Jennifer K. Cosham
Union Bridge Historic District
Union Bridge, Carroll County
Union Bridge is located on the western border of Carroll County, approximately 1/4 mile east of the border with Frederick County. It is about 3 1/2 miles southwest of Uniontown and roughly 4 miles northwest of New Windsor. The bulk of the town is situated on the peak and flanks of a low hill just south of the Little Pipe Creek. The street plan is based on a grid with Main Street (MD 75) as the spine and major north-south artery into town. Locust Street is the major east-west road, providing access to roads northwest, west, southeast and east of town. The major residential streets are Broadway, which runs east-west and is north of Locust Street, and Benedum, Farquhar, and Lightner Streets. The last three are north-south streets east of Main Street. The northern end of Main Street is predominantly commercial, with a few scattered residences, while the southern end of Main is primarily residential, with some businesses. Main Street extends north of Little Pipe Creek, and is part of the historic development of the town, but is isolated from the bulk of the town by the flood plain along the creek. The rest of the town is surrounded by farm fields and wood lots.
Union Bridge is a small piedmont village in western Carroll County, Maryland, which serves the area as a market center. The district records the history and growth of the community. Originally at the confluence of several farms, it developed slowly in the early 19th century around Main Street. Probably none of the earliest structures survive. Larger scale development attempts began in 1846 when Joseph Moore plotted and began to sell 15 lots on Main Street. Typical of piedmont towns, development was concentrated on one street. There was little building in Union Bridge until the opening of the Western Maryland Railroad in 1862. The railroad, which originally ran from Baltimore only to Union Bridge, built its shops here and later expanded westward. It was the railroad that spurred the great growth that resulted in the evolution of Union Bridge into a grid plan. It also led to the rise of a true village, with residential, commercial, and industrial areas as well as cultural institutions like churches. The greatest growth occurred in the 1880s. The buildings constructed were generally free-standing brick or frame structures that employed traditional Carroll County building forms, with the influence of some national trends. Joseph Wolfe and Furney and Morningstar were responsible for much of the construction, and probably in most cases for the design, of the buildings. The district is also important for the architectural character of its buildings, which reflect rural conservative versions of the major styles of the 19th and 20th centuries.