Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Lost/B&O/Marietta & Cincinnati "Dunbar Piers"

(A PhotoSatellite, you can see the tops of the three piers peaking out from under the tree tops.)

Greg Schultz posted three pictures of the cut-stone piers for a Marietta & Cincinnati RR wood bridge with the comment: "Sandstone pillars ad arch of the Dunbar Piers in Washington County Ohio, part of the old Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad. These were first used in 1867"



Greg Schultz commented on his post

Greg Schultz commented on his post

Dennis DeBruler commented on Greg's post
Global Earth, Apr 1996

1875 Map of M&C (full resolution)
This 1904 topo map labels the railroad Marietta, Columbus & Cincinnati. I include the town Vincent as well as Dunbar because Dunbar has disappeared as a town.
1904 Parkersburg Quandrangle @ 1:62,500
The Dunbar Piers were 84' high. "Built more than 150 years ago during the Civil War, it took two years for German and Irish immigrants to construct the four piers and arched railroad bridge abutments from stone quarried at the site. 'No mortar was used, and each stone weighed a ton-and-a-half to two tons. And it’s amazing that they could cut some of the stones thin enough to construct the arches,' said Eldon Young, local historian of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad....The last train crossed the piers in 1916, Young said, although other portions of the MC&C Railroad continued in operation in the Vincent and Cutler areas through 1924." [MariettaTimes]

Incorporated in 1845 as the Belpre and Cincinnati, the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad began constructing a line from Marietta through Southeastern Ohio in the 1850s with the goal of connecting Marietta with Cincinnati. The railroad's founders envisioned a line that would carry passengers and freight across the lower portion of Ohio, as well as connect to the Baltimore and Ohio and larger railroads to the east. The Appalachian Foothills posed a challenge to early railroad engineers, who were forced to design and construct many tunnels, trestles, and culverts in order to maintain the railroad's grade. Despite financial setbacks, the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad accomplished its goal; the first train ran the complete distance between Cincinnati and Marietta in 1857.

The first portion of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad's line connected Cincinnati to Chillicothe and opened in 1855. In April of 1856 the line opened as far as Athens. Completing the section that connected Athens to Marietta was more difficult, and it took another year to open to regular rail traffic. The company continued to improve the original line. During the early 1860s, workers constructed the Dunbar Piers to hold a bridge that would span one of the widest and deepest valleys on the route. The bridge replaced an earlier switchback, which had forced trains to slow as they went down one side of the valley then up the other.

In 1868, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad gained enough shares to control the Marietta and Cincinnati. In 1889, the B&O assumed outright control over the line then dissolved the M&C. Meanwhile, in 1871, the Baltimore Short-line Company formed with the purpose of laying a railway from Belpre to Athens. In 1874, the company completed the short line, rendering the old line from Marietta to Canaanville redundant.1 The B&O abandoned the costly to maintain line shortly thereafter. The Toledo & Ohio Central Extension claimed the unused line in 1884, and operated until 1893, when the company went into receivership.2

[Moore, Cyrus and Cyrus Moore on behalf of Ohio History Service Corps. "Dunbar Piers, Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad Bridge." Clio: Your Guide to History. February 4, 2019. Accessed July 22, 2020.]

Richard Strimel posted
The Dunbar piers. Built by German and Irish immigrants between 1865-67 by the Marietta and Cincinnati RR. All the stones were cut by hand from the surrounding area and no mortar was used in the construction.
The route was abandoned by the B&O in the early 1900s.
Located in Washington County Ohio.
[Several commenters tried to correct the commenters that claim this can't be built without mortar or an internal iron structure.]

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