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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chesapeake, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Causeway Construction

 
 
Causeway Construction Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
1. Causeway Construction Marker
Inscription. Some areas of the marsh were high enough to allow crossing on a corduroy road made of logs. Lower areas of the marsh required a stronger infrastructure, like the one seen here. This exhibit illustrates how five or six timbers, each ranging from 15 to 25 inches wide, were first laid in parallel rows on the bed of the swamp. Next, timbers of equal size were placed across the first layer in parallel rows 10 to 15 feet apart. The resulting cribs, or boxed-in areas, were filled with rot-resistant pieces of wood. An 1802 order from the Norfolk County Court directed repairs to the causeway, calling for the use of “chinquapin spoils to be 4 inches diameter.” Chinquapin was the name for the dwarf chestnut tree, which is near extinction today.

Layers of dirt and oyster shells were added to elevate the structure. These materials were held in place by an additional layer of side timbers connected by tree nails (wooden pegs) to prevent erosion. Finally, the entire system was secured by stakes or pilings, which in that day were referred to as “puncheons.”

It is hard to imagine the enormous physical effort and labor required to cut and haul such heavy trees from local forests, to shape and prepare them with hand tools, and then place them on the bed of the swamp in the required pattern without the help of
2002 Excavation image. Click for full size.
April 28, 2012
2. 2002 Excavation
machinery we would use today.
 
Erected 2012 by Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation.
 
Location. 36° 43.318′ N, 76° 14.382′ W. Marker is in Chesapeake, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of North Battlefield Boulevard (Business Virginia Route 168) and Watson Road, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Chesapeake VA 23320, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Site of the Original Causeway (a few steps from this marker); First Fire (a few steps from this marker); Causeways (a few steps from this marker); The Day is Our Own! (within shouting distance of this marker); Liberty to Slaves (within shouting distance of this marker); At Dawn on December 9, 1775 (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Murray (within shouting distance of this marker); Billy Flora (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Chesapeake.
 
More about this marker. On the upper left is a photo of "Timber excavated in 2002 while digging the foundation for the present Canal Bridge."
 
Also see . . .  Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation
2002 Excavation image. Click for full size.
April 28, 2012
3. 2002 Excavation
. (Submitted on April 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Roads & Vehicles
 
Causeway Construction Marker & Exhibit image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
4. Causeway Construction Marker & Exhibit
Crossed timbers form a crib image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
5. Crossed timbers form a crib
Timbers underlying the causeway road bed. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 28, 2012
6. Timbers underlying the causeway road bed.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 488 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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