IT'S UNIQUE, it's impressive, it's important historically, and it deserves to be preserved.
That sums up the feeling about the Great Stone Viaduct in Bellaire.
Part of the picturesque viaduct has been abandoned by CSX, and the Grest Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society has submitted a proposal to that company in an effort to save the structure from neglect.
And, the Great Stone Viaduct group needs help. It is "Looking for Partners" to help in acquiring the structure, preserving it and to have matching funds for grants to preserve it.
The viaduct is on the National Register of Historic Places, and a historical marker was placed near the viaduct in 2008.
Describing the viaduct, the marker reads: "Construction of this Great Stone Viaduct began in 1870 at Union Street as an Ohio approach to the railroad bridge spanning the Ohio River. It was completed to Rose Hill in April 1871, and the entire bridge span connecting Ohio to West Virginia, of which the Viaduct is a part, was opened to rail traffic on June 21, 1871. Jointly constructed by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Central Ohio Railroad, its sandstone piers rise in varying heights 10 to 20 feet above the streets, from which are placed 43 stone arches supported by 37 ring stones (18 on each side of a keystone) intended to symbolize a united Union consisting of 37 states. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, this Ohio River crossing became known as the "Great Shortline to the West."
BUILDERS of the viaduct had several choices of material for its construction - brick, iron or stone or any combination of the two. Ohio sandstone was selected, and quarries were opened west of Bellaire.
The cement used by the B&O also came from Belmont County. According to research by a Barnesville resident, cement was obtained from T.C. Parker & Son near Barnesville. The "History of Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio," by J.A. Caldwell reports 11,000 barrels of cement were obtained by the railroad company from that firm for the work in Bellaire.
A TREASURE such as the viaduct needs to be preserved, and more information about it and the partnership program can be obtained from the Great Stone Viaduct group whose website is www.greatstoneviaduct.org.