The Marietta-Harmar Bridge carried the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad over the Muskingum River bertween Marietta and Harmar, Ohio.
Fort Harmar was constructed along the west bank of the Muskingum River in 1785, followed by the establishment of Marietta on the east bank of the river. 4 Fort Harmar, which developed into a distinct neighborhood of Marietta, was connected across the Muskingum with a 900-foot covered bridge in 1856.
In the same year, the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad (M&C) had been leased to the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railway (B&O SW), which later provided the B&O an important connection to the Midwest. 5 Construction began on the 173-mile M&C between Harmar and the Little Miami Railroad at Loveland in the spring of 1851, which opened on April 9, 1857. The M&C used trackage rights along the Little Miami to reach Cincinnati.
In 1873, the M&C acquired the Harmar crossing, replaced the covered bridge with an iron superstructure, and installed a central swing span. 4 It would enable the passage of larger steamboats along the Muskingum River.
The M&C connected with the Marietta & Pittsburg Railroad’s Marietta City Branch which enabled a connection to Dover and later Cleveland.
The M&C became the Cincinnati, Baltimore & Washington Railway (CB&W) on February 16, 1883. 6 The CB&W, along with the Cincinnati & Baltimore and the Baltimore Short Line railroads, merged to become the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railroad (B&O SW) in December 1889, which was absorbed into its parent, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O), in 1900.
Three of the four spans of the bridge were replaced after they were destroyed by floodwaters in 1913. 4
The B&O abandoned the Harmar bridge in 1962. The non-profit Harmar Bridge Company was formed in the 1980s, which fundraised money to add a pedestrian walkway alongside the railroad bridge. 7
On February 29, 2020, 8 the crossing was closed to pedestrians because of the bridge’s structural deterioration and liability to the Harmar Bridge Company. 7 It has been estimated to cost between $2 million and $4 million to build a pedestrian walkway within the iron superstructure of the bridge.
- State: Ohio
- Route: Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
- Type: Pratt Through Truss
- Status: Abandoned / Closed
- Titchenal, Stephen. Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad History. N.p.: n.p., 2014. Print.
- “Cleveland and Marietta Railway Company.” Ohio Railway Report 1860’s History. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
- “Photos of Yesteryear.” Byesville Scenic Railway. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2016. Article.
- Pytlik, Laura. “Suspended in Time.” Clutch Mov, 1 Nov. 2015.
- Reynolds, Kirk, and Dave Oroszi. “Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern.” Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Osceola: MBI, 2000. 30. Print.
- Morris, J. C., comp. “1840’s History.” Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs. N.p., 31 Dec. 1902. Web. 10 Aug. 2010. Article.
- Patterson, Janelle. “Harmar Walking Bridge closing to pedestrian traffic.” Marietta Times, 20 Feb. 2020.
- Patterson, Janelle. “Historic Harmar Bridge scheduled to close Saturday.” Marietta Times, 25 Feb. 2020.