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Archived Bridge Photography

The Maryland State Roads Commission, predecessor of SHA, retained the Baltimore-based Hughes Photography to document the construction of Maryland’s infrastructure from the 1920s to the 1940s. These images document the construction methods and equipment from that period in time. The photos also present detailed visual information about the bridges and the surrounding communities in which they are located. Many images provide rare glimpses of the nineteenth and early twentieth century bridges that were demolished to make way for the structures built during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. At this time, the application includes images and data for bridges in eastern and western Maryland. The content will ultimately cover the entire state and will be updated frequently, so check back often!

Building Material


  • Wood


  • Concrete


  • Metal


  • Stone

Building Material


Wood


Concrete


Metal


Stone

Contributions to 20th Century
Economic Growth

A hallmark of the 20th century is advancements made in material technology. These images document the implementation of steel and concrete bridge designs to replace traditional building materials such as stone and timber and the more recent stalwart iron. The new materials expanded the capacity of Maryland’s nascent highway system and facilitated the evolution of moving freight and people from railways to roadways. These photographs capture not only the process of building larger and stronger bridges but also record history of transportation at the transition from serving local business activities to facilitating broader economic growth.

About the Collection

This collection of archival photographs is presented to the public as a collection that documents bridge construction throughout Maryland between the 1920s and 1940s. All images are available for download. Originally photographed with a medium format camera and scanned at a high quality, the archival photos depict the bridges and surrounding areas in crystal clear detail. For more than 30 years, the images were stored in a closet at the State Highway Administration Headquarters in Baltimore. Since 2013, the collection has been indexed, catalogued, and geo-located. Captions present additional contextual information about the bridge type, location, construction methodology and local history.

About the Collection

This collection of archival photographs is presented to the public as a collection that documents bridge construction throughout Maryland between the 1920s and 1940s. All images are available for download. Originally photographed with a medium format camera and scanned at a high quality, the archival photos depict the bridges and surrounding areas in crystal clear detail. For more than 30 years, the images were stored in a closet at the State Highway Administration Headquarters in Baltimore. Since 2013, the collection has been indexed, catalogued, and geo-located. Captions present additional contextual information about the bridge type, location, construction methodology and local history.

 

Hughes Photography Company

The Hughes Photography Company was started in the late nineteenth century by James F. Hughes of Baltimore. He died circa 1903 and the company passed on to his employee, James Scott. Scott likely took many of the photos from the 1920s and 1930s, while his son, Gaither took over the business and took photos during the 1950s and 1960s. All of the photos are 8” x 10” black and white and record the progress of many of the SRC’s bridge construction projects. Collections of Hughes Company photos can be found at the Maryland Historical Society, the Enoch Pratt Free Library Maryland Department and the Maryland Room at the University of Maryland College Park Library.

Preserving Maryland's
Engineering Heritage

As time passes, bridges age and weather, displaying changes wrought by time. These images are a link to the past that depict the construction process and ultimately capture the moment when the structure was complete, new and untarnished, a realization of the engineer's designs and the worker's skills. By documenting the use of barges, steam shovels, rivets, and dredges, these images capture Maryland’s rich engineering heritage and add to our knowledge of bridge building methods. The photos have information to provide to a viewer – whether it’s how men dressed for work or the sight of a steam shovel in motion – and we hope that you will enjoy your tour of Maryland’s engineering heritage.

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