Prior to 1909, a ferry boat was the only way to cross the Potomac River at Williamsport, followed by a long slow trudge up a steep hill into the town.
With the introduction of the C & O Canal, a bridge had to be constructed over the canal, and a simple wooden bridge was built. It didn't last long.
The Salisbury Street Bridge was built in 1879 for the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Company by the Patapsco Bridge & Iron Works, Baltimore, Maryland; Wendel Bollman, proprietor. It is a single-span, wrought-iron, pony-Pratt truss spanning 67 feet over the C&O Canal. The bridge has a construction depth of 9 feet and is 13 feet, 3 inches wide.
It is one of two known surviving Bollman-built bridges of this simple, pony-Pratt type in the State of Maryland (not to be confused with the Bollman suspended and trussed bridge at Savage, Maryland, for which he received a patent). Wendel Bollman, whose company manufactured this bridge, is notable as an engineer for his design of an iron suspended and trussed bridge, one of the first all-iron bridges used consistently by a railroad. Salisbury Street Bridge is significant for its association with Bollman and because it is an early example of an important, standard truss type in unaltered condition. Source: Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress), Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA