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Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge


Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge has been designated a National Historic Landmark.  This site possesses national significance in commerating the history of the United States of America.  The sole surviving example of the first successful iron bridge design widely used by the railroads from 1850 - 1875.  Invented by Wendell A. Bollman, a prominent civil engineer, this is a landmark in the history of American bridge engineering.

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The plaques by the bridge. These pictures were taken June 23, 2001.

In 1822 a Philadelphia merchant, John Savage, chartered the Savage Manufacturing Company and opened a cotton mill on the falls of the Patuxent River. The mill flourished, so much so that a spur of the B&O railroad was extended to Savage in 1887. To carry the line over the Little Patuxent River an iron truss bridge was moved to the mill. Built in 1869 the bridge was the work of Wendell Bollman, a self taught Baltimorian engineer. His structurally redundant design and use of iron were both new ideas the 19th century America. Both ideas proved to work and the B&O patented his design and used it extensively. The bridge in Savage is now not only the only surviving example of the Bollman style, but the oldest iron railroad bridge in the United States. The mill continued to operate until 1947. It is now a marketplace with a 19th century atmosphere. The bridge was restored in 1968 and is now open for pedestrian use. Both are on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

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