Big Four Bridge (1929)
Photo taken June 2005 by James Adorno
BH Photo #103311
Big Four opening
Opening of the big four bridge
Video by J.P.
Built by the Louisville and Jeffersonville Bridge Company starting in 1888 and finishing in 1895. Thirty seven workers died during construction including 21 who fell from a collapsed falsework and died in the river on December 15, 1893. The bridge was finished in September 1895 at the cost of $2.5 million, the accidents had driven the Louisville and Jeffersonville Bridge Company into bankruptcy and Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway (Big Four) bought the bridge. C & O Railroad owned 1/3 interest in the bridge and B & O Railroad, a road closely aligned with C & O owned the road approaching the bridge from the north. The bridge was used by interurban cars starting September 12, 1905. Two interurban cars collided in January 1918 with the loss of three lives, this being the only serious accident on the bridge. Big Four bought out C & O's interest in the bridge in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1929 by Louisville & Jefferson Bridge Company at a cost of $3.5 million. On Feb. 1, 1930 New York Central took over operation of the Big Four. Strangely B & O never used the bridge and took it's traffic over the Kentucky & Indiana Terminal Railway Bridge three miles further downstream. When NY Central and Pennsylvania Railroads merged the Penn Central routed traffic away from the bridge. It was last used in 1969 and the approach spans were scrapped in 1974. A railroad enthusiast, Charles Hammond bought the bridge in 1982, and wanted to develop the bridge with condos and retail stores. Tax trouble brought the plan to an end and the bridge was bought at a sheriffs action by a charity, "Bridge the Gap" in 1987 for $10,000. They decorated the bridge each year for a Christmas toy drive promotion.
- Rail-Trail six-span through truss railroad bridge over the Ohio River at Louisville
- Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, and Clark County, Indiana
- Open to pedestrians only
- Built 1929 using preexisting stone piers. Interurban traffice ends 1939; Approches scrapped 1974.
- - Louisville & Jefferson Bridge Co.
- - Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway (CCC&StL; Big Four)
- Louisville & Northern Railway & Lighting Co. (L&NR&L)
- Louisville & Southern Indiana Traction Co. (L&SI)
- New York Central Railroad (NYC)
- Penn Central Railroad (PC)
- From north to south:
One riveted, 8-panel Parker through truss
Three riveted, 16-panel Pennsylvania through trusses, each 547 ft. long
Two riveted, 10-panel Parker through trusses
Length of largest span: 547.0 ft.
Total length: 2,525.0 ft. (0.5 mi.)
- Also called
- Big Four Bridge
Bridge to No Where
Big Four Bridge cross-river skywalk
Big Four Railroad Bridge
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +38.26603, -85.73930 (decimal degrees)
38°15'58" N, 85°44'21" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 16/610286/4236083 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Inventory number
- BH 18821 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- October 23, 2019: New photos from Mike Daffron
- April 8, 2018: New photo from J.P.
- January 18, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added category "Interurban"
- January 17, 2015: Updated by Tony Dillon: Fixed an incorrect date
- July 11, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
- July 10, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
- May 24, 2014: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Correct Typo
- January 2, 2014: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Typo
- May 30, 2013: New photos from J.P.
- April 10, 2013: New photos from J.P.
- February 11, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added builder
- February 11, 2013: New video from J.P.
- February 7, 2013: Updated by J.P.: Added category "Rail-to-trail"
- February 4, 2013: Updated by James McCray: edited status to show bridge will open to pedestrian traffic this thursday at 11:00 am
- December 20, 2012: Updated by J.P.: changed opening date.
- December 10, 2012: Updated by James McCray: Added category "Spiral/Pigtail/Loop Bridges"
- June 30, 2012: New photo from Kim Harvey
- March 13, 2012: Updated by J.P.: Added category "Railroad"
- May 9, 2011: New photos from J.P.
- May 3, 2010: New Street View added by J.P.
- April 4, 2010: Updated by J.P.: sorry found a better view on 65 on the louisville side
- March 28, 2010: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Additional discription information.
- March 28, 2010: New photos from Anthony Dillon
- March 8, 2010: Updated by James McCray: Updated History and added essay.
- March 7, 2010: New photos from J.P.
- August 29, 2009: New photos from J.P.
- April 20, 2009: New photos from J.P.
- May 28, 2008: New photos from Joe Virruso
- April 27, 2008: Updated by Max Johnson
- October 10, 2005: Posted photos from James Adorno
- James Adorno
- HAER KY-10 - Big Four Bridge, Spanning Ohio River, Louisville, Jefferson County, KY
- Joe Virruso - virrusofamily [at] att [dot] net
- J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
- blog with news video - There is a local news video were a the journalist gets to go to the top of the ramp. LUCKY!!!!!!
- James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
- Ed Hollowell - erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com
- Wikipedia - Artical on Big Four Bridge
- Kim Harvey
- Bridges & Tunnels.com Entry - Big Four Railroad Bridge
- Andrew Raker
- Historic Louisville - Imagery + Info
- Mike Daffron - daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com