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South East Wales
The lords of Tidenham owned passage rights from the 12th to the 19th century and built stone piers in 1825.
The railways caused the demise of the ferries but they restarted in 1926 to cater for the boom in motor traffic.
Tim Ryan remembers how school children would rush to the river to glimpse stars like the Beatles and Tom Jones until the Severn Bridge opened in 1966.
Tim Ryan remembers the days of the old River Severn ferries near Chepstow
Bob Dylan was captured waiting at the Aust terminal in May 1966 by his official tour photographer Barry Feinstein in one of the most famous rock images ever.
It was a pivotal moment in Dylan's career - he'd just begun a UK tour in which he was controversially moving from folk to rock.
He was waiting to catch the ferry en route to a gig at Cardiff's Capitol Theatre, having been booed at the Colston Hall in Bristol the previous night for playing electric guitar.
A week later Dylan would famously be branded "Judas" by a disgruntled folk fan at Manchester's Free Trade Hall.
The times were also changing for the Severn ferries - barely visible in the background of Feinstein's photograph is the almost-completed Severn Bridge, which opened three months later in September 1966.
The bridge caused the ferries' demise, but they are still fondly remembered - especially by enthusiasts devoted to preserving the remaining vessels.
I am now a grumpy old man and proud of it. However I was once young and carefree and I like a few other people writing about the ferries. I was the same as a few of your writers a resident at Sedbury Park School becoming school captain in my last three years there. As a result I had more privileges than most of the boys. My biggest privilege was to go down to the ferry at Beachley on a Saturday and Sunday and work. This was a period in my life that shaped my future. I remember the Bristol Brabazon flying overhead and the Bristol Britannia crash landing on the mudflats on the Bristol side of the river. I think the pilot's name was Bill Pegg. Anyway working the ferries was great as were the crews.
Eric Pugh from Hay-on-Wye
My Mum and Dad together with my then future wife and myself took a car trip down to Tintern in 1963. We visited the ferry site at Beachley and I took some 8mm film of the trip including the ferry loading and unloading.
Henry Barrow, Caerphilly
My one abiding memory of the ferry is from 1953. My cousin, George James, was much older than me and owned a brand new Jaguar. He took me and another cousin to Southampton to see the Spithead Review. Coming off the ferry on the English side, probably showing off a bit, he 'bottomed' the car. I can still hear it now. The exhaust was a bit noisy all the way to our destination and probably cost him a few bob to get fixed. I know he was much more circumspect getting on and off the ferry coming home.
Bill Price, Tredegar
I was in Sedbury Park approved school 1954-55. They used to send me down to work on the ferry pier, Aust and Beachley side. The two ferries were Severn King and Severn Queen. I used to enjoy working down there and meeting different people.
Les Davies, Abercynon
I too was in Sedbury Park School, and worked on the quayside catching rope ferrymen threw over the side to attach around an iron buoy so the ferry would not get pulled back out. I had 14 shillings (70p) on a Saturday 1959/64.
Richard Jones, Torfaen
When I was in Sedbury Park approved school during 1960 to 1963, I was occasionally sent down the ferry to work as a pier boy. I still remember those days, and will never forget captain Ben Brown of the Severn Queen. I have included those times in a book that I have written.
Gary Watkins, Undy
Ben Brown was my dad and I always remember him telling me stories about his days on the ferries. I am just sad that he never lived to tell them to my boys.
Ben Brown and Wesley Banfield will go down in memory as two lovely and kind people who brought pleasure and honesty to everyone they met on trips across the Severn on the ferry.
Paul Maher, Edinburgh
I lived in Bristol in the late 60s early 70s. As a youngster we used to play in the derelict ferry terminal and all along the pier. Amazing to see that some of it is still standing!
Reg Woolley Nuneaton ex Port Talbot
I have some place the last year's timetable from the Aust Ferry. I guess it's worth a lot now. I can remember as a four-year-old going over in its last year. I asked my mum and dad for my wellies as I thought I was going to have to paddle over!
Peter Harrison, Gloucester
I lived near Bristol and as a 17 year old in 1958 my first job was in Barry. I used the Aust ferry every week with my motorbike and I almost always got straight on as when they finished loading the cars. The bikes and motor cycles were squeezed in between them. It was a long, cold journey around Gloucester if I missed the boat, but in those days you could put a motorbike in the goods van and travel by train from Pilning to Severn Tunnel Junction. I always preferred the excitement of the ferry!
Ronald Jones, Folkestone, Kent
During the war, I was evacuated to Aberystwyth. I was only 12 years old and I was sent to Sedbury Park approved school, not for anything serious, just for sagging school. Reaching the age of 14 I was allowed to work on the ferries at Beachley. I was the pier boy, and sometimes I went as deck boy. I am 76 years old now and I have some wonderful memories of the Severn Queen and the Severn King.
Mick Smith, Wexford, Ireland
I lived in Bristol as a child and my grandparents frequently took me and my sister down to what remained of the old ferry pier. It's always been my favourite place and when I eventually asked my wife to marry me that's where I did it!
Huw Rees from Cwmtwrch
Used to go on holidays to Cornwall in the late 50s and early 60s. It was far more exciting using the Aust ferry than having to go to Gloucester and then down to Cornwall. What memories.
My parents lived in Chepstow and, when I was stationed in Warminster, I used to use the ferry in both directions at the weekend. The skippers were Bill Groves, Ben Brown and Mr Palmer whose Christian name I cannot recall. Ron Blight ran the ticket office. Queues in the summer could stretch back as far as the beach where the William Ashburner was beached.
Brian Powell, Hampshire
Being born in Sedbury, I remember very well the ferries leaving Beachley for Aust. I was also an apprentice at the apprentices school for 3 years. It's amazing more cars did not roll into the Severn.
Steve Durnell, Port Talbot
I remember going to Bristol Zoo in the mid-60s and it was an all day adventure. A 1956 Vauxhall Velox (SGW 52) that would break down at least three times en route (both ways!), watching the deckhands pulling the turntable around, stopping at Sylvia's in Llanmartin on the way, Tizer pop, dad doing his nut! Mam being Mam (a diamond!) and home very late hoping for the day off from school tomorrow because Mam would miss the alarm!
My family 'Whitchurch' worked on the Beachley Aust Ferry in 1854. John Whitchurch was a boat man and Robert Thomas was a waterman. Has anyone any information on this?
Colin Chapman, Hinckley
Re Ann Rees's query: The Beachley-Aust ferry was lost with all hands on 1 September 1839: including Captain Whitchurch and his son William aged 17. The same thing happended on 12 March 1844, the master, James Whitchurch was the son of the captain lost in 1839. A third loss occurred on 30 April 1855 but I have no details of crew. In all three cases the boat was named the "Despatch".
Neil Whitchurch, Hereford
My family worked on the ferry in the 1800s and early 1900s. Captain Whitchurch referred to by Colin Chapman is almost certainly my great, great, great, great grandfather, William, who died in 1839, aged 49, and was buried at Aust Chapel. I travelled down to the Pier about 10 years ago just to have a look.
I live on Beachley Pier - I worked as pier boy at Aust and Beachley until I went to sea in 1958 at 16.
Stephen Morgan, Uley, Gloucestershire
I was nine when I first was introduced to the Severn Queen. My father had bought her when she was put out of service to use as a crew rig for the demolition of the Severn Rail Bridge back in 1969. I have photos of me steering her down the canal from Gloucester Docks. I still have vivid memories of this whole event especially being captain for a brief moment in this vessel's history. I believe she was beached and destroyed as the tide went out during the demolition of the bridge.
Rob Western from Middlesbrough
From about 1958 to 1962 I often cycled from Henbury, Bristol to Lydney and back on a Sunday to visit relatives. The trip took in the Aust ferry, exciting to us boys watching cars slip and slide and the vagaries of high and low tide. If it was very windy we would get thoroughly soaked at the bow of the 'Severn Queen' or 'Severn Princess' and would eat sandwiches and throw bits of bread into the river to see the speed of the tide.
Dorian Willliams, Santa Rosa, California, USA
At 15 years of age living in St Briavels during 1941, some Sundays I'd cycle to Hotwells in Bristol via Beachley Ferry. I well remember after being so hot from cycling waiting for the ferry and being chilled, thin shirt etc. The whole voyage I really felt the cold. At the middle of the channel the distance to either shore seemed to me to be further than the distance of the entire stretch viewed from the shore. Incidentally one morning I saw the 'England's Glory' ship steaming down the Channel. What a wonderful sight.
Mike Saunders, Colchester, Essex
As a small boy staying with my grandfather Reg Saunders, late of Hanbury garage Chepstow, I would travel to Beachley Point. After a soft drink and a bun at the ferry crossing point cafe I would travel back on forth all day - very fond memories of the Severn ferries.
Carol Adkinson (nee Ward) now in Suffolk
I was born in Bulwark, near Chepstow, and the bus ride to Beachley used to be one of the highlights of our leisure time when I was little. I can remember watching the ferries, and the trip across and back over the river was excitement indeed. But - even more exciting was watching the cars come off the ferries. They were positioned on a round, pulled with ropes to move the whole thing so the car pointed towards the ramp, then had to drive off. Many times we saw cars kangaroo across the jetty, and hang perilously over the side of the jetty! When the tide was in, this was even more hazardous! What fun for small children - perhaps not so much fun for those affected! I can also remember the picnics we had where the pylons now are. And the time my sister Linda and I were 'rescued' by lads from the Beachley Apprentices' School when we were down on the foreshore, and carried up to 'safety'. What a wonderful childhood we had - and I do hope my children have such happy memories of holidays in Wales, as we had living there.
Mike Jones, Melbourne, Australia
My father used to look after the three ferries and their engines. As a boy, on weekends and school holidays I would spend all day going back and forwards across the river with Ben Brown skipper of the Severn Queen. They were great days.
Mike Lewis, Callington
I remember making the crossing on my BSA 350cc motor bike in 1965. The "big end" had gone in the engine between Plymouth and Llantrisant. I had a school chum on the back and we had to push the bike off the ferry on the far side and up the wet slippery ramp. We fell over twice before eventually getting to the top. I made it, just, to relatives in Llantrisant and had to bring the bike back by train. What a journey!
Jackie Evans, West Midlands
I used to be terrified of going on the ferry because I always thought that we would sink! I used to pray that they would be called off because of the weather and that we would have to drive the long way around Chepstow!
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.
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River Severn, Welsh Hafren, Britain’s longest river from source to tidal waters—about 180 miles (290 km) long, with the Severn estuary adding some 40 miles (64 km) to its total length. The Severn rises near the River Wye on the northeastern slopes of Plynlimon (Welsh: Pumlumon), Wales, and follows a semicircular course basically southward to the Bristol Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. It drains an area of 4,350 square miles (11,266 square km) with an average discharge at Bewdley of 2,170 cubic feet (61.5 cubic metres) per second.
The river’s course is at first southeasterly, descending from an elevation of 2,000 feet (600 metres) at its source to 500 feet (150 metres) at the Welsh town of Llanidloes. There it turns sharply northeastward, following the Vale of Powys past Newtown and Welshpool. At Llanymynech the River Vyrnwy joins the Severn: the tributary headwaters are dammed to form the reservoir of Lake Vyrnwy, supplying Liverpool with drinking water. The enlarged Severn turns eastward over a plain on which it loops around the old town of Shrewsbury. Originally the river continued eastward to join the River Dee (which originates in North Wales and drains northward to the Irish Sea), but its course was blocked by ice during the Pleistocene Epoch, and its waters escaped to the southeast at Ironbridge. This course was maintained after deglaciation. The swiftly flowing current through the gorge at Ironbridge was important to the early iron industry of Coalbrookdale. Continuing southward, the Severn receives the River Stour at Stourport and passes through Worcester, where the cathedral stands on a cliff rising from the river’s steep left bank. The River Teme enters from the west below Worcester and the Avon from the northeast at Tewkesbury, a yachting and motorboat centre. At Gloucester the Severn becomes tidal and meanders to the sea. Navigation is difficult on this section and is bypassed by a ship canal (opened 1827), which leaves the estuary at Sharpness. Other canals that join the river, linking it with the Midlands region of England and with the River Thames, are virtually disused.
The estuary widens gradually between South Wales and Somerset and eventually becomes the Bristol Channel. Since the destruction of the railway bridge between Sharpness and Lydney in the late 1960s, rail traffic has been serviced by the Severn Tunnel, 15 miles (24 km) farther downstream. The Severn Bridge, an impressive suspension bridge with a 3,240-foot (990-metre) main span, was built in the 1960s and forms part of a motorway link (M48) from London to South Wales. An increase in automobile traffic led to construction of the 1,500-foot (456-metre) Second Severn Crossing (renamed the Prince of Wales Bridge in 2018), which opened in 1996 and carries the M4 motorway. The atomic power station (opened 1962) on the flats at Berkeley uses Severn water for cooling purposes. The Severn’s estuary has a notable tidal bore—i.e., a wave caused by the incoming tide.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Manager, Geography and History.
The Wash makes a large indentation in the coastline of Eastern England that separates the curved coast of East Anglia from Lincolnshire. It is a large bay with three roughly straight sides meeting at right angles, each about 15 miles (25 km) in length. The eastern coast of the Wash is entirely within Norfolk, and extends from a point a little north of Hunstanton in the north to the mouth of the River Great Ouse at King's Lynn in the south. The opposing coast, which is roughly parallel to the east coast, runs from Gibraltar Point to the mouth of the River Welland, all within Lincolnshire. The southern coast runs roughly north-west to south-east, connecting these two river mouths and is punctuated by the mouth of a third river, the River Nene.
Inland from the Wash the land is flat, low-lying and often marshy: these are the Fens of Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. To the east is the North Sea.
Owing to deposits of sediment and land reclamation, the coastline of the Wash has altered markedly within historical times. Several towns once on the coast of the Wash (notably King's Lynn) are now some distance inland. Much of the Wash itself is very shallow, with several large sandbanks, such as Breast Sand, Bulldog Sand, Roger Sand and Old South Sand, which are exposed at low tide, especially along the south coast. For this reason, navigation in the Wash can be hazardous. 
Two commercial shipping lane channels lead inland from The Wash, the River Nene leading to Port Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire and further inland to the Port of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, and the River Great Ouse leading to King's Lynn Docks in Norfolk. Both shipping lanes have their own maritime pilot stations to guide and navigate incoming and outgoing cargo ships in The Wash.
A re-survey of the coastline of The Wash carried out by The Ordnance Survey in 2011 revealed that an estimated additional 3,000 acres (12 km 2 ) on its coastline had been created by accretion since previous surveys between 1960 and 1980.
The Wash varies enormously in water temperature throughout the year. Winter temperatures are brought near freezing from the cold North Sea flows. Summer water temperatures can reach 20–23 °C (68–73 °F) after prolonged high ambient air temperature and sun. This effect, which typically happens in the shallow areas around beaches and often only in pockets of water, is exaggerated by the large sheltered tidal reach.
At the end of the latest glaciation, and while the sea level remained lower than it is today, the rivers Witham, Welland, Glen, Nene and Great Ouse joined into a large river.
The deep valley of the Wash was formed, not by an interglacial river, but by ice of the Wolstonian and Devensian stages flowing southwards up the slope represented by the modern coast and forming tunnel valleys, of which the Silver Pit is one of many. This process gave the Silver Pit its depth and narrowness. When the tunnel valley was free of ice and seawater, it was occupied by the river. This kept it free of sediment, unlike most tunnel valleys. Since the sea flooded it, the valley seems to have been kept open by tidal action. During the Ipswichian Stage, the Wash River probably flowed by way of the site of the Silver Pit, but the tunnel valley would not have been formed at this stage, as its alignment seems inconsistent.
The Wash is made up of extensive salt marshes, major inter-tidal banks of sand and mud, shallow waters and deep channels. As understanding of the importance of the natural marshes has increased in the 21st century, the seawall at Freiston has been breached in three places to increase the salt-marsh area, to provide extra habitat for birds, particularly waders, and as a natural flood-prevention measure. The extensive creeks in the salt marsh and the vegetation that grows there help to dissipate wave energy, so enhancing the protection afforded to land behind the salt marsh. This is an example of the recent exploration of the possibilities of sustainable coastal management by adopting soft engineering techniques, rather than with dykes and drainage. The same scheme includes new brackish lagoon habitat.
On the eastern side of the Wash, low chalk cliffs, with a noted stratum of red chalk, are found at Hunstanton. The gravel pits (lagoons) found at Snettisham RSPB reserve are an important roost for waders at high tide. This Special Protection Area (SPA) borders onto the North Norfolk Coast Special Protection Area. To the north-west, the Wash extends to Gibraltar Point, another SPA.
The partly confined nature of the Wash habitats, combined with ample tidal flows, allows shellfish to breed, especially shrimp, cockles and mussels. Some water birds such as oystercatchers feed on shellfish. It is also a breeding area for common tern, and a feeding area for marsh harriers. Migrating birds such as geese, duck and wading birds come to the Wash in large numbers to spend the winter, with an average total of around 400,000 birds present at any one time.  It has been estimated that some two million birds a year use the Wash for feeding and roosting during their annual migrations.
In Roman Britain, embankments were built around the Wash's margins to protect agricultural land from flooding. However, they fell into disrepair after the Roman withdrawal in AD 407.
From 865 to sometime around 1066, the Wash was used by the Vikings as a major route to invade East Anglia and Middle England. Danes established themselves in Cambridge in 875. Before the 12th century, when drainage and embankment efforts led by monks began to separate the land from the estuarine mudflats, the Wash was a tidal part of The Fens that reached as far as Cambridge and Peterborough.
Local people put up fierce resistance against the Normans for some time after the 1066 Conquest.
The name Wash may have been derived from Old English wāse 'mud, slime, ooze'. The word Wasche is mentioned in the popular dictionary Promptorium parvulorum (about 1440) as a water or a ford (vadum). A chronicle tells us that King Edward VI passed the Wasshes as he visited the town of King's Lynn in 1548. By then, documents began to refer to the Waashe or Wysche, but only for the tidal sands and shoals of the rivers Welland and Nene. 16th-century scholars identified the Wash as the Æstuarium Metuonis ("The Reaping/Mowing/Cutting-Off Estuary") mentioned by Ptolemy in Roman times. They claimed this word was still in occasional use. William Camden characterized The Washes as "a very large arme" of the "German Ocean" (the North Sea), "at every tide and high sea covered all with water, but when the sea ebbeth, and the tide is past, a man may pass over it as on dry land, but yet not without danger", as King John learned not without his loss (see below). Inspired by Camden's account, William Shakespeare mentioned the Lincolne-Washes in his stage play King John (1616). During the 17th and 18th centuries the name Wash came to be used for the estuary itself.
Drainage and reclamation works around the Wash continued until the 1970s. Large areas of salt marsh were progressively enclosed by banks and converted to agricultural land. The Wash is now surrounded by artificial sea defences on all three landward sides. In the 1970s, two large circular banks were built in the Terrington Marsh area of the Wash, as part of an abortive attempt to turn the entire estuary into a fresh water reservoir. The plan failed, not least because the banks were built using mud dredged from the salt marsh, which salinated fresh water stored there.
Hanseatic League Edit
From 13th century the market town and seaport of Bishop's Lynn became the first member trading depot (Kontor) in the Kingdom of England of the Hanseatic League of ports. During the 14th century, Lynn ranked as the most important port in England, when sea trade with Europe was dominated by the League. It still retains two medieval Hanseatic League warehouses: Hanse House built in 1475 and Marriott's Warehouse.
King John and his jewels Edit
King John of England is said to have lost some of his jewels at the Wash in 1216.  According to contemporary reports, John travelled from Spalding, Lincolnshire, to Bishop's Lynn, Norfolk, but was taken ill and decided to return. While he took the longer route by way of Wisbech, he sent his baggage train along the causeway and ford across the mouth of the Wellstream, a route usable only at low tide. In his case the horse-drawn wagons moved too slowly for the incoming tide and many were lost.  However, scholars cannot agree on whether the king's jewels were inside the baggage train,  as there is evidence that his regalia were intact after the journey. 
The accident was said to have occurred somewhere near Sutton Bridge on the River Nene. The name of the river changed as a result of redirection of the Great Ouse in the 17th century. Bishop's Lynn was renamed as King's Lynn in the 16th century as a result of King Henry VIII's establishment of the Church of England.
John may have left his jewels in Lynn as security for a loan and arranged for their "loss". But that is considered an apocryphal account. He was recorded as staying the following night, 12–13 October 1216, at Swineshead Abbey, moving on to Newark-on-Trent, and dying of his illness on 19 October. 
A Ministry of Defence weapons Range Danger Area is located along a small region of The Wash coastline, reserved for Royal Air Force, Army Air Corps and NATO-allied bombing and air weapons training – RAF Holbeach, active since 1926, was historically originally part of the former RAF Sutton Bridge station. Another air-weapons training range located on The Wash – RAF Wainfleet, operating since 1938 – was decommissioned in 2010.
Sailing from out of the South Lincolnshire Fens into the Wash (especially for shell-fishing) is traditionally known locally as "going down below". The origin of the phrase is unknown. 
St Botolph's, the parish church of Boston (nicknamed the Boston Stump) is a Lincolnshire landmark. It can be seen on clear days from the Norfolk side of the Wash. The Outer Trial Bank, a remnant of a 1970s experiment, lies some 2 miles (3.2 km) off the Lincolnshire coast near the River Nene.
In 1934 a proposal was made, supported by racing driver Malcolm Campbell, to build a 15-mile-long (24 km) race track on reclaimed land from Boston to Gibraltar Point, near Skegness. It would have been used as a road to Skegness when there was no racing. There was also to be a long lake for boat racing inside the track loop. The financial straits in the 1930s prevented the project from proceeding.
The Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad was chartered in 1880, by a group of New England promoters as the Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line and began running in March 1887.  This freight and passenger line was an integral link between Annapolis and Baltimore, transporting almost two million passengers per year until competition from nearby highways forced the railroads' closure.  It was the second railroad to serve Annapolis and provided a faster connection to Baltimore, taking a more direct path along the north shore of the Severn River and then crossing the river into Annapolis. The railroad transformed the once-secluded banks of the Severn to a series of suburban communities. 
The railroad started as a steam powered line running from Bladen Street in Annapolis, crossing the wide Severn River estuary on a long timber trestle, and on to Clifford on the B&O line, where it used the B&O tracks to terminate at Camden Station in Baltimore. Because the A&B Short Line created an almost straight line southeast from Baltimore it snatched much of the Baltimore-Annapolis trade away from the Annapolis, Washington & Baltimore Railroad on which passengers had to change trains at Annapolis Junction. 
At some point prior to 1892, a small connecting line was built between the A&B and the AW&B at the Bay Ridge Junction wye where the AW&B met the Annapolis and Bay Ridge Railroad.
Business was slim in the early years, and in 1893 the railroad was sold to George Burnham Jr. and reorganized as the Baltimore & Annapolis Short Line the next year. Universally it was called simply “The Annapolis Short Line.” 
The line was electrified in 1908, and changed its name to the Maryland Electric Railways Company, providing clean, comfortable, faster, and more frequent service.  Unlike most electric railways of its time, which employed a low voltage Direct Current electrification, the line installed a 6,600 volt, 25 cycle, single phase Alternating Current electrification system newly developed by the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company. The pioneering AC system was less than fully successful, however, and in 1914, new owners switched to DC.  When it did, the B&O was wary of a high-voltage overhead line over its tracks between the Clifford interchange and Camden Station. (Both the WB&A and Short Line then used 3300v AC) So the B&O built a new line for the Short Line between Cliffords and its mainline at Russell Street, paralleling the South Baltimore branch through Westport. This line ran immediately west/south of the Curtis Bay and South Baltimore branches, passing under the Curtis Bay branch along the way.
During its heyday, the years between 1918 and the late 1920s, the B&A transported as many as 1,750,000 passengers per year between Baltimore and Annapolis. Trains left every hour from 6 am through 11 pm (during rush hours, the trains left every 30 minutes).  Because of its strong performance, the neighboring WB&A bought the Annapolis Short Line in 1921  and it became part of the WB&A system in which it was called the North Shore Line. Afterward, Short Line trains were routed over the WB&A between Linthicum and the WB&A's new Baltimore terminal at the corner of Howard & Lombard Streets, now the site of a Holiday Inn.  At the same time, most of the old Short Line track between Linthicum and Westport was abandoned, except for a section between Baltimore Highlands and the B&O Cliffords interchange which was kept to handle freight to and from the B&O. The "new" (B&O-built) Annapolis Short Line ROW between Cliffords and Westport was also retained for freight interchange, though this segment was later abandoned in 1979
Emergence from Bankruptcy Edit
Gross receipts for the WB&A began to decline almost as soon as it bought the B&A in 1921. For the next decade the WB&A only survived because of a law exempting it from taxes. In January 1931, the extension of the law failed to pass by one vote and the line went into receivership.  The line remained in operation for four more years until it officially ceased on August 20, 1935. The WB&A was sold at public auction with scrap dealers buying most of the rolling stock. The right-of-way and some equipment were bought by the Bondholders Protective Society who then formed the Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad Company. This company negotiated an agreement with the B&O to use Camden Station as its Baltimore terminal. The new company took over on August 21, 1935 for continuous operation.  The company also entered the motor bus business, later serving Fort Meade from both Baltimore and Annapolis, plus other points not reached by its rails. 
World War II Edit
With the start of World War II and gas rationing, the B&A often ran with all available equipment in service. At semester breaks, holidays and graduation times the trains were packed with midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, and the B&O ran steam trains to pick up teams and supporters to transport them to Philadelphia for the Army-Navy games. The B&A typically ran 5- and 6-car trains between Baltimore and Glen Burnie, with 3-cars continuing on the additional 20 miles (32 km) to Annapolis. 
End of the Line Edit
Following World War II, gasoline and cars came back. By 1949, the B&A offered scheduled commuter bus service between Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Annapolis, along with its passenger rail service, and reported an operating deficit of $100,000 on an annualized basis.  A proposal for the line to be acquired by the B&O Railroad for freight service was discarded when the B&O's studies concluded it would require $1.35 million in infrastructure improvements to bring it up to Class 1 railroad standards.  By June, 1949, the developer of a new housing community near Glen Burnie complained in Architectural Forum magazine that the rumored discontinuation of "rail rapid transit" was adversely affecting sales to buyers, "who don't want to ride busses on congested streets". 
At a hearing in November 1949, the Maryland Public Service Commission reported "The rails are worn and would have to be replaced if passenger service is continued the cars and trains are antiquated, decrepit, and unattractive means of travel schedules are slow, and there is no inducement, save that of necessity, for anyone to travel the area by rail. While not yet dead, it is moribund”. The B&A substituted buses for rail service on February 5, 1950, the B&A Short Line made its final passenger run.  The electric wires were removed, but the railroad remained intact for diesel-operated freight service.  The B&A purchased a diesel that remained in freight service to Annapolis until June 1968 when the Severn River Trestle was embargoed.
The freight was now terminated at Jones Station where Annapolis Lumber and Supply Company sent trucks to collect freight. At this time, the Naval Academy converted their power and heating systems from coal to oil. By the early 1970s, all that remained in service was a six-mile (10 km) stub to Glen Burnie. The remaining B&A rail freight service ended in 1986. 
The Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad's public bus system was absorbed by Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) in 1973 as Route 14. The company continued as a charter bus service using motorcoaches into the mid-1980s, but eventually ceased service. 
In 1981, Anne Arundel County purchased a section of the 66-foot (20 m) wide right of way from Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie to the north shore of the Severn River for the purpose of creating the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail and park.  The remaining line north of Glen Burnie was shut down in the early 1980s and sold to the State of Maryland in 1991 to serve as the southern leg of the light rail system.  In 1986, B&A number 50 was donated to the B&O Railroad Museum. 
In 1990, the southern portion of the right-of-way was reborn as the Baltimore & Annapolis Rail Trail. In June 1993, light rail began running on the northern portion between Baltimore and Cromwell station in Glen Burnie. 
On February 9, 1995, the Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad Company, by that time merely an entity on paper, filed to acquire and operate approximately 75.9 miles of rail line from the Mid Atlantic Railroad, which operated track between Mullin's, SC and Whiteville NC, and between Chadbourn, NC and Conway, SC.  The filing also noted that the B&A had not owned any rail lines since May 1991, when the state of Maryland took its last right of way through a condemnation proceeding to build a light rail line. This line was operated under the name Carolina Southern Railroad (reporting marks CALA). All public business outside of federal railroad filings were performed under the auspices of the CALA. In June of 2001, the Waccamaw Coast Line Railroad (WCLR), a new division of the B&A, filed to operate 14.1 miles of railroad owned by Horry County, SC between the current terminus of the CALA in Conway, SC and the city of Myrtle Beach, SC where the line ended.  The WCLR had operated under the direct ownership of the county prior to its ownership by the B&A. The right of way continued to be owned by the county and was initially leased to the B&A for a period of 30 years.
Severn Bridge walk
Severn Services (M48 J1) in England, BS35 4BH : 2 hours free parking (not enough time to do the entire walk). Or try BS35 4BG, and walk along the maintainence access road to the bridge.
Thornwell (M48 J2) in Wales, NP16 5GH : free on street parking
It is now free for cars to cross the bridge - the toll has been abolished.
This is an international walk, from England to Wales, over the grade I listed (old, M48) Severn Bridge, with views throughout over the Severn Estuary which divides England and Wales.
The walk is unusual but spectacular, with a motorway on 1 side, and an amazing view on the other. Would be great to break up a long journet to/from South Wales.
The 2.5 mile long River Severn suspension bridge is high over the Severn Estuary. It has walk/cycle paths on either side. Walk out on one side of the bridge, back on the other.
Starting in England, at the Motorway Services, follow the way/cycle path onto the bridge, and walk to Wales. In Wales, follow the steps down, and walk through a tunnel under the motorway, very briefly joining the Wales Coast Path (or turn right, north for Thornwell). Then back up onto the bridge, and walk back to England. Cross over the former toll booth bridge back to the Services and the start.
If you fancy company, there is a Severn Bridge Parkrun every Saturday @ 9am which starts from the Welsh side (but it turns back early as its 5km, not 5 miles)
Severn Bridge services on the England side (not cheap).
The first Severn Estuary crossing was the 1886 Severn rail tunnel on the Paddington - South Wales mainline. It was the world's longest underwater tunnel for over 100 years. From 1924, until the opening of the Severn Bridge, a car shuttle operated. The tunnel has a very corrosive atmosphere with diesel fumes and humidity - the track has to be replaced every 6 years. The tunnel suffers from water infiltration - nearby springs - large pumps have run continuously since it was opened to pump water out.
The 1966 Severn Bridge (this walk's bridge) carried the 4 lane M4 Motorway, and 2 walk/cycle paths. As of Jan-20, it has the world's 43rd longest span (between the towers distance). The motorway has been renamed the M48.
The 1996 Second Severn Crossing (now the Prince of Wales Bridge) carries the 6 lane M4 motorway was built to replace the original which was approaching full capacity, and needed weight limits due to corrosion. It does not have footpaths. Due to its design, it can stay open in windier weather than the original. It is downstream of the first bridge, and has a shorter route.
When the new bridge opened, the M4 motorway was diverted over it. The motorway over the old bridge was renamed the M48. Its usually fairly quiet.
The bridge consists of 4 structures, from west to east: (River) Wye Bridge, Beachley (peninsular) Viaduct, (River) Severn Bridge, Aust Viaduct
The Severn Bridge Services isn't the original building on the cliff edge with a view, but a new inland building closer to the Junction without a view.
The toll over both bridges was removed in 2018
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
You can upload photos to the SWC Group on Flickr (upload your photos) and videos to Youtube. This walk's tags are:
View of the Severan Bridge from the Southeast - History
The following essays summarize and add to the work published in PM 1960, AG 1980, and Reynolds 1996.
Click here for information on how to cite from this text.
Carved in the beginning of the 3rd cent. CE, the large marble plan of Rome (variously referred to as the Severan Marble Plan, the Forma Urbis Romae [FUR], the Pianta Marmorea [PM], or as the Forma Urbis Marmorea [FUM]) depicted in astounding detail the ground plan of all architectural features in the ancient city. The map (measuring ca. 18.10 x 13 meters or ca. 60 x 43 feet) was incised onto marble slabs that hung on a wall of a grand room (aula) in the Templum Pacis in Rome. Time, and the need for marble as a building material, gradually destroyed the Plan. Today, only 1,186 pieces, or 10-15%, of this gargantuan city map exist.
DATE OF THE PLAN
Textual sources tell of a disastrous fire in the Templum Pacis in 192 CE (Cass. Dio 72.24.1-2). Various pieces of evidence suggest that the building was repaired under Septimius Severus (193-211 CE). According to a close study done by L. Cozza, much of the brickwork on the wall on which the Plan was mounted is Severan (PM 1960, p. 177). This date agrees with the absence of any post-Severan monuments on the surviving fragments the letters inscribed on the Plan also comfortably fit this date.
Two pieces of evidence carved onto the Plan itself narrow down the date of its creation to the years between 203 and 211 CE. First, the Septizodium, visible on fragments 8a and 8bde, provides us with a terminus post quem. This monument was built by Septimius Severus in 203 CE (CIL VI, 1032) its presence indicates that the Plan was carved after that date. Second, an inscription on fragment 5abcd provides a terminus ante quem. This inscription mentions Septimius Severus and his son Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla) as co-emperors. This was true between 198 CE, when Caracalla was created Augustus to rule alongside his father, and Feb. 4, 211 CE, when Septimius died.
The commonly favored date of the Plan's creation is therefore 203-211 CE. Perhaps significantly, the inscription on fragment 5a does not mention Septimius' younger son Geta, made Augustus in 209 and assassinated by his brother in 212. This may mean that the Plan was carved before 209 CE, but there may also be other explanations for his absence. G. Carettoni's suggestion that the Plan was created between 205-208 CE, when the office of urban prefect was reorganized by Severus, has not met with wide acceptance (PM 1960, pp. 215-217).
There is an unresolved controversy about whether one or more monumental plans of Rome existed before the Severan map, and what the relationship of the Severan map might have been to any predecessors. For an introduction to the issues, see Reynolds 1996, pp. 53-59, and Steinby 1989, pp. 32-33.
CONSTRUCTING THE PLAN
FUNCTION OF THE PLAN
Most scholars believe that the aula in which the map hung was the office of the urban prefect, and that the map had a utilitarian purpose, functioning either as a locator map or as a cadastral map (recording land ownership) of Rome. They base their arguments on the incredible detail and accuracy of the map, which must have been the result of real land surveys, and on the scale of 1:240 which is the common scale used in Roman map making.
David Reynolds (1997, pp. 115-123), however, has demonstrated that the Plan could not have functioned as a locator map. It was, first of all, too large to be consulted. Someone standing on the floor in front of it would not have been able to make out the details at top, more than 40 feet up the wall. It would furthermore have been useless as such because only a small percentage of its features were labeled with inscriptions to guide the viewer. It finally lacked measurement notations that are common in other known Roman maps. The theory that the map was of cadastral use must also be discarded, according to Reynolds. Unlike the few known Roman cadastral maps of stone, the Severan plan delineated walls with single lines (as opposed to double outlines) and it lacked ownership annotations. Furthermore, despite the astonishing accuracy of the Plan, there are sloppy mistakes in the carving of some of the most prominent public buildings on the map, mistakes that would not have been acceptable if the Plan indeed served the purpose of ownership record, a function for which precision would have been important.
Reynolds convincingly argues (1997, pp. 124-134) that the Severan Marble Plan, rather than serving a utilitarian purpose, was a decorative showpiece. He suggests that there were two Formae Urbis Romae, and that both were kept in the aula of the Templum Pacis, which he agrees functioned as the cadastral record office in Rome. According to Reynolds, one plan was the official cadastral record of Rome. This map would have consisted of sheets of papyrus on which the precise information from a detailed land survey of Rome was recorded on a scale of 1:240, complete with annotations of landownership and measurements. The scrolls would have been easily accessible, readable, and updatable. The other Forma Urbis Romae was the marble plan, whose sole purpose was to decorate a wall in the room that was devoted to the storage and use of the real cadastral records. The marble plan was created by copying the information from the offical records onto the marble slabs.
Reynold's thesis clarifies why the Plan adhered to some map making conventions but dispensed with others. The Plan was detailed, accurate, and of a common scale because it was copied from cadastral records that were based on precise surveys of the city of Rome. However, because the map was decorative only, and would not be consulted for detailed and accurate information, carving mistakes were allowed to stand, and measurements and annotations were left out because such information was unneccessary. Such detailed script would have been unreadable from a distance anyways, and it would have made the delicate web of carving seem complicated and cramped. Only a few of the major public monuments were made to stand out with with large inscriptions and doubly outlined walls. These perhaps served as orienting indicators for anybody trying to single out, from a distance, well-known features on the large marble map.
10 Really Ancient Bridges That Are Still Being Used Up to This Day
Ancient structures such as The Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and even the Pyramids of Giza are more than just tourist destinations – they are living proof of the colorful history that we have. But what about ancient structures that have been built hundreds of years ago that aren’t exactly places where tourists would flock to see but are still being used today?
Early bridges aren’t exactly tourist destinations, yet they happen to maintain their original use. Built to last, these structures have stood the test of time and the wear and tear that accompanies it, and have helped build communities and save lives as it survived hundreds of years.
Let us look at a few examples:
10. Pons Fabricius
Built by Lucius Fabricius in 62 BC, the Pons Fabricius is one of best Roman structures that will show you the unmatched building techniques of the Romans even after thousands of years.
9. Ponte Vecchio
Found in Florence, Italy, the Ponte Vecchio bridge was built in 1345. It was constructed to replace an old, wooden bridge that didn’t stand floods. Ponte Vecchio contained an arcade of shops that is still used up to this day.
8. Ponte di Rialto
Built in 191, the Ponte di Rialto was constructed to replace an old wooden one by Antonio da Ponte. He had stiff competition in master artists Michelangelo and Palladio. The bridge was both praised and criticized because people felt it was “top-heavy and ungraceful” just like the Eiffel Tower.
7. Khaju Bridge
Shah Abbas II had the Khaju Bridge constructed on top of one another. It was used to act as a dam and allowed people to cross the Zayandeh River. However, the main use of this bridge was for socials. To this day, the Khaju has quite an impressive array of magnificent paintings and tiles and a pavilion was built in the middle to appreciate the scenery. Now, the pavilion is used as a tea house and art gallery.
6. Shaharah Bridge
The Shaharah Bridge is found in the country of Yemen and is also called the “Bridge of Sighs.” It was built in the 17th century for the main purpose of connecting the mountains of Jabal al Emir and Jabal al Faish. Shaharah Bridge spans a 650-feet canyon.
5. Cendere Bridge
Also known as the Severan Bridge, the Cendere Bridge was built in the second century by four Kommagenean cities in Turkey with the objective to honor the Roman emperor Septimus Severus and his family. It holds the title as the second longest arched bridge that was built by the Romans.
4. Anji Bridge
Built in 605 AD, the Anji Bridge or the Zhaozhao Bridge is the oldest one in China. The name of the bridge is translated as “Safe Crossing Bridge.” When it was constructed, it was considered as technically advanced as it had the largest arc. The Anji Bridge has received numerous recognitions from different award giving bodies.
3. Ponte Sant’Angelo
Also known as the Bridge of the Holy Angel, Ponte Sant’Angelo was built in 136 AD by Emperor Hadrian. It is one of the most famous bridges in Rome because of its beauty.
2. Tarr Steps
It is hard to tell when the Tarr Steps was built, but there are guesses that it could have been between 3000 BC to the medieval times. The Tarr Steps is an example of a clapper bridge, a type of bridge that is made out of rocks that rest atop each other. There is an urban legend that this bridge was built by the devil.
1. Arkadiko Bridge
Located in Greece, the Arkadiko bridge is the oldest surviving arch bridge that is still being used to this day. The bridge is said to have been built in the Greek Bronze Age and is made purely of limestone boulders with no bonding agent. Arkadiko Bridge was part of a military road system back then.
Photo Galleries and Videos: Hamlet Bridge
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The Early History of the Fort Knox Area
The initial Euro-American entry into the Fort Knox area is uncertain, but by the last quarter of the 18th century, numerous hunters, surveyors, explorers and fortune seekers had traversed that part of Kentucky. By that time, such well-known pioneers as Thomas Bullitt, Michael Stoner, and Daniel and Squire Boone had been active in the area.
The earliest known attempt to settle this area took place in July 1776, when a group known as Share, Sweeney and company, led by Samuel Pearman, traveled by flatboat to the mouth of the Salt River. Pearman and his companions laid claim to several thousand acres along the Ohio and Salt rivers. They built a small log cabin at the junction of the Salt and Rolling Fork rivers, but numerous Indian attacks forced them to retreat to Virginia. Settlement attempts were not abandoned, however, and the next few years saw continued efforts to establish permanent settlements.
Louisville was surveyed as early as 1773, but no settlement took place there until 1778, when an encampment was built on Corn Island in the Ohio River. By the following year, the salt licks to the south of Louisville were being exploited. The earliest and most important of these was Bullitt’s Lick (also known as Saltsburg), which was near the northeastern boundary of Fort Knox.
In that same year, Brashear’s Station (also known as Froman’s Station and Salt River Garrison) was established just below the mouth of Floyd’s Fork. Continued Indian raids forced the closing of the salt works. By 1780 it was once again in operation, this time defended by the Mud Garrison, constructed of a double row of piles filled with dirt and gravel, and located on the north bank of the Salt River about 1/2 mile above the mouth of Bullitt’s Lick Run. This renewed attempt at settlement was joined by the establishment of Dowdall’s Station, on the north bank of Salt River at a pool just above the river’s falls (near present-day Shepherdsville).
Meanwhile, efforts were being made further west to establish permanent settlements.
John Severns, a surveyor, had entered the country and established a homestead in an area later known as Severn’s Valley. A large party of settlers including Jacob Van Meter, Samuel Haycraft and Capt. John Vertrees joined him later in that year. Although many of the settlers returned home to Pennsylvania following an extremely severe winter, Haycraft and Col. Andrew Haynes stayed to build stations in the valley. Capt. Thomas Helm, who also built a station, later joined them. These three stations or forts formed a triangle, the interior of which later became Elizabethtown.
A portion of the major road known as the Cumberland-Ohio Falls Trail developed between the Severn’s Valley settlement (present-day Elizabethtown) and Louisville via Bullitt’s Lick. An optional course north of Severn’s Valley led to the mouth of the Salt River, following roughly the route of the present-day Dixie Highway. These roads, along with the Salt and Rolling Fork rivers, provided major avenues of transportation and helped open the area for further settlement. They also provided paths through the Muldraugh Escarpment, a previous deterrent to travel.
Squire Boone claimed title to the land around Doe Run in 1786. The community that sprang up in this area was known as Little York, Virginia, as Kentucky was still a county of Virginia. Little York became the county seat of Meade County for a short period.
Other settlements were established in Hill Grove, Stith’s Valley and along Doe Run and Otter Creek around 1784. These settlements were small, fortified family establishments. By 1789, and into the 1790s, Revolutionary War veterans with military land grants settled the West Point area. Among these early settlers were Thomas and Samuel Pearman, Henry Ditto, George Ball, Isaac Vertrees, Joseph Enlan, William Withers, John Hay, Thomas Barbour and John Campbell. Fort Knox now encompasses large portions of these original grants.
LINCOLN FAMILY FARM ESTABLISHED IN RADCLIFF-FORT KNOX AREA
The Mill Creek and Cedar Creek valleys were also settled around this time. A Baptist church was erected in the Mill Creek area in 1783. It was here that President Abraham Lincoln’s family carved out a home. In 1803, Thomas Lincoln (the president’s father) purchased a 238-acre farm near the southern boundary of present-day Radcliff-Fort Knox on Battle Training Road. Thomas brought his mother, Bersheba (or Bathsheba), his sister and her husband to live there. Thomas moved away to present-day LaRue County, along Knob Creek, from 1807 to 1816 before departing to Indiana. Bersheba remained in the Mill Creek community until her death in 1833 and is buried in the old Mill Creek Cemetery (now the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery). She was the first of the family buried in that consecrated ground. Nancy Brumfield, aunt of the president, her husband, William Brumfield, and their daughter, Mary Crume, complete the three generations of Lincoln buried side-by-side.
EARLY SETTLEMENTS TAKE FORM IN 1790S
By the 1790s, settlements began to take on more formal characteristics. In 1792, Kentucky became a state and Hardin County was formed from Nelson County.
The Salt River had become an extremely important means of transportation for flatboat trade three inspection stations were established to check cargoes of tobacco, timber, flour, hemp and farm produce. These stations were at Taylorsville, Shepherdsville and a 1/2 mile below the mouth of Long Lick Creek, the latter very near or just within the present boundaries of Fort Knox. River commerce clearly played an important role in developing the early settlement pattern of the Fort Knox area, particularly in Bullitt and Hardin counties.
Most settlements before 1800 were located on major rivers or streams. Elizabethtown was officially incorporated and named in 1796. Garnettsville was established in 1792 on Otter Creek. Shepherdsville was officially incorporated in 1793. Sometime before 1794, a settlement known as Bealsburg apparently was established on Pitts Point at the junction of the Salt and Rolling Fork rivers. West Point was formally laid out in 1796.
AGRICULTURE, TIMBER AND SALT — MAINSTAYS OF AREA ECONOMY
During early settlement, the major economic pursuits were agricultural production, timber cutting and salt making. The latter had a particularly interesting and colorful history, as well as being extremely important to the rest of Kentucky. Salt (used mainly as a preservative for game, which was the principal source of food) was a necessary and valuable commodity during the early historical period.
The Revolutionary War with Great Britain cut off normal sources of salt and the mountains acted as a barrier to practical, cost-effective transport of salt into the frontier. When Bullitt’s Lick was established in 1779, it was the first commercial salt works in Kentucky and the only one west of the Alleghenies during the remainder of the Revolution. After the war, Bullitt’s Lick and other salt works in the area were the main suppliers of salt for many years.
Nowhere else was there such a concentration of wells and furnaces. The industry also provided an impetus for support services such as timber cutting, cooperage, carpentry and other necessary trades. Eventually, however, salt making became unprofitable, as steamboats brought cheap imported salt by 1830, all the salt works had closed.
In the early part of the 19th century, Shepherdsville, Louisville, West Point, Graniteville and Elizabethtown figured prominently in the settlement pattern with nuclear family farmsteads being scattered around these points. As the Indian threats abated, it became safe for a wider dispersal of individual farmsteads, but the necessity remained for the maintenance of a tie to some larger town for specialized goods and services.
Not all settled areas identified strongly with a particular town. Some, such as Hill Creek, Cedar Creek, Smith’s Valley, Doe Run and Otter Creek settlements, were concentrated within a particular valley. This was particularly true in the area that in 1823 became Meade County. It had very few incorporated towns in 1800 but numerous clustered settlements.
As the century wore on, however, more towns were established in response to population increase and a greater need arose for goods and services not produced on farms. Additionally, people occupying a particular area often referred to it informally by a specific name. These unofficial settlements usually centered on a store, church or a school.
In many cases, these “settlements” provided the day-to-day needs, and the larger towns provided more specialized professional services and merchandise. Examples of such settlements in the Fort Knox area included Pleasant View, Bloomington, Pine Tavern, Bartles, Shady Grove and Steel’s Crossroads.
The average landowner in the Fort Knox area during the 19th century was a small-scale agriculturalist. Not as common but also present were larger-scale planters who occupied large floodplain areas mainly along the Salt, Rolling Fork and Ohio rivers. These operations were similar to the plantations of the Deep South and probably accounted for most of the slave population in the area.
Kentucky, as a whole, did not account for a large proportion of slaves in the Southern states. The percentage of slaves in Kentucky was only 24.73 percent in 1830 and declined to 19.5 percent by 1860. The average Kentuckian in 1860 did not own any slaves, and the average slaveholder owned less than 10.
Staple crops were corn and tobacco, but hay and wheat were also grown. Bullitt County also produced some barley.
The differences between the small farmer and the planter were not limited to the size of their farms. An important and early business was milling. Most of the successfully operated mills were located on Otter Creek, Doe Run and Hill Creek.
The Coleman or Doe Run Mill (now the site of Doe Run Inn) was built around 1800. Garnettsville also had a number of mills, including Overton’s and Grable’s mills. The Van Meter Mill was farther upstream. Overton apparently built the first flour mill on Otter Creek sometime before 1813, and a town known as Plain Dealing grew up around it. The Overton Mill in Garnettsville was a saw and gristmill. The record is not clear whether these mills were one and the same.
Grable’s Mill was in existence as early as 1805. There was also a Crabb’s Mill near Garnettsville as early as 1804. Samuel Sterrett in Garnettsville later built another mill. The foundations of two of the Garnettsville mills are still visible and are presently within the Fort Knox reservation. David Brandenburg, the son of Solomon Brandenburg, for whom the Meade county seat is named, also built a mill in 1813 at what later became Grahamton.
Most of these early mills were gristmills, but probably the most famous and successful of all was the textile mill at Grahamton. The Grahamton Manufacturing Co., which built the mill in 1836 or 1837, was a Louisville-based firm, which was established in 1829. The mill was one of the earliest textile mills in Kentucky and the first one to be established west of the mountains.
The first dam and millrace were built of wood but replaced by stone in the early 1850s. At first, only a textile mill was built, but in 1865, a larger stone flour mill was erected. It operated for a few years, until the business declined, and it was converted to a warehouse. The mill produced a variety of goods, including cotton and wool yarns, linens, cottonades, jeans and a special cloth known as Otter Creek Stripe. During the Mexican War, the mill supplied canvas for Army tents. Cotton grain sacks were made from the 1860s up to the time the mill was taken over by the McCord Co. and converted exclusively to a spinning mill.
A town sprang up around the mill, and the townsfolk were longtime employees of the company. Also associated with Grahamton was Rock Haven, which acted as a wharf and shipping point on the Ohio River for the textile goods. Only ruins remain of the original mills. Camp Carlson, an Army recreational area, is now located in the vicinity of this extinct community.
Construction of the Louisville and Nashville Turnpike began in 1837, and by 1849, the macadamized road reached the Kentucky state line 108 miles to the south. The turnpike was meant as a thoroughfare for farmers and businessmen from Louisville to the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. The turnpike became a popular stagecoach route and allowed travelers from Louisville to reach Nashville in three days.
HISTORIC BRIDGE TOURS AVAILABLE ON FORT KNOX
Famous travelers of the road include writer Bayard Taylor and Swedish singer Jenny Lind. Use of the road for products and goods traveling between Louisville and Nashville diminished after 1859, when the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (located east of Fort Knox) was constructed. Today, an asphalt surface covers the underlying limestone macadamized road, and the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Knox welcomes visitors to the “Bridges to the Past” walking tour along a preserved portion of the historic turnpike.
The trail is approximately 1 mile south of West Point, Kentucky, on U.S. Route 31W or 8 miles north of Fort Knox’s main gate on U.S. Route 31W. Notable features on the walk include three limestone arch bridges that are more than 150 years old. These limestone bridges are among the oldest standing in Kentucky.
Small, rural settlements in the Fort Knox area were numerous. In addition to these small centers, a number of populated towns developed and flourished during the 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the earliest was established in 1831 and named Pittstown after the Pitts brothers, its founders. The name later changed to Pitts Point. The town was at the junction of the Salt and Rolling Fork rivers in Bullitt County. Its main function was as a docking point in the steamboat trade, as the Salt River was normally navigable only to a point just beyond the town. It acted as a major distribution center for the area.
By 1860, the town had grown to a population of 300, including physicians, carpenters, hotel proprietors, bakers, saddle and harness makers, a fish dealer, a minister, a blacksmith, masons and builders, and schoolteachers. As the steamboat trade declined, particularly with the coming of the railroad in 1859, Pitts Point began to wane in importance, and by 1874, its population had dwindled to less than 100. The Army purchased it around 1947 and at that time, it was virtually a ghost town. Several cemeteries are the only remnants from that community.
Another established town was called Stithton. The Stith Family, for whom the town was named, moved into the area in 1859 presumably from Stith Valley, in Meade County. Prior to their entry, there was probably already a small settlement known as St. Patrick’s. A Catholic church was built there in 1831. The church was later replaced by another structure built in 1899, which is now the post chapel.
Stithton was in Hardin County in what is now the southeastern portion of the Fort Knox cantonment area. It served as a major center for goods and services for all the small farming communities nearby, including Mill Creek, Easy Gap, Steel’s Crossroads and probably some of the adjacent Meade County settlements. Stithton was a stagecoach stop in its early years and later was traversed by the L&N (Louisville and Nashville) Turnpike, which was built in 1829 to 1835 and connected the town of Elizabethtown and West Point. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad also ran through the town.
Between Stithton and Tip Top, there was a large gooseberry farm. The Army purchased Stithton in 1918. A “New Stithton” sprang up nearby, but it too was purchased when the Army post was expanded in 1942. Documentary sources have chronicled the destruction of nearly all the buildings associated with Stithton to make way for Army construction in the area. The post chapel is the only recognizable building from the Stithton of 1918.
KENTUCKY SETTLERS JOIN BOTH NORTHERN AND CONFEDERATE FORCES
Most of the important settlements in the Fort Knox area were established before the Civil War. At the start of the war, the Kentucky legislature voted to remain neutral the state supplied more than 90,000 men to the Union Army and more than 30,000 troops for the Confederate cause, although citizens in the Fort Knox area were nearly equally divided between Union and Confederate sympathies.
Throughout the war, Union forces controlled the area, occupying Fort Duffield above West Point at different times during the conflict. Fort Duffield was on what was known as Muldraugh or Pearman Hill on a strategic point overlooking the confluence of the Salt and Ohio rivers and the L&N Turnpike, the main road into Louisville. By November 1861, the 9th Michigan Infantry had begun constructing breastworks and fortifications atop the hill, while the 37th Indiana Infantry camped below the hill. Regular use of the fort ended in 1862, and it was used irregularly throughout the rest of the conflict.
In August 1862, the Confederate Army, under Gens. Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith, led an offensive to Kentucky. Many thought they would attempt to take the city of Louisville and possibly drive into northern soil. Gen. Don Carlos Buell’s Union forces, on the march from Tennessee and Alabama, hurried in the direction of Louisville for its defenses. The Union troops moved through the area along the L&N Turnpike, passing through present-day Fort Knox. Bragg’s victory at Munfordville on Sept. 17, 1862, proved costly as it allowed Buell to gain ground on the Confederates. Bragg moved his Army in the direction of Bardstown, allowing Buell to arrive in Louisville ahead of the Confederates in late September. The two armies finally battled at Perryville, Kentucky, on Oct. 8.
In late December 1862, John Hunt Morgan and Confederate forces besieged two nearby Union garrisons guarding two railroad trestles on Muldraugh Hill. Both trestles were destroyed, and more than 600 federal troops were captured as a result of the raids. In this same raid, Morgan captured Elizabethtown after a brief battle. Morgan made a lightning-fast move across the area again in 1863. His route took him across the Rolling Fork River to an overnight camp at Garnettsville before moving on to Brandenburg. From there, he ferried his troops across the river and led them on an extended raid across southeast Indiana into Ohio.
During the war, guerilla warfare plagued the area. Under such guerilla leaders as Ben Wigginton, numerous attacks were made on area communities with citizens or businesses loyal to the Union. Other bands sought to represent the Northern cause, but in either case, most simply were bandits who preyed on the local populace.
AREA PROSPERITY REACHES PEAK IN 1850S
The Fort Knox area population and economic diversity increased primarily during the first half of the 19th century. By the 1850s, the area had probably reached its peak in prosperity. Subsequent years saw the beginning of a decline, which was clearly evident by the late 19th century. For instance, by 1890, Hardin County was classed as a pauper county, because it spent more than $9,000 more on services than it collected in revenues. Land also carried a low assessment and much of it was too exhausted for cultivation.
A number of factors contributed to this decline. At least part of the decline was probably due to the limitations the natural setting prescribed on economic activity. Much of the Bullitt County and some of the Hardin County portions of the post are characterized by a highly dissected topography with relatively little arable land. Virtually all of Meade County and most of the remaining Hardin County portions of the fort are of karstic topography, characterized by underground drainage, moderate to severe erosion hazard under cultivation and usually only moderate potential yield.
The best areas from an agricultural standpoint are in the broad floodplains of the Ohio, Salt and Rolling Fork rivers, along with the limited floodplain areas in some of the smaller stream valleys. These areas are small compared to the entire post.
Added to the limited agricultural potential is the lack of good mineral deposits or other resources suitable for industry. Thus, large numbers went west from 1855 to 1880 in pursuit of new opportunities.
The decline was also attributable to outside influences. For instance, it has been noted that the production of salt became unprofitable when steamboat transportation made the importation of salt less expensive. Pitts Point thrived until the railroad was built and precluded the need for river transport. Although the Civil War did not have a significant, direct impact on the area, the effect of the war and reconstruction did have a dramatic, albeit indirect, impact on the economy of the area and Kentucky in general. Additionally, a variety of factors encouraged the growth of Louisville and Elizabethtown at the expense of smaller towns.
By the time the Army began land acquisition in the early 20th century, only Stithton and West Point were moderately prosperous. Pitts Point declined to a rural hamlet Garnettsville and Grahamton never grew out of the small-town phase and development in Bullitt County was suppressed by the growth of Louisville. Vine Grove, which was established in 1850 and moved to its present location in 1865, was growing, but it leveled off into the small town it remains today.
PROSPERITY RETURNS WITH MILITARY PRESENCE
In late September and early October 1903, a noteworthy event took place at West Point and the surrounding area.
Military troops came to the area to engage in mock battles. Large-scale military exercises at Fort Riley, Kansas, proved successful the previous year. The positive outcome paved the way for new military maneuvers at West Point. Army regulars from the Department of the Lakes and National Guard troops from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin numbered 13,000 strong and pitched their tent city in West Point.
Not since the Civil War had so many Soldiers been gathered at that place. They named their temporary home Camp Young. It was named after the Army’s first chief of staff, Samuel Baldwin Marks Young, a Union veteran of the Civil War.
Soldiers present for the war games were divided into two opposing forces. A fictional conflict was scripted that pitted the Blue Army, stationed on the Ohio River at Louisville, against the Brown Army, based along the Tennessee River in Nashville, Tennessee. The scenario found the Brown Army near Louisville, where they had arrived after a successful campaign. Now, with the Blue Army recently reinforced and on the offensive, mock battles were carried out under the supervision of umpires. The success of the maneuvers prompted Army officials to consider making the location a permanent installation, but it would be another 15 years before that consideration became reality.