What’s Lurking Under That Overpass? Reader Participation Day!

Hopefully not a troll. Since we’re all about “active preservation”, it’s your turn to share architectural bonbons- see below.

Today’s photo is a little further afield than usual, but interesting! This is the historic railroad bridge over Folly Mills Creek in Staunton, Virginia, constructed around 1874 for the Shenandoah Valley Railroad.



Framing it is the ca. 1965 Interstate-81 overpass, with a concrete culvert of similar age. If you didn’t know where it was -and how many people outside of Augusta County know where Folly Mills, Virginia is? – you’d drive right past it.

This bridge is cool because (Criterion) A) it was part of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad system, the first major attempt at infrastructure in the Shenandoah after the War and basically the railroad saved the Valley from total economic collapse. (Criterion) B, the railroad company was largely controlled by Upton Lawrence Boyce, a grafty snake and damn carpetbagger but important historical figure, and (Criterion) C it’s an “outstanding example of 19th century stone masonry construction“. Boyce was such a big deal, they named a town in Clarke County after him (or he named it after himself, we’re not sure).

It’s a beautiful bridge, and very true to its period of construction- note the height and curvature of the arches and the rusticated treatment of the masonry. The Romanesque aesthetic was popular at the time, also seen on buildings such as DC’s Old Post Office.

Readers- your turn. Is there something cool lurking under or around an interstate corridor near you? Post a pic in the comments and tell us what it is. If you love it, but don’t know what it is- ask and ye shall receive the fruits of my research.



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