A BRIEF HISTORY OF PRESIDENT STREET STATION

The Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad began construction in May 1849 and opened the Station to the public on February 18, 1850. It was designed by PW&B engineer, George A. Parker, in Italinate style with low relief columns and roman curved arch roof. It used a modified trussing system patented in 1840 by reknown bridge engineer, William Howe. The brick was painted brown to represent brown stone. It measured 66’ x 236’ including the train shed which was built at the same time as the head house. The building cost $8,812.73. Isaac Ridgway Trimble was the construction engineer of the building.

The head house is so called because it is at the head of the train shed. It contained the waiting rooms, ticket booth, telegraph office and offices. It is all that is left of the three block railroad yard complex and houses the Baltimore Civil War Museum. It is 66’ x 28’. A freight station was built next to the passenger station and was 66’ x 236’ also. Carpenter and car shops were located in the yards behind the stations.

The PW&B was formed on February 5. 1838, by the merger of the Philadelphia & Delaware County, the Southwark, Wilmington & Susquehanna, the Delaware & Maryland, and the Baltimore & Port Deposit Railroads. The Baltimore & Port Deposit was incorporated by the Maryland State Legislature on March 5, 1832 and was the first railroad on the President Street Station site. Benjamin H. Latrobe, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad engineer was appointed engineer for the B&PD in January. 1834. He surveyed the whole line.

Construction began in May 1835. In April 1836, the railroads that would eventually merge would decide to cross the Susquehanna River between the towns of Havre de Grace and Perryville instead of Port Deposit. Regular train traffic between Baltimore and Havre de Grace began in July 1837. A ferry boat, the “Susquehanna”, was used to carry cars and passengers, but not locomotives across the river. In 1853 the larger boat “Maryland” replaced the “Susquehanna” and carried, both cars and locomotives, as well as passengers. A bridge was not completed until 1866. In 1851 Samuel Morse Felton, from Massachusetts become president of the railroad. By 1859, he had turned it into one of America’s leading railroads. In 1881 the Pennsylvania Railroad gained control of the PW&B. Today CSX, AMTRAK, and MARC commuter trains use the PW&B right-of-way between Baltimore and Philadelphia.

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