not otherwise, are hereby authorized at their next levy, to levy the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars, in addition to eight hundred, they are already authorized to levy, and in the same manner, for the purpose of rebuilding a bridge across Tom's Creek, on the road leading from Emmetsburg to Frederick in said county, this act to go into operation immediately upon its passage.
(Emmitsburg was spelled many different ways in various Session Laws. Emmitsburg, Emmittsburg, Emmetsburg, Emmettsburg and Emittsburg are noted.)
A sum of $950 in the 1845 era would provide for a substantial bridge, likely covered and weatherboarded.
The Emmitsburg Area Historical Society provides an article by Richard D. L. Fulton, originally published in the Emmitsburg Dispatch, about a military convoy carrying Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1919 getting stuck in the bridge. Some of the vehicles passed through the creek and others found alternate routes to take on their way to Gettsyburg.¹
Emmitsburg Road Bridge fell into gradual disrepair. At some time the siding was removed. The News (Frederick, MD) carried an article on May 6, 1922 about the need to replace the old bridge:
Commissioner D. Charles Wibnebrener and W.C. Hopkins, engineer, yesterday while on an inspection tour of the northern section of the county discovered that a bridge spanning Tom's Creek is faulty, and dangerous to traffic. Recommendation is that a concrete structure be erected as soon as posible.
The present bridge is one of an obsolete type, of wood construction, and was once a covered bridge. The timbers have been braced, but the Commissioner says that this is but a temporary makeshift. The proposed new structure would carry an 85 foot span, with a width of 25 feet.
The old bridge lasted until 1923 when it was replaced by a concrete structure. The Baltimore Sun placed an ad in its July 21, 1923 edition for bridge contractors:
STATE OF MARYLAND STATE ROADS COMMISSION
NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS
SEALED PROPOSALS for building the following bridge: FREDERICK CO. CONT F65--Reinforced Concrete Arch Bridge over Toms creek, near Emmitsburg, on the road from Frederick to Emmitsburg, consisting of a single span, 80'0" clear and 24'0" clear roadway.
Completion of the new bridge is confirmed through a couple of articles in The News (Frederick, MD) on August 22nd and August 31st:
August 22, 1923. The work of replacing the covered bridge near Emmitsburg on the state road is going forward rapidly. A temporary bridge has been constructed so that traffic will not have to detour while the new bridge is in the process of construction. It is to be a concrete structure and a great improvement over the old wooden bridge.
This covered bridge was one of the few which remained in the county. It is said that there are scarcely half a dozen of the old-fashioned structures still in existence in Frederick County.
August 31, 1923. The force of hands employed on the job of replacing the old covered bridge over Tom's Creek, south of Emmitsburg, with a modern concrete bridge, has completed the construction of the temporary bridge and expects to complete the work of demolishing the old wooden bridge in a few days.
|Emmitsburg Road Covered Bridge looking north. Photo date unknown. Photo is from Emmitsburg Area Historical Society website.||Emmitsburg Road Covered Bridge during early 1900s flood. Photo is from Emmitsburg Area Historical Society website.|
Special thanks to Linda Burns for providing us information from Frederick newspapers about Emmitsburg Road Bridge.
Special thanks to Bob Salvi of Tewksburg, MA for leading us to information about Emmitsburg Road Bridge.
¹Emmitsburg Area Historical Society website: www.emmitsburg.net/archive_list/articles/history/memories/covered_bridges.htm