Smith, Latrobe & Co. History
The Zoarville Station Bridge was built as a
108-foot-long through truss by the engineering firm of Smith, Latrobe
and Company of Baltimore, Maryland, later known as the Baltimore Bridge
Company. The president of this company,
Charles Shaler Smith - or "Shaler", as he was called - was credited with
introducing the use of Phoenix Columns in railroad trestles.
Shaler was considered the greatest American engineer of his day,
responsible for an enormous amount of work, including four bridges over
the Mississippi, one over the Missouri, and one over the Saint Lawrence.
His company advertisements boasted of 13 miles of bridges, together with
many other works such as roofs, depots, foundations, roundhouses, piers,
etc. Shaler was most famous for his daring and innovative solutions to
difficult engineering problems. Shaler died in St. Louis, Missouri in
1886 as the result of a fall while directing the erection of machinery
at an exposition building. At his funeral, an elaborate model of a truss
bridge with a railroad train, constructed of flowers stood at the altar
Other members of this company included
Benjamin Latrobe, whose greatest achievement was overseeing the
extension of the B&O across the Allegheny Mountains, an undertaking
considered impossible. Benjamin’s son, Charles Latrobe, was also a
member of the company. He was famous for his work on the Arequipa
Viaduct and the Verrugas Bridge in Peru, which at that time was the
highest structure of its kind in the world.
The least known member of the firm was
Frederick Henry Smith, probably a brother to Shaler. Frederick was
appointed Engineer of Bridges for the City of Baltimore in 1873. He was
also a consulting engineer for the Seaboard Air Line and held seven
More information on the members of Smith, Latrobe & Co.
Latrobe, Pennsylvania was named for Benjamin
Latrobe of Smith, Latrobe & Co.
View a profile of the B&O Railroad drawn by Albert Fink when Benjamin
Latrobe was the B&O's Chief Engineer.
Smith, Latrobe & Co. Pamphlet
Pictured below is the only known surviving
pamphlet published by the Smith, Latrobe & Co.
These pictures are furnished
courtesy of the Morrison Family Collection and the Ohio Historical
the Zoarville Station Bridge Page