A TOUR involving such railroad sites as The Great Stone Viaduct in Bellaire and Roseby's Rock in West Virginia is scheduled Sunday, Dec. 16, between 1 and 6 p.m.
The Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society will sponsor the local bus tour, and transportation will be provided by Ohio Valley Regional Transit Authority buses that will travel to Bellaire and the Great Stone Viaduct; Grave Creek and Roseby's Rock; and Wheeling to the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station that today houses West Virginia Northern Community College.
The local bus tour is a part of the mission of the GSV Society to keep alive the history of the Ohio Valley and to encourage the study of local history. The bus trip is open to members of the GSV Society and to the general public .The cost of a ticket is $20 for charter members of the society and $25 to non-members. A sack lunch will be provided to all passengers.
THE GREAT Stone Viaduct in Bellaire was opened to railroad traffic in 1871, and it still is in use. Its sandstone piers rise in varying heights 10-20 feet above the streets, and its 43 stone arches are supported by 37 ring stones intended to symbolize a united Union consisting of 37 states, according to the nearby historical marker. The viaduct will be part of a Dec. 16 tour focusing on important railroad sites in the Ohio Valley.
December is an important month of the year for the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad since on Christmas Eve in 1852, the B&O completed its iron road from Baltimore to Wheeling, Va.
The track was closed at a point along Grave Creek in Marshall County, thus connecting the Tidewater to the Ohio River after 25 years of difficult construction over the Allegheny Mountains. Some 20 years later, the B&O would cross the Ohio River between Benwood and Bellaire and would expand westward to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
At the height of its glorious past, the B&O would build the grand railroad station in Wheeling in the first decade of the 20th century, and it now houses the West Virginia Northern Community College. The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The tour will visit the site of the Great Stone Viaduct at Bellaire, and the GSV Society trustees will explain the significance of this structure which is still in active use today carrying the railroad traffic of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad and CSX.
The viaduct itself consists of 43 sandstone arches passing from Union Street to Rose Hill.
The group also will tour the site of the track closing of the B&O at Roseby's Rock some 160 years ago. The iron rails were abandoned some years ago, but the massive "Rock"with its famous engraving is still visible to those who know how to find it. Interesting presentations will be made by GSV Society trustees about this famous site.
The final leg of the trip will be the former B&O station in Wheeling. This magnificent structure was built over a century ago, yet continues today to influence the lives of residents of the Ohio Valley.
Attorney Daniel Frizzi of the Great Stone Viaduct group advises those interested in the tour to "charge the batteries in their cameras, pick out a comfortable pair of shoes and warm clothes, and mail a reservation to GSV Society, P.O. Box 129, Bellaire, Ohio 43906-0129. Anyone interested in joining this trip should contact the GSV Society by email at GSV Society@aol.com, telephone at (740) 676-2743, or visit the website of the GSV Society at www.greatstoneviaduct.org to request information.