Rating:
2 votes

Churchill Street Bowstring

Photos 

Originally published by the Beacon Evening News; Used under Fair Use

Enlarge

BH Photo #416950

Map 

Facts 

Overview
Lost Bowstring pony truss bridge over Fishkill Creek on Churchill Street
Location
Beacon, Dutchess County, New York
Status
Replaced by a new bridge
History
Dismantled 1978/Replaced 1979 and put into storage for reuse: Parts have disappeared
Builder
- Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Design
Bowstring pony truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 70.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.50070, -73.96355   (decimal degrees)
41°30'03" N, 73°57'49" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/586504/4594860 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Wappingers Falls
Inventory number
BH 72923 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 29, 2019: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added builder
  • October 29, 2019: New photo from Chester Gehman
  • October 29, 2019: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • October 29, 2019: Updated by Art Suckewer: Added build year and possible builder
  • January 26, 2018: New photo from Luke
  • July 26, 2016: Added by Luke

Sources 

  • Luke
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Chester Gehman - gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com

Comments 

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 30, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Luke, I found the photo you added on the Beacon Historical Society Facebook page. I can't add a link because I do not have a Facebook account.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 30, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Chester & Luke,

Here is an example of a Cooper's bridge: https://www.eriecanal.org/CedarBay.html (its listed here and on Nathan's site as well). The design of the verticals is different on the other bridge; I expect the Churchill Street bridge is earlier.

Cooper used Phoenix Column sections in his design and I suspect that is the source of the 1862 date and builder as the Phoenix Columns have the Phoenix brand and patent date of 1862 on them.

Although I'm not 100% certain yet, in my opinion its an early 1870's version of Cooper's design possibly made by Melvin A. Nash.

Regards,

Art S.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Luke

The Facebook page I'd referenced (But have since lost the URL for.) for the builder referred to the SIA article as a source.

Build date came from the newspaper article, so I don't doubt that it's in error.

And given the time frame it would've been Phoenix Iron Works IIRC.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Chester Gehman (gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Phoenix Bridge Company--1884-1901

(Directory of American Bridge-Building Companies)

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Chester,

Great picture!

Based on the picture, Iíd say Nathan is right and itís a Cooper (he used Phoenix Columns in his design). If so, and based on Nathanís prior post, you are right that it was made within a few years of Tioronda.

Regards,

Art S.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Chester Gehman (gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The on-going discussion of this bridge's lineage reminded me of an article in the SIA Newsletter at the time of its removal. Clipped from the issue of Jan-Mar 1979, it is attached. While its build date is still in question, it does establish the builder as Phoenix Bridge.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Melissa,

It definitely did!

Tony,

I generally agree that it isnít a reliable source, I personally do my best to stay away from the media (though it is entertaining if they try to say my last name on air :^) ) but often the the older articles that Melissa finds are surprisingly accurate. Anyway, itís a starting point.

Chester,

Not a chance regarding the builder. I opened with that idea; Nathan promptly put a fork in it. Melissaís second picture confirmed that tubular arch design doesnít match Reznerís. Regarding build date, maybe. So far the newspaper article says 1862 but we have no idea regarding the source/accuracy.

Regards to all,

Art S.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I have found with newspaper articles that anytime a date or length is given it is more times than not questionable. I often think they get it from someone who doesn't really know or they "Guesstimate".

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Art, I hoped another photo would help !

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Nathan,

Melissa's new picture (Thanks Melissa!) does suggest Cooper and Phoenix Columns for the arch structure. However, the webbing is different than the other Cooper I am aware of.

The 1862 date comes from Melissa's article. Its possible the author of the article was bad at math and the bridge wasn't 116 years old in 1978...

When I first looked at Carlton, it was listed as 1898 here and in the official records. After a little homework, the correct date of 1888 was determined. So, for now, the only info we have points to 1862. If more info comes to light, it may confirm or contradict this date.

I suspect the webbing configuration will lead us to the maker.

Regards,

Art S.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Visually, Cooper is what popped into my head, but I don't believe those bridges were built that long ago either. The patent dates to 1872 with a few bridges predating that by about 1-2 years, so honestly I just don't think there is enough evidence to make any guess at this point, more information is needed. My opinion is its a bridge best listed as builder unknown for the time being. HAER Documentation cites that in New York State a variety of propriety designs were built in the late 1860s and early 1870s in the state.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Nathan,

It was listed as a Phoenix Bridge Co. I have significant doubts. I marked it as Rezner due to certain similarities but concede that it isn't. You know the patents and builders well, it strikes me as an early regional design (maybe early version of Cooper's work?). Who do you think it is?

Regards,

Art S.

Churchill Street Bowstring
Posted October 29, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This bridge was built in 1862. The first Rezner patent is 1867. Also, the top chord is polygonal. This does not match other Rezner design bridges. Also, Dr. William Boal Rezner served in the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry as Chief Surgeon of his brigade. His service began in 1861 and lasted 4 years. And while I have not been able to determine when he began building bridges, I think its safe to question Rezner as builder of this bridge while he was serving in other capacities.