Description - Astride the Casselman River just east of Grantsville stands historic Casselman River Bridge. Originally constructed in 1813-14, the single arch stone bridge once served the old National Road which linked Cumberland, Maryland with the Ohio River.
Copyright: - Maryland State Forest and Park Service
Fall Foliage at Casselman River State Park
The bridge crosses Little Crossings, a spot named in 1755 by George Washington, then a young military aide on the staff of British General Edward Braddock. Braddock led an army against a French fort near what is now Pittsburgh. Braddock's army forded the river, Little Crossings, and retreated back over the same spot after being defeated soundly by the French.
Indians settled in the area thousands of years before the first whites settled there in the 1760s. After the French had been driven out of North America, Joseph Tomlinson erected the first inn several miles east of Little Crossings. The ford and the road that crossed it became a major thoroughfare of westward travelers. By the late 1700s, a mill and farm residences were built near the crossing.
Early in the 19th century, the federal government began an ambitious program of internal improvements, which included widespread road construction to help knit together the young republic. The National Road project was a capital improvement program that was aimed at upgrading Braddock's Road. The Casselman River Bridge was one of many such improvements built along the road.
At the time of its construction, the 80-foot span was the largest of its type in America. It was reportedly made longer than it needed to be in hopes that the planned Chesapeake and Ohio Canal would pass under it. A public celebration was held at the bridge on the day that workmen removed the supporting timbers. To the amazement of many, the bridge did not collapse.
Little Crossings became a busy center of commerce and transportation. Stagecoaches, wagons, horsemen and foot travelers crossed over the bridge. More buildings appeared, including a store, and another inn, which remains today, as the Penn Alps.
The advent of the railroads in the 1840s resulted in cheaper travel. The national Road went into eclipse but it was revived in the early 20th century when federal aid became available for the road development to accommodate a newer means of transportation - the automobile.
The bridge continued in service until U.S. Highway 40 also became an important east-west artery, just as the National Road had been. In 1933, a new steel bridge joined the banks of the Casselman River. The old stone bridge was partially restored by the State of Maryland in the mid-1950s and is now the center of Casselman River State Park.
- Located slightly west of Meadow Mountain, Casselman River State Park offers sights on an historic 80-foot single-span stone arch bridge. Picnic tables provide a relaxing location for outdoor dining.
Looking for a hot fishing spot? Casselman River offers 3.2 miles of trout stream supporting brook, brown and rainbow trout. Travel Interstate 68 to exit #19, (US 219) go north for 0.3 miles, turning right at U.S. Highway 40. Proceed 1.1 mile turning left on River Road. Continue 0.4 mile to the first bridge (follow along downstream to several pulloffs on right). This area is extremely popular for delayed trout harvest.
Recreation - Fishing, picnicking and viewing a historic bridge from the early 1800s is enjoyed in Western Maryland.
Climate - Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.
Casselman River State Park is located in the Western Travel Region, within Garrett County, east of Grantsville on U.S. Highway 40.