Latrobe's Folly

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LATROBE'S FOLLY, the name given by engineers to the Thomas Viaduct, the Baltimore and Ohio Rail-road's stone arch bridge over the Patapsco River, near Relay, Md., designed by and constructed under the direction of Benjamin H. Latrobe Jr., in 1832. His engineering contemporaries insisted that the bridge could not be built, that it would not stand up under its own weight, let alone the weight of the six-ton locomotives then in service, with their trains. But the viaduct was a complete success, to the extent that a century after its construction 300-ton engines were passing over it in safety.


Hungerford, Edward. The Story of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, 1827–1927. New York: Putnam, 1928.

Julius H.Parmelee/a. r.

See alsoAllegheny Mountains, Routes Across ; Bridges ; Maryland ; Railroads .