Building the Funkstown Bridge
“The turnpike bridge at Funkstown is the only one...which seems to belong to a town” —Helen Ashe Hays, The Antietam and its Bridges
This bridge, finished in 1823, is perhaps the oldest one over Antietam Creek. Irish immigrant laborers made up the construction crew. Many worked on the road to pay off the cost of their passage from the old country, what they called “working to pay off the dead horse.” The “great brigade” of Irish leveling the roadway and breaking rocks caused one traveler to comment that they were "building a roadway good enough for any emperor to travel over...”
Workers at a local dye factory regularly taunted the immigrants. One St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish workers marched into town to avenge the insults. Local militia from Hagerstown and Funkstown arrived to keep the peace. The worst injury was “a wound by the kick of a horse.” The Bridge was widened in 1931 with the addition of a concrete facade on the side that faces you. The original stone facing remains on the opposite side. “The trolley from Hagerstown brings holiday-makers who row on the creek and make picnics along its banks....In summer the water is alive with craft...and there is a continual hum of laughter and cheerful voices.” —Helen Ashe Hays, The Antietam and its Bridges.