Historic Bridges of the MidAtlantic: Roddy Road Covered Bridge

While my husband and I were visiting Antrim 1844, we wanted to take advantage of everything that not only Carroll County, but also nearby Frederick County had to offer. In his case, it was through the scope of the outdoorsman and in my case, through the scope of historic preservation.

Our divergent interests came together at the Roddy Road Covered Bridge, which originally was one of the shortest covered bridges in the county, and according to some accounts, the state of Maryland. While I read the interpretive signage (writing those would be a dream job!) and photographed the structural system, my husband bundled up and meandered down the stream, taking in the serenity of the area. It was something out of a dream.



The Roddy Road Covered Bridge is actually part of a slight recreational activity area. Along with a playground, there is also a parking lot. Initially when I moved to Maryland over a decade ago, I was impressed with not only the number of recreational areas, but also the quality, cleanliness, and branding. The area surrounding the Roddy Road Covered Bridge is no exception.


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When I write that it is the shortest bridge in the vicinity of the area, I mean, it is a mere forty feet long. It is of the king post design which means that there is a central vertical post working in tension to support a beam below from a truss apex above.  (Nope not an engineer, just curious AF.) The 1930s brought upgrades to the structural upgrades to the bridge, via an addition of steel beams beneath the driving surface; these beams were eventually replaced. A poor rehabilitation of the project during the 1980s caused issues with moisture which led to rotting. Lesson number one from my architectural conservation class: water is the catalyst in all decay! Say it with me now!



If follow along with my Instagram Stories, and more specifically my takeover of the Antrim 1844 Instagram account, you know that this bridge was built between 1850 and 1860. Word on the street is that J.E.B. Stuart crossed this bridge along with his crew circa 1856. Not a surprise, since Gettysburg is a mere hop, skip, and a jump away.

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge that stands today is actually a replica, as the original was destroyed in what I can only ascertain as an “incident” with a “large truck” circa 2016-2017. I once read that this bridge has had a track record with “incidents” with “large trucks”. Perhaps that is why in 2017, headache bars were added to the bridge, as part of the upgrade to avoid any future incidents with oversize vehicles.


 


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