Rating:
2 votes

Old Lombard Street Iron Bridge

Photos 

Oblique view from the west

From Falls Rd / MD 25

Photo taken by James Gonzalski in April 2008

Enlarge

BH Photo #154588

Map 

Street View 

Description 

Designed in 1877 by engineer Wendel Bollman (1814-1884), the Lombard Street Bridge is believed to be the only bridge of its kind in existence. It is a unique, bifurcated water-main form which is an integral part in the support system for the bridge. Other water-main bridges are constructed through the use of the arch rather than the truss. It was built to carry city traffic over the Jones Falls stream and water through the design system. The bridge was disassembled c. 1975 because it could no longer handle the heavy volume of traffic on Lombard Street, one of the principal east-west streets in Baltimore. It is stored on the property of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. The bridge is also significant for its association with Wendel Bollman, a self-taught engineer who invented the Bollman truss in 1852. The Bollman Truss bridge became one of the most outstanding advances in 19th century bridge design. Bollman designed many bridges for the B & O Railroad and for various other firms from Chile to Iowa, including Maryland. He built 12 bridges in Baltimore, including the Lombard Street Bridge, which carried city street traffic over the Jones Falls and water through the original design system for almost a century.

Museum officials have attempted to erect the bridge as a pedestrian bridge spanning the nearby Jones Falls, but have been barred from such reuse by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Facts 

Overview
Abandoned pony truss bridge in storage for potential reuse/preservation
Location
Baltimore, Maryland
Status
In Storage
Future prospects
Available for reuse
History
Built 1877, disassembled and moved for storage ca. 1975
Builder
- Wendel Bollman of Baltimore, Maryland
Railroads
- Baltimore Transit Co. (BTCO)
- Streetcar
Design
Seven panel pin-connected Pratt pony truss with cast iron compression members; three lines of trusses--two outer trusses of composite cast and wrought iron in a diagonal Pratt design and a center composite bowstring truss of Pratt-system web. Both chords are cast iron water mains, bifurcated at each end-bearing at which point there is a cast iron post and wrought iron tie.
Dimensions
Total length: 88.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.31623, -76.62543   (decimal degrees)
39°18'58" N, 76°37'32" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/359875/4353129 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Baltimore West
Elevation
108 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 44051 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 2, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • February 11, 2017: New photo from Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • July 3, 2016: Updated by Luke: Added link to image
  • November 6, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • December 2, 2010: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Additional information and photos added
  • October 25, 2010: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Updated and added information
  • February 7, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added details for this rare cast iron pony truss.
  • February 7, 2010: Updated by James Gonzalski: Added new photos

Sources 

Comments 

Old Lombard Street Iron Bridge
Posted October 25, 2010, by Alexander D. Mitchell IV

The bridge is stored on Baltimore City property leased (at a token rate) for use by the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. The bridge did carry streetcars later after its construction, but there are no plans at present for use of the bridge by either the BSM or the City. The span is unarguably historic, but no one has come forth with a feasible (or any?) adaptive reuse program in the past 30+ years that I am aware of.

Cast Iron Bridge at the Baltimore Dept of Transportation
Posted February 7, 2010, by James Gonzalski

So I followed the link that was attached to the earlier comment that showed the photo from 1968 of the Lombard St Bridge. I was confused because it said the location was Gwynns Falls and not Jones Falls. (I should have read on as the article explained how it was moved to Dickeysville to span Gwynns Falls in 1975).

Anyway, I dug into this and found alot of old photographs of all of the bridges that spanned Jones Falls in central Baltimore:

http://www.mdhs.org/Library/fotofind/PP0023lnk.html

but this image in particular shows the Lombard St bridge from Baltimore St:

http://www.mdhs.org/Library/Images/Mellon Images/Z5access/z5-0664.jpg

Jones Falls stream was diverted under the city at some point in time, so the need for bridges between Howard St in the North and Lombard St in the south vanished. I imagine that's why Lombard St lasted until 1975. Many of the other bridges in the gallery look quite similar, and indeed the link you sent said Bollman created 12 bridges for Baltimore. Their similarity makes it harder to say if this is the Lombard St bridge or another one that spanned Jones Falls stream.

Cast Iron Bridge at the Baltimore Dept of Transportation
Posted February 7, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

James,

Yes that appears to be the bridge minus the pipe.

I knew it looked like a Bollman job!

I do know there were a number of extant cast iron truss bridges that were not listed on BridgeHunter. Some have been added by other users recently, I don't know if all have. I confirmed the locations for a number of them using HAER. If you need help finding or confirming any cast iron bridges in Pennsylvania, just drop me an email because I have been researching them in preparation for a massive photo-documentation project this summer.

Cast Iron Bridge at the Baltimore Dept of Transportation
Posted February 7, 2010, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

I did a little Googling and found this article from 1994:

http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/it/1994/2/...

See the list of 71 known cast iron bridges given at the end. Under "Middle Atlantic", I believe this is the seventh bridge:

# 7. Lombard Street Bridge (1877). Streetcar Museum, Baltimore, Md. James Curran, Baltimore Water Dept., and Wendel Bollman. Patapsco Bridge Sc Iron Works, Baltimore, Md., builder.

That led me to this Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lombard_Street_Bridge

It states:

Lombard Street Bridge is a historic truss bridge located at Baltimore, Maryland, United States. It is an 88 foot cast iron span consisting of three lines of trusses -- two outer trusses of composite cast and wrought iron in a diagonal Pratt design and a center composite bowstring truss of Pratt-system web. It was designed in 1877 by engineer Wendel Bollman (1814-1884). It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The link given in the Wikipedia article doesn't work, but I found it here:

http://mht.maryland.gov/nr/NRDBDetail.aspx?HDID=98&COUNTY=&S...

This was one heck of a bridge. It featured a pipe that not only carried a water main, but also served as the upper chord for an interior bowstring truss! However, it doesn't look like that part of the bridge has survived. (This is the correct bridge, right?)

I'm going to go through that list of 71 iron bridges and try to account for all of them if possible.

Cast Iron Bridge at the Baltimore Dept of Transportation
Posted February 7, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Yes, you did make my day! No one at my website HistoricBridges.org nor www.bridgemapper.com knew this bridge was here.

I have been planning out a trip in this region of the country (centered around SE Pennsylvania) to photo-document historic bridges, and I was unaware of this bridge. I added it to my map!

I sent an email off to Baltimore DOT and I will see if I get any sort of a reply from them.

Anthony is right, as with any cast iron compression member bridge in the USA, you are looking at a bridge probablly dating to the 1860s or 1870s.

My guess is the bridge is located where it is because its DOT property (and the bridge formerly served a city DOT owned facility) and that the museum doesn't have anything to do with it. I could be wrong however.

The top chord and verticals are strikingly similar to the Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge. For all I know it also was a RR bridge originally.

Cast Iron Bridge at the Baltimore Dept of Transportation
Posted February 7, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It is indeed a special bridge! Could easily date into the 1860's. I don't know how long they have had it there, but with Maryland's excellent track record with historic bridges I think it will stay until they find a home for it.

Cast Iron Bridge at the Baltimore Dept of Transportation
Posted February 7, 2010, by James Gonzalski

Wow! I'm glad, it sounds like I made your day! I had no idea it was even more of an exciting find than finding your average abandoned truss bridge.

As I said in the description, the bridge appears to be on the lot of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation at 2601 Falls Rd. The next building down Falls Rd is the Baltimore Streetcar Museum (notice the tracks in front of the bridge). Perhaps the bridge is an exhibit at the museum?

Cast Iron Bridge at the Baltimore Dept of Transportation
Posted February 7, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Incredible!!! This may be the rarest bridge in the state second only to the great Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge. It is a cast iron compression member pony truss. It is likely in storage because it was too rare to destroy but no viable preservation solution at the time it was replaced. Thus, it was placed in storage.

Unknown bridge at the Baltimore Dept of Transportation
Posted February 7, 2010, by James Gonzalski

Anyone have any idea why this bridge is there, how long its been there, is it even a bridge, or where it was relocated from?