Columbia in Howard County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Patuxent Branch of the B&O Railroad
Patuxent Branch Trail
[map of B&O Railroad showing the Patuxent Branch line] The main line of the B&O Railroad began construction in 1828 in Baltimore, reaching west to the Ohio River. The Washington Branch began in 1835. A 1.3 mile branch was built from Savage Junction to the Savage Textile Mills in 1888, then extended 3 miles farther to Guilford in 1902. It ceased operation in 1928.
[image of station list] A 1917 station list shows several
[picture of freight car] "Guilford and Waltersville Granite Co." is lettered on the side of a freight car in this photo taken in the 1920's at the Waltersville quarry. The joint stock company operated both quarries from around 1890 until 1925, when it declared bankruptcy. (Detail of photo from the Granite Historical Society, Granite MD)
History: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was a pioneer in railroad history. The first passenger line began operating between Baltimore and Ellicott City in 1830. As the main line reached west to the Ohio River, various branch lines were added. Some of the shorter spurs served the young industries of Maryland. One of these spurs was the Patuxent Branch that served the textile mills and quarries in Savage and Guilford until 1928. It continues in use as a recreational trail in the 21st century.
[topographical map of Patuxent Branch] A 1910 topgraphical map of Howard County shows the route of the Patuxent Branch (here labeled: "B&O RR Freight Lines"). It followed the western bank of the Little Patuxent River, crossing the Middle Patuxent River just north of Savage, then continued north until crossing the Little Patuxent River at Guilford.
[picture of flatcars] Flatcars carry huge slabs of granite from the quarry, to be further dressed by stonecutters. Large stones were often carved into monuments, others made into lintels and structural elements, or further cut into "dimension" or building blocks. (Detail of phot of the Waltersville quarr, from the Granite Historical Society, Granite MD)
[picture of Waltersville quarry train] Quarry train at work in the Waltersville quarry in Granite, Maryland, c. 1920. The company that operated both the Guilford and Waltersville quarries installed freight-rail connections from both quarries to the B&O lines. Operations were probably very similar. (Photo courtesy of the Granite Historical Society, Granite MD)
Rails to Trails Many abandoned railroad lines have been saved for the use of future generations by converting them into recreational trails. Howard County, in cooperation with the Columbia Association, the State of Maryland's Program Open Space, and the Federal Government's ISTEA and TEA-21 programs, has developed much of the Patuxent Branch railroad line into a trail for your enjoyment.
Erected 2003 by Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars.
Location. 39° 9.937′ N, 76° 50.451′ W. Marker is in Columbia, Maryland, in Howard County. Marker can be reached from Old Guilford Road 0 miles from Guilford Road. Marker is on the trail near the parking lot, on the south side of the restored bridge of the Little Patuxent River. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Columbia MD 21046, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Granite Quarries (a few steps from this marker); The Pratt Through-Truss Bridge (a few steps from this marker); The Little Patuxent River (within shouting distance of this marker); The Town of Guilford (within shouting distance of this marker); Governor Harry R. Hughes (approx. 1.4 miles away); Explore your Chesapeake (approx. 1.4 miles away); This Travel Information Center is named in honor of Governor Harry R.Hughes (approx. 1.4 miles away); Christ Episcopal Church (approx. 1˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 3, 2009, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,688 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 3, 2009, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.