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(57,879 posts)
Mon Feb 19, 2024, 02:28 PM Feb 2024

On the morning of February 17, 2003, the roof of the B&O roundhouse in Baltimore collapsed.

DC's biggest snowstorm in recorded history is still the Knickerbocker Storm of 1922. The snowfall set a record in Baltimore too. That record stood until 2003, when the storm that caused the collapse of the roof of the B&O Railroad Museum roundhouse occurred.

B&O Railroad Museum


In the early morning of February 17, 2003, heavy snow from the Presidents' Day Storm collapsed half of the roof of the museum's roundhouse. Although the structure's central support columns remained standing, the supporting iron struts and ties of the destroyed roofing sections failed under the snow load. The museum suffered heavy damage not only to the roundhouse itself but also to the collection within the roundhouse. Some of the items were damaged beyond repair. Reporting on the devastation the following day, The Baltimore Sun said, "...hours after the collapse, columns of mangled steel stuck out from the roundhouse ... Locomotives and passenger cars in the museum's collection, some dating from the 1830s, could be seen covered with snow and debris." The roundhouse, with a newly repaired roof, reopened to the public on November 13, 2004, and the damaged locomotives and cars were surrounded by a plexiglass barrier. As of September 2015, all damaged exhibits have been restored to their original appearance.

After the roof collapse, subsequent fund raising and restoration allowed the museum to upgrade many of its facilities. In 2005 the museum opened a new service facility west of the roundhouse for restoration of historical equipment and maintenance of active equipment.

Back Story: 2003 blizzard caused B&O roof collapse

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Half of the roof of the roundhouse collapsed at the B&O Railroad Museum on West Pratt Street during the snowstorm of Presidents' Weekend 2003. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun)

Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

February 14, 2013, 6:11 PM

The Presidents' Day storm of 2003 that swept into Maryland and dumped 26.8 inches of snow on Baltimore — a record-breaker — caused a partial collapse of the B&O Railroad Museum roof on Feb. 17, wreaking havoc on its collection of historic locomotives and cars.
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