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PRR - Maumee River Bridge (1880)


Bridge is in the background, behind Cherry Street Bridge

Public domain photo from the Ken Levin Toledo Postcard Collection; contributed to Wikimedia Commons by the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library


View this photo at Wikimedia Commons

BH Photo #510219


The construction of the swing span by one bridge company and the Whipple trusses by another hints that there may be more to this bridge's history than is presently known here.


Lost Pratt through truss bridge over Maumee River on Pennsylvania RR
Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1879-1880 by Keystone Bridge Co; 1 span rebuilt 1883; replaced 1914
- Keystone Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (3 south Whipple spans)
- Philadelphia Bridge Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (swing span)
- Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)
Pratt through truss swing span with 3+ Whipple through truss approach spans
South to north:
Long earthen causeway extending out into Maumee River
Three 200' Whipple through truss spans
One 290' through truss swing span with polygonal top chord
One iron truss span of unknown length
Length of largest span: 290.0 ft.
Deck width: 14.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.65559, -83.52199   (decimal degrees)
41°39'20" N, 83°31'19" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/290004/4614610 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 94704 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 21, 2021: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • October 21, 2021: New photos from Paul Plassman
  • October 20, 2021: Photos imported by Paul Plassman
  • October 20, 2021: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • October 19, 2021: Updated by Paul Plassman: Added build date, builder, and design details
  • October 12, 2021: Photo imported by Paul Plassman

Related Bridges 



PRR - Maumee River Bridge (Older)
Posted October 24, 2021, by Paul Plassman

According to the book at this link (page 712), the Pennsylvania RR bridge was destroyed by the flood of February, 1881; yet the 1883 Railroad Reports state the bridge in existence then was built in 1879-1880. Another twist....perhaps just one span was washed out and this was the one being reconstructed in 1883?


PRR - Maumee River Bridge (Older)
Posted October 20, 2021, by Paul Plassman

Okay, trying to sort out the history of this one is making me dizzy so here is everything in a nutshell in the order that I believe is most plausible at this juncture:

1) The 1883 Railroad Reports give a build date of 1879-1880 for a bridge with three 200' Pratt spans, one 290' swing span, and one span that was being rebuilt after being destroyed by flooding at the time of writing.


2) The 1884 Railroad Reports mention that the three 200' Pratts on this bridge were destroyed by flooding. Whether this occurred before or after the 1883 report was written is not clear. If it was pre-1883, it would explain why the Pratt spans had a different builder in the 1883 report than the swing span, which apparently survived the flood.


3) This 1883 view depicts a bridge buried in ice with a Pratt approach and a swing span with a curved top chord.


4) I also found this photo, which is said to date from approximately the 1890's and which I believe is at a minimum post-1884 because the trusses of the Cherry Street Bridge are visible in the foreground; it shows Pratt approach trusses as well.


5) This photo, which is definitely from 1908, shows the bridge in the background of the Cherry Street Bridge with Whipple approaches on the south, a curved-chord swing span, and a Pratt span on the north.


There is also this 1883 stereoview that depicts a bridge that may or may not be the PRR crossing, but which I have a strong hunch it is: https://www.ohiomemory.org/digital/collection/p16007coll33/i...

So the questions are: Was this bridge originally built with Pratt trusses and later reconstructed with Whipples as it appears? Or are some of these photos actually showing a different bridge? And when the Railroad Reports say "Pratt", are they actually referring to Whipple trusses, which are basically double-intersection Pratts, or to true single-intersection Pratt trusses?

Definitely it appears that this bridge was rebuilt at some point, probably more than once. Any input would be welcomed.