A CSX track inspection car turns off the rails onto pavement at the
Old Frederick Road grade crossing. This is the only still-active grade
crossing within the easternmost 20 miles of the OML.
But of greater significance in the continuing quest for B&O superlatives:
this is the oldest surviving railroad grade crossing in the world.
The road here likely dates back to 1775 when Ellicott's Upper Mills stood near this
location, and then the railroad arrived around 1830.
The oldest roads of an area generally follow the highest ground because that means
fewer muddy spots and fewer bridges. In Howard County, Old Frederick Road traces
a ridge that marks a watershed boundary: north of the road, streams feed the
Patapsco River, while south of the road they lead to the Patuxent River.
Also of note is the highway bridge that crosses the Patapsco just beyond the tracks.
It was built in 1934 making it the oldest automobile bridge still in use in this
area, as well as a survivor of the floods of Tropical Storm Agnes. It was renovated
in 2005/2006. Its restored plaque reads "Patapsco River Bridge - Built 1934 - State
Roads Commission - E. Clinton Uhl, Chairman. - E. Brooke Lee. Robert Lacy. -
H.D. Williar Jr. Chief Engineer. - W.C. Hopkins Bridge Engineer".
Real-time USGS stream flow data near this location