Photo taken by Jim Allen in July 14
BH Photo #313190
As you might have noticed, covered brides can be a bit touchy here, as they tend to be prioritized over iron and steel spans for preservation (a very long discussion for elsewhere though). Even for those of us that enjoy timber truss bridges, its complicated when you get into 'fake' ones (regular bridges with a cover added), modern constructions, then historic ones, as defining whats "authentic", "historic", etc.. gets murky. A lot of people will use "authentic" and "historic" interchangeably, so I don't think any offense was meant to this bridge when its referred to as "non-authentic", but just a notation that this is not "historic".
And as to the original bridge, I'd like to look here in VT as we have a few rail-trails and thankfully a lot of effort has been put into retaining/re-using existing bridges. For example, on the LVRT:
Even though this is a "run-of-the-mill" plate girder, it works great for the purpose that it serves now. And it contributes to the history of the rail-trail by preserving its heritage as to its original purpose. All around this bridge we have signs of the past. The railroads mile marker, excellent stone abutments, they all work together to tell the story of the past. Wipe out the bridge, and everything else doesn't mean as much.
A lot of us are here in this community because we like old bridges. Even something "run-of-the-mill" like this contributes to our collective past, which is disappearing faster then we'd like. Even if it is boring, I still find this preferable to replacement, which I think is the sentiment of many here.
Yes in 50 years I think this bridge probably will be considered historic. At that point it will probably take its rightful place in the National Register of Historic Places.
Many of us Bridgehunters have been watching historic wrought iron bridges getting turned into soup cans while covered bridges get preserved. Thus covered bridges can be a bit of a sensitive subject on here.
No one was professing that the covered bridge was a historic bridge, only that it was an aesthetically pleasing covered span. For 20 miles, it's one of the highlights of the trail, considering that it goes through unremarkable territory.
Look at Ashtabula County, which has 17 covered bridges, 10 of which are pre-1983 (versus 63 total many years ago). Those ten are historic, but the remaining seven are not - for now.
What defines historic in this instance? Some are entirely new bridges on new alignments; others are re-creations. Will it be historic when they reach the 50-year mark to be included on the National Register of Historic Places? Certainly, as will the two authentic covered bridges along the Maple Highlands Rail Trail.
Going back to the original topic, the railroad bridge seemed to have been removed long ago, preceding the construction of the rail trail. The county's park district has owned it since the 1980's (acquiring it from the B&O). From their standpoint, it can be argued that the covered bridge is more aesthetically pleasing than a run-of-the-mill plate girder, even if it is old. For a trail user, that's fine. It's highly unlikely that this will ever be used as a railroad again.
We'll have to agree to disagree on our interpretation of what the county did in this instance.
Essentially, the question becomes one of engineering significance versus historical significance. A modern bridge such as this one might, and arguably does, have engineering significance. A 1938 riveted Warren Pony truss may have relatively little engineering significance, but might have a large amount of local historic significance, especially if it the last of its kind in the county or region. An 1870 Bowstring of course will have aboth high level of both engineering and historical significance.
I have no argument against construction of a modern covered bridge - except when a historic bridge must be destroyed in the process.
Its designed by Smolen... anyone familiar with Ashtabula County, Ohio would know that name. He used to be the county engineer and he liked the county's covered bridges. He later went into his own engineering. I believe they do function as trusses (the 2008-built one on CR-25/State Road that looks like a covered concrete expressway bridge is still listed on NBI as a timber truss). However, they cannot be considered historic, they are not old, nor do they have the visual appearance of an old bridge.
Doesn't look authentic compared to any other truly authentic historic covered bridges out there. Structurally it might well be the real deal, but it looks like something that the elves put together in their workshop.
I would agree with that. Still, it did replace a bridge that did have some historical significance with respect to the railroad line.
Rail trails provide a great opportunity to preserve history, so I hope that removal of historic railroad bridges on rail trails does not become a trend.
Still beats an ugly unimaginative concrete bridge
Perhaps I should have been a bit more clear in my comment. The bridge might be a genuine covered bridge, but I would not consider it to have any historic significance.
It's not a "fake." It's a authentic and registered covered bridge.
Plate girders are usually not overly attractive, so I don't spend as much time looking at them as I do trusses, March arches, stone arches, etc.
That being said, any pre - WWII plate girder/deck plate girder has at least a little bit of historic significance. This, if a plate girder was here when the trail was being developed, I would rather see it in place than a fake covered bridge. Likewise, I would rather see a historic bridge relocated to the trail for use than see a fake covered bridge.
Covered bridges do provide shelter in a surprise rain squall though...
That "Thing" is hideous!
It was a very simple plate girder bridge, hardly unique or historic.
this bridge I'm sorry to say is pathetic compared to the structurally sound and historic bridge that had been here for the previous 80 +years.numerous pictures of it could be found in railroad publications yet somehow the park district was able to pull this ugly project off.the last bridge on this historic line a few miles down will probably be gone soon before I die but hopefully will be preserved unlike this ...