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Thomas Viaduct

THOMAS VIADUCT, the oldest railroad viaduct of its type in the world, spans the river at this point. It cannot be seen from US 1, but is reached by a side road from either end of the highway bridge. Over this viaduct, which today echoes to the thunderous passage of modern giant locomotives, steel passenger cars, and ponderous freight trains, a century ago puffed diminutive locomotives drawing tiny wooden passenger and freight cars. According to engineers the struc- ture, despite its age, is in as good condition today as it was in 1835 when it was built. It is constructed of native granite from a design by Benjamin H. Latrobe, son of the Benjamin Latrobe who designed the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Baltimore. The span is 612 ft. long, with eight elliptical arches. More than 24,000 cubic yards of masonry went into its construction and its cost was approximately $150,000. Today it would be impossible, experts say, to duplicate the bridge for a sum anywhere near the original cost. It would also be difficult, it is said, to procure skilled labor, particularly stone masons, able to do this kind of work. The bridge is built in an arc but easily accommo-dates the largest modern passenger and freight cars. Beneath the structure is one of the best gudgeon fishing spots in the State. Anglers of all ages and both sexes come by the hundreds to cast their lines for the tiny fish that make such a succulent meal. Few bother to pick the small bones from this fish when it is properly cooked; there are those who prefer gudgeon to lobster, shad, trout, bass, or any other kind of sea food.