“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Relay in Baltimore County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

A Rural Vacation Spot

A Rural Vacation Spot Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, July 1, 2008
1. A Rural Vacation Spot Marker
Inscription.  Beginning in 1873, the picturesque Viaduct Station Hotel complimented the Thomas Viaduct. The Viaduct Hotel was built in the town of Relay as a rural vacation spot and a comfortable place for passangers to change trains. The hotel was a forerunner of many notable station hotels constructed by the B&O and other railroads.

Designed by B&O architect E. Francis Baldwin, the station's gothic architecture with extravagant stonework, grand towers and many windows belied its modest size. An exquisite Victorian garden adorned the station's exterior.

The town of Relay proved to be a poor location for such a magnificent structure. By the 1870s, Relay had ceased to be a major interchange point for intercity passenger trains. Though the station attracted a trickle of vacationers, by the 20th century it was used primarily for employee housing, offices and storage. It was demolished in 1950.

"The station was the showplace of the line; many people, overwhelmed by the scenery and the clear air, stayed in the comfortable Viaduct Hotel all summer. Near by was a large park, a beautiful garden filled with shrubs and flowers and
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shade trees. usually that area was quiet and serene, but on the Fourth it was transformed into a combination carnival and county fair."
- John Randolph Stidman, Baltimore Sun, June 28, 1953.

Text with middle left photo: The McCartney Monument stands near the location of the former Viaduct Hotel. Erected in June 1835 by contractor John McCartney, this obelisk commemorates the extraordinary effort that went into building the Thomas Viaduct.

Text with lower middle photo: The Viaduct Hotel's "English Romantic" garden.

Text with upper middle photo: A promotional photo taken shortly after the Viaduct Hotel's opening in 1873.
Erected by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceParks & Recreational AreasRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1781.
Location. 39° 13.34′ N, 76° 42.708′ W. Marker is near Relay, Maryland, in Baltimore County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Washington Boulevard (U.S. 1) and South Street. Marker is within
1890s View of the Station Hotel image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jackson, William Henry, circa 1890
2. 1890s View of the Station Hotel
The Thomas Viaduct obelisk is in the foreground. From the Library of Congress, call number LC-D43-1784 <P&P>[P&P].
the Patapsco Valley State Park - Avalon area, just in front of the park gate building. Entrance to PVSP is about 300 feet north of the US 1 - South Street intersection. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Halethorpe MD 21227, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Masterpiece of the Early B&O Railroad (here, next to this marker); During the Civil War (within shouting distance of this marker); The Thomas Viaduct (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Relay House (about 700 feet away); Elk Ridge Landing (approx. 0.4 miles away); World War II (approx. 0.4 miles away); Great War (approx. half a mile away); Patapsco Valley State Park (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Relay.
More about this marker. The marker is about 400 feet east of where the Viaduct Hotel actually stood, but can only be reach by foot from the park roadway. Alternative path to the site avoiding the climb up to track level is outside of the park via Railroad and Viaduct avenues in Relay, Maryland. There is a missing "Site of..." marker where the station hotel actually stood, but only the marker base remains today.
Regarding A Rural Vacation Spot. The station and hotel were also known as the Relay Station and Hotel.
View of the Location Today image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, July 3, 2008
3. View of the Location Today
All that can be seen today are the railroad tracks and the Thomas Viaduct obelisk. The station hotel stood close to where the two trees on the right are.
Site of Old Relay Station and Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By F. Robby, July 3, 2008
4. Site of Old Relay Station and Hotel Marker
Hidden in the brush in the photo above is the base of the now missing "Site of Old Relay Station and Hotel" marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 5, 2008, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,299 times since then and 117 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 5, 2008, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.

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Dec. 10, 2023