|Appalachian Trail Conference
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/aptr/
Phone: (304) 535-6331
P.O. Box 807
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia 25425
A portion of the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia, runs through Maryland. This portion travels long the western border of Frederick County, bisecting South Mountain. Call for points of access along the trail.
C & O Canal National Park
Catoctin Mountain National Park
Cunningham Falls State Park
Gambrill State Park
Gathland State Park Phone: (301) 791-4767
Greenbrier State Park
Washington Monument State Park
Carroll Creek Park "Community Bridge"
Bridge Story In early 1993, artist William M. Cochran convinced the City of Frederick to finish the new Carroll Street Bridge in a highly unusual way. He offered to paint a trompe l'oeil ("fool the eye") mural onto the bridge to make it look like an old arched stone bridge.
The plan had promise, given the strategic location of the bridge at the urban center of
the long-planned Carroll Creek Park, Frederick's key economic development project. After
many public meetings, the city approved the proposal. Shared Vision, a private, non-profit
organization was founded and entered into a public/private partnership with the city to
complete the bridge mural project. The mural plan still had hurdles to overcome - permits,
permissions, fundraising, technical issues and artistic challenges, not to mention
convincing a skeptical community about the merits of the controversial project.
Yes, controversial. Many letters to the local newspaper expressed outrage at such a novel idea, "painting a bridge on a bridge," as talk radio host David Brenner put it. Yet Cochran had asked the town before to trust his vision, to let him paint angels and windows on buildings in Frederick City's treasured historic district. Those murals with their dreamlike imagery sounded a little strange at first, too, but by 1993 they were quiet landmarks. That history gave the bridge project the credibility it needed.
At this point something quite unexpected happened. The artist decided to invite 173,000 people, the residents of the area, to collaborate on this huge artwork. Shared Vision spearheaded the massive public outreach called Bridge Builders that asked individuals to contribute ideas to the bridge artwork, to become in effect co-creators with the artist.
Preparing the Canvas
While the Bridge Builders outreach was happening, the bridge itself was being readied for painting. City and state approvals, general design, technical research and early surface preparation consumed a year. Surface preparation was a major concern because the life span of a mural is determined by the life span of the surface on which it is painted. The entire bridge surface was upgraded and waterproofed to protect the detailed mural. Surface preparation alone depleted more than 20% of the budget.
For more information on how the artist's question was asked to tens of thousands of people, see the Bridge Builder's page. If you are interested in details on paint and surface preparation, see the Technical Info page. Want more bridge facts, including photos? Click here.
Building a Bridge
And yet, for all the challenges it faced, Community Bridge became a reality. Thousands of people across the community helped create a complex, richly-layered artwork that drew more national attention with each passing month during its creation. The story of the bridge and the community that collaborated to create it began to appear in regional and national magazines and newspapers -- hundreds to date. Television news programs also featured the bridge effort, and this web site accelerated the broadcasting of the artist's question. As a result, ideas from across the USA and around the world began to stream in, and the artist added many to the bridge.
Today the bridge has become an international symbol of common ground, containing ideas from as far away as Bosnia, Nova Scotia, South Africa, Argentina, Indonesia, and the Netherlands. It draws tens of thousands of visitors to Frederick every year, and the money these visitors spend attract development and help revitalization efforts in the community.
Community Bridge is a model that shows how public art can serve multiple purposes: it can be an asset economically, as well as culturally and socially. This website made it possible for the bridge to become a symbol for shared values all over the world, since people from around the planet were able to participate (and still are!).
Information Regarding Covered Bridges
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