Timeline

Landmark dates, times and reference points for events and occurrences on the Georgetown Branch. This is very much a work in progress. Last updated 1/25/2017

1800
  • ca 1800: Henry Foxall arrives in DC and builds Columbia Foundry on shore of Potomac by Three Sisters islands.
1814
  • 1814: Columbia Foundry nearly destroyed by British forces during War of 1812.
1833
  • 1833: Construction of the first Aqueduct Bridge across the Potomac in Georgetown begins.
1835
  • 1835: William King & Son Coal is established.
1843
  • 1843: Construction of the first Aqueduct Bridge across the Potomac in Georgetown is completed.
1849
  • ca 1849: Columbia Foundry property auctioned off.
1866
  • 1866: Construction of the B&O’s Metropolitan Branch begins, to connect Washington, DC with the Main Line at Point of Rocks, MD.
1873
  • 1873: B&O’s Metropolitan Branch opens for use.
  • 1873: Hopfenmaier rendering plant in Georgetown at 3300 K St, NW opens.
1875
  • Spring, 1875: Construction on C&O Canal inclined plane near Georgetown begins.
1876
  • Jul 6, 1876: C&O Canal inclined plane near Georgetown approved by Canal Co. board.
1885
  • ca 1885: Construction of Ray’s Warehouse in Georgetown is completed. (1)
1886
  • 1886: Georgetown, U.S. Gov’t purchases Aqueduct bridge and removes old leaky structure, begins constructing new iron Howe truss structure designed by Peter Hains.
  • 1886:  B&O begins double-tracking various sections of the Metropolitan Branch.
1888
  • Apr 11, 1888: Georgetown: New Howe truss bridge opens on site of old Aqueduct bridge.
1889
  • 1889: Flood destroys C&O Canal inclined plane, weakens piers of Aqueduct bridge.
  • ca Feb 6, 1889: DC Commissioners issue permit for construction of Georgetown Barge, Dock and Elevated Ry. Co.
1892
  • 1892: Construction of the “Georgetown Branch” is completed from B&O Metropolitan Branch to Connecticut Avenue.
1893
  • 1893: Double tracking of the Metropolitan Branch from Washington, DC to Gaithersburg, MD is completed.
1903
  • 1903: Two-year project to replace one of the piers of Aqueduct Bridge in Georgetown begins.
1907
  • Sep 29, 1907: Foundation stone laid for Washington National Cathedral
1908
  • 1908: Bridge #21, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1908: Bridge #23, Canal overflow crossing, built
1909
  • 1909: Bridge #4, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #5A, Wisconsin Ave over GB in Bethesda is built.
  • 1909: Bridge #6, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge “new” #7, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #8, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #9, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #11, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #12, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #13, road crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #14, Bridge across Great Falls Conduit (aqueduct) crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #15, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #17, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #18, Crossing Canal Rd. & C&O Canal, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #19, Canal outlet crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #20, Driveway under C&O Canal crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #22, Sewer crossing, built.
  • 1909: Bridge #24, Drain crossing, built.
1910
  • 1910: Construction of Capital Traction Co. power plant in Georgetown begins. (1)
  • 1910: Bridge #5, waterway crossing, built.
  • 1910: Bridge #16, Dalecarlia & Capital Traction tracks crossing, built.
  • ca Jul 28, 1910: The first train on the completed Georgetown Branch enters Georgetown. (4)
1911
  • 1911: Construction of Capital Traction Co. power plant in Georgetown ends. (1)
  • 1911: Capital Traction Power plant beings service (1)
1912
  • 1912: Bethlehem Chapel opens for service at National Cathedral.
1913
  • 1913: Wilkins-Rogers Milling founded, purchase a mill near the Georgetown Waterfront.
1917
  • 1917: Key Bridge construction begins.
1918
  • Feb, 13 1918: Ice floes and flooding in Georgetown damages much of the waterfront, cresting at 16′ above normal on 2/14..
1920s
  • 1920s: Hydroelectric power plant built below Dalecarlia Water Treatment facility with tail race extending to Potomac River.
1923
  • 1923: Georgetown, Francis Scott Key Bridge is completed and opened to traffic.
1924
  • ca Aug 10, 1924: Washington Clay Products brick plant planned at Loughborough, MD. (BetCo block?) (4)
1927
  • 1927: Bridge #18, across C&O Canal, strengthened, new treated deck installed on 103’4″ span.
1928
  • 1928 Bridge #, across Rock Creek, near Chevy Chase is constructed.
  • 1928: Bridge #5-0A, Wisconsin Ave (Rt. 355) over GB in Bethesda is widened.
1933
  • 1933: Capital Traction power plant in Georgetown is shut down. (2)
  • Aug 25, 1933: Bridge #10 across Mass. Av. in Bethesda, MD is put in service.
  • 1933: Georgetown, Iron bridge (Aqueduct bridge) is dismantled by Civil Works Admin. Piers left in place. Stone abutment (arches) kept in place as a landmark.
1936
  • Mar 20, 1936: Flood of 1936 sweeps the Georgetown waterfront, crested 7:00pm 3/19/36. (4)
1943
  • 1943: Capital Traction power plant in Georgetown is decommissioned. (1)
1945
  • Nov 9, 1945: Letter from B&O Freight House employee requesting permission to buy coal locally, indicating diesel engines are being used for switching. (and no longer steam)(3)
1947
  • Jun 1, 1947: Whitehurst Freeway construction begins. (2)
1948
  • Jun 6, 1948: MSME railfan special steam excursion train travels from Eckington to Georgetown. Train consist: B&O Q-1c 4320, 2 passenger cars & 4 cabooses.
1949
  • Oct 8, 1949: Whitehurst Freeway opens to public. (2)
  • Nov 5, 1949: 12-car B&O freight kills man on tracks just below vicinity of Chain Bridge.
1950s
  • 1950s: Georgetown Switcher abolished.
1951
  • Aug 1, 1951: B&O Georgetown Branch brakeman J.H. Rector drowns while shooing children from boathouse near Key Bridge.
1952
  • 1952: Bridge #16A, Pipe bridge for Dalecarlia Filtration Plant, built(?). (*NOTE: Structure retired & removed approx 1954?)
1954
  • Oct 24, 1954: NRHS excursion on the Georgetown Branch. Train consist: B&O GP7 743, 3 passenger cars.
1955
  • Mar 1, 1955: Montgomery County Council agrees to ask B&O RR for feasibility of using Georgetown Branch as a commuter line.
1959
  • 1959: Construction begins on Bridge #5 1/2, GB over Bradley Blvd in Bethesda, MD.
1960
  • 1960: Construction is completed on Bridge #5 1/2, GB over Bradley Blvd in Bethesda, MD.
  • Jan 3, 1960: Last trolley runs on Cabin John line of the Capital Transit. (Service would end system-wide in 1962.)
  • 1960: Bridge #16 at Dalecarlia, partially filled in during construction of Reservoir facilities.
1962
  • 1962: Bridge #9: near Dalecarlia, paved over slab-channel (base below bridge).
  • 1962: Piers of Aqueduct Bridge are blown up by Army Corps of Engineers, except for one near VA side. Rubble re-purposed in Anacostia Park to build a sea wall.
1963
  • 1963: Bridge #9: Paved over stream channel.
1968
  • 1968: Capital Traction power plant in Georgetown is demolished. (1)
1969
  • 1969: Bridge across GB at Rockville/Brookeville Tpk/Linden, MD is constructed. (3)
1971
  • 1971: DC purchases Hopfenmaier rendering plant for $707k and tears it down. (4)
1972
  • Jun, 1972: Hurricane Agnes. Georgetown Branch is damaged, including destruction of bridge across Rock Creek and flooding in Georgetown.
1974
  • 1974: Wilkins-Rogers Milling moves operation from Georgetown to Ellicott City, MD. (4)
1976
  • Jun 18, 1976: Historic Best Friend of Charleston loco and two-car train is run on the Georgetown Branch by the Southern RR, originating near the Aqueduct bridge arch.
1978
  • Nov 20, 1978: Bridge #5 filled in, left in place.
  • Nov 21, 1978: Bridge #15 mostly filled in, open 3-4′ at top of arch. 7′ dia R.C. pipe placed through arch.
1981
  • 1981: The Smithsonian Institution operates the 1831 John Bull locomotive on the GB from Georgetown, over the C&O Canal and back.
1985
  • Sep 15, 1985: Chessie seeks abandonment of the Georgetown Branch from ICC.
  • 1985: The last train runs on the Georgetown Branch, a Chessie loco clearing the line of all rolling stock.
1986
  • Apr 9, 1986: B&O files for abandonment of the Georgetown Branch.
1988
  • Feb 25, 1988: ICC Issues tentative agreement to the B&O for abandonment of the Georgetown Branch.
  • Dec 12, 1988: ICC approves purchase & transfer of Georgetown Branch to Montgomery County for use as hiker-biker trail.
  • Dec 16, 1988: B&O conveys entire deed of the Georgetown Branch to Montgomery County for $10mm.
1990
  • Dec, 1990: Whitehurst Freeway rehabilitation project begins. (2)
1991
  • 1991: Whitehurst Freeway rehabilitation project nearing 40% completion (2)

OTHER NOTES
1960: Revised Canadian National (CN) logo is adopted.

REFERENCES
  1. Historic Structures: http://www.historic-structures.com
  2. Wikipedia: http://www.wikipedia.com
  3. B&O RR Historical Society
  4. Washington Post
  5. B&ORRHS Yahoo Group. (*see “GB Notes”)
LINKS
HABS HAER Capital Traction Power House http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/dc0047/

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