When Tom and I take people to Spruce Forest Artisan Village, we always walk over the Casselman Bridge. In fact, the bridge is set in a tiny state park called Casselman River Bridge State Park. When George Washington and General Braddock were making their roads, both of them forded the Casselman River. But when the National Road was constructed, the stone bridge kept the goods and people who crossed it dry.
Casselman Bridge was the longest stone single span arch bridge constructed in the United States in 1813. It was used for vehicular traffic until 1933 when US 40 was routed just south. Today it is a pedestrian bridge that makes a leisurely stroll from one side to another. The most remarkable thing about the bridge is its height. It towers over the river, which is usually a shallow stream. When the bridge was constructed, they thought the Casselman River might be used for canal traffic. So they built the bridge tall enough for barges to pass under.
From the top of the bridge you can see three generations of bridges. There is the stone Casselman Bridge, the steel bridge over the river on US 40, and the modern high bridge on I-68. Lots of ways to cross the river at Grantsville!
We first visited the Casselman Bridge in 2000 when we were on vacation with Steve and John. We intended to recreate this picture when they came to visit this summer, but we ran out of time. But I have taken pictures of some of our other visitors on this bridge. Notice in the old picture, the misspelling of Casselman (spelled Castleman). Spelling was a lot looser in the early 1800’s than it is now.
The Casselman Bridge was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964. I’m glad this beautiful part of our history is being preserved.