by Jody Brumage, Archivist, Heritage Frederick
James William LeGore was born in 1854 to John and Eliza LeGore near New Oxford, Pa. In 1861, the family relocated to a farm near Woodsboro. James’ father and elder brother, John H. LeGore, established a lime kiln where they burned limestone to produce quicklime, used by farmers to enhance soil quality. James assumed management of the business after his brother’s death in 1877, opened a limestone quarry and erected a nearby company town to house workers.
Transporting stone and quicklime to customers on the west side of the Monocacy River required crossing one of several fords, which were dangerous during adverse weather and expensive to maintain. James LeGore saw the opportunity to improve traveling conditions by building a bridge across the river at a central point, connecting the surrounding communities.
Construction began in 1902 and the builders used mule teams to transport stone from LeGore’s quarry to the building site two and a half miles away. Workers constructed a five-span arch bridge rising to a height of 60 feet and extending to more than 250 feet in length. When completed four years later, LeGore’s bridge was lauded in the local press as a masterpiece of engineering, reminiscent of a Roman aqueduct.
LeGore had greater plans, including a hydroelectric dam nearby that would furnish power to his town and other nearby communities, but he abandoned the plan due to the financial loss he incurred from the bridge project. Nevertheless, LeGore’s bridge, still used by vehicles today, endures as a Frederick County landmark and a beautiful testament to his vision.