Distant view from the road
Photo taken by Jason and Birgit Smith in December 2007
BH Photo #111466
It would be a woefully neglectful loss if this one should collapse
Field visit today: this bridge is on the verge of collapse. Severe erosion is threatening the eastern stone pier. The stones under the southeast bearing shoe are barely hanging on.
A conference call is scheduled for today between many state, federal, local jurisdictions regarding the future of this bridge. I get to participate in the role of funding opportunities, restoration ideas. It looks in pretty good shape from the pictures.
In the interest of the future of historic bridges we are starting another division under NSRGA dedicated to bowstrings. Nathan, you know we will work with all styles, but bowstrings are a first love. Kings or WBCos. I think if we can narrow it down, much like "Covered" we may be able to drive awareness and finances for saving this style, which will certainly then go towards the Warrens, Pratts, Parkers, Baltimores, Ponies that around here we all love. This focus on bowstrings will allow me to work with Sunny Brae on the Gilliece WBCO and continue the in-kind fabrications required for our McIntyre by King.
But it might be easier to take the national market by storm using the longest bowstring in the U.S. as the draw. Any ideas welcome.
Photos of this bridge don't do it justice. One needs to be on the deck of this beautiful structure to appreciate the simple elegance of this design. In it's simplicity, the bridge quickly disappears from one's view and the beauty of the water, trees, wildlife, sky and wind can be fully enjoyed.
This is not a bridge to race across hurriedly in an automobile. This is a bridge for pause and reflection.
It would be a shame to see this bridge reduced to scrap steel if a similar place for quiet meditation could not be found for this quiet, peaceful structure.
My position on MOB bridges is that every time one is erected, a feasible opportunity to relocate and preserve a historic truss bridge has been lost. The reality is that there should not be a single abandoned or demolished historic truss bridge under, say, 200 feet in the entire country. Truss bridges of that size can be relocated and restored anywhere a MOB bridge is placed. Based on the number of MOB bridges I have seen, if each opportunity was taken, we would not have any bridges of these sizes sitting abandoned or in dumpsters.
Link to afforementioned JoCo bridge:
Interestingly, I have often heard of these MOBs referred to as unique, graceful, beautiful, breathtaking, etc. I don't have a problem with them being installed on a trail, but let's not think they are somehow special. This is not just a phenomenon in Mankato - many of us have seen these things hyped nationwide. In fact, a historic pony truss bridge was recently replaced by a MOB on a hiking trail in Johnson County, KS!
I know that I am probably preaching to the choir here, but MOBs are no more unique than the pair of Wranglers that I am wearing now. They do their job...
What an epic failure. The perfect place to relocate this bridge only five miles away, and what do they do? They order a MOB instead and then have the audacity to call it a bowstring truss. Why save a nationally significant bridge when you can just order a Walmart bridge instead. What a waste. http://mankatofreepress.com/local/x320356461/Unique-bridge-t...
This bridge has been nominated for the list of bridges that should be saved.
Links about this bridge are available here:
(This includes a commentary written in 2007 by Jason and Birgit Smith)