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Elm Grove Stone Arch Bridge


Elm Grove Stone Arch Bridge, which carries the National Road (U.S. 40) over Little Wheeling Creek in Wheeling, is the oldest bridge in the state. Also known as the Monument Place Bridge, it was built in 1817 by Moses Shepherd.

Constructed of limestone, the bridge is 208 feet long and features three arches. The original parapets were removed in 1931 and replaced with sidewalks and concrete balustraded guardrails. In 1958, the bridge was sprayed with gunite, a building material made of concrete, sand, and water. Except for these changes, the bridge stands as it did when it was constructed.

Moses Shepherd and his wife, Lydia Boggs Shepherd, were an influential couple whose mansion, Shepherd Hall, hosted some of the era’s most famous political figures. Their friendship with Henry Clay helped secure the route of National Road. Lydia Shepherd wanted the road to pass in front of their home, so the route was altered from the north side of Little Wheeling Creek to the south and then back again, requiring the construction of two bridges. Moses Shepherd received the contract to build them, one at Triadelphia (demolished in 1934) and another at Elm Grove, near their home. In 1820, Shepherd honored Clay with an elaborate monument on his estate. Thus, Shepherd’s home came to be called Monument Place and the bridge known as Monument Place Bridge.

The span was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The bridge continues to carry vehicular traffic, but the Department of Highways is considering a plan that would restrict it to pedestrian traffic. The other bridge associated with the National Road in West Virginia is the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, which opened in 1849, and carries traffic over the Ohio River.

Read the National Register nomination.

Written by Becky Calwell