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Main Street Bridge (1871)


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Photo uploaded by Art S.

View this photo at content.daytonmetrolibrary.org

BH Photo #465495


An extract from THE BRIDGES OF DAYTON by Charles F. Sullivan

The Main street bridge was replaced by a steel structure, different from any other bridge I have ever seen. It was four spans, with a steel pillar upon each pier, and from the top of these was swung a steel bar down in a circular form and up to the top of the next pillar, so the arch of them was hanging instead of upright as usual. This allowed of much swinging of the bridge, without danger, but with the coming of the electric street cars, the people became afraid of it and the cars were required to pass each other at the piers, and the swinging was not as noticeable. Nothing ever happened there but eventually the bridge was condemned and about 1903 a temporary bridge was built below the bridge site and was used during the construction of the concrete bridge by H. E. Talbot & Co., the contractors. The old bridge was stored for a number of years and then two spans were erected at Summit street over Wolf creek, and a sign was placed at each end of the bridge, cautioning the public against heavy loads across it. One day two heavily loaded trucks going in opposite directions and at too high a speed, passed in the middle of a span, and that was too much and bridge and trucks all went into the creek bed, but no one received serious injury from it.


Lost Inverted Bowstring through truss bridge over Great Miami River on Main Street
Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1871; Replaced 1903. Parts reused over Wolf Creek
- Columbia Bridge Works of Dayton, Ohio (also known as)
- D.H. & C.C. Morrison of Dayton, Ohio [also known as Columbia Bridge Works]
- Dayton Street Railway
- Streetcar
Inverted Bowstring through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.76463, -84.19334   (decimal degrees)
39°45'53" N, 84°11'36" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/740413/4405402 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Dayton North
Inventory number
BH 75218 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 2, 2020: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • February 1, 2020: New photos from Art Suckewer
  • January 31, 2020: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • September 27, 2019: New photos from Art Suckewer
  • January 19, 2017: Updated by Michael Quiet: Corrected truss type; This was a Inverted bowstring truss, not a lenticular
  • January 18, 2017: Updated by Luke: Added categories "Columbia Bridge Works", "D.H. Morrison"

Related Bridges 



Main Street Bridge (Older)
Posted September 27, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Also, supposedly, Washington Roebling (John's son) worked for CBW based on info in this link: http://www.douglascoulter.com/BridgeSigns/columbia_bridge_co...

If so, I'd be curious as to who influenced who...


Art S.

Main Street Bridge (Older)
Posted September 27, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

I had a bunch of pictures of this and other CBWs that I lost years ago. I came upon the viewer slide recently which so I thought I'd post.

The inverted bowstring is interesting. Its essentially a suspension bridge, with the 'bow' in tension but, unlike a suspension bridge, it doesn't need anchors for the suspension 'bow' beyond the bridge like modern suspension bridges because the top chord is in compression and keeps the endposts standing.

A true structural analysis would be interesting.


Art S.

Main Street Bridge (Older)
Posted January 19, 2017, by Michael Quiet (mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com)

This is a neat find, its a shame that it didn't survive.

The design looks like a lenticular cut in half, but its actually an Inverted Bowstring truss, an obscure type of which only three remain, all in Ohio. Here's a remaining all metal example: