Baltimore Street bridge renamed for Casper R. Taylor Jr.

·2 min read

May 22—CUMBERLAND — Local dignitaries braved the heat Saturday to dedicate the former Baltimore Street bridge, renaming it the Casper R. Taylor Jr. Bridge, after the former Maryland Speaker of the House and Cumberland resident.

The bridge spans Willis Creek and is a vital crossing into the city's downtown.

"It's just a pretty cool thing to know that Cas' grandchildren, great grandchildren and their children — generations of people to come — will have a chance to walk and drive across the Cas Taylor bridge," said Brendan Taylor, the former House speaker's son.

The decision to rename the bridge came after citizens attended a February City Council meeting armed with the suggestion.

"As a private citizen, I always admired and respected the speaker of the House for what he did, but after becoming an elected official, the respect grew even more," said Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss. "You think about it, the House of Delegates — 141 delegates — and being able to build a coalition and being able to collaborate with 141; sometimes as a mayor and City Council, I struggle to be able to do that and there's only five of us."

Taylor graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1956 and was a restauranteur prior to his election to the House of Delegates in 1994. Once in office, Taylor rose through the ranks, eventually becoming speaker.

Taylor was the first House speaker from Allegany County, the only one from west of Frederick County and the 105th in the state's history.

During his time in office, Taylor was involved in many improvements throughout Western Maryland, including Canal Place, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and Allegany Museum.

He served until 2003 and is now retired.

The bridge will soon undergo a $4 million rehabilitation project that includes new sidewalks and lighting.

Brandon Glass is a staff writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @Bglass13