In 1907 the bridge began carrying trolley traffic but was deemed insufficiently strong to carry the load. Due to a political disagreement as to what type of bridge should be used in its replacement, a 'temporary' reinforcement in the form of a Baltimore through truss was built around the existing Whipple in 1912. The 'temporary' reinforcement stood for over 102 years.
I've been doing some homework on the family and companies and have some ideas, including the founding date of T.B. White's company but would like get more evidence before posting, as the HAER Williams Road Bridge data you posted doesn't yet make sense to me. Why would Samuel White (Penn Bridge Co.) build a Phoenix Column bridge when he was building bridges to his own distinct style (such as Wiley's and Fallston) at the time?
This bridge was built by a company whose name history is confusing and both on this website and my own HistoricBridges .org, this has resulted in what could only be called a "category mess" on both websites. I have tried to piece together the convoluted history:
It appears that T. B. White and Sons of New Brighton, Pennsylvania formed ca. 1868 when Timothy B. White began building iron bridges (he had previously built bridges but apparently only timber). Apparently the company was officially called T. B. White and Sons but as the plaque on Mead Avenue Bridge shows it was sometimes titled as Penn Bridge Works. Ca. 1878 it appears the company moved to Beaver Falls following a fire at New Brighton. However, it is noted that the name Penn Bridge Company was formed in 1887.
See HAER data pages for this bridge: http://loc.gov/pictures/item/oh1600/
The above documentation was my source for this brief overview. Adding to the confusion with this company is a listing for T & S White and one for Samuel P. White
HAER http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/pa/pa3900/pa3994/d... provides a brief discussion of Samuel P. White, who also played a role in this company. At the age of 14, Samuel P. White (b. 1847) began working with his father, Timothy B. White, a bridge builder and contractor. When the company later moved to Beaver Falls, it fell under the management of Samuel White and his brothers.
The 1871 structure has been disassembled with intent to restore and reuse elsewhere. The 1871 components are on shore with only the 20th century components still over the water.
During disassembly, it was noted that the tolerances and material quality of the castings is extraordinary. Also, two cast structural elements were installed in the wrong position and modified on site to compensate! To me these new facts lend further credence to the theory that Keystone manufactured the entire superstructure and Penn erected it.
Feel free. I'll do my best.
Would you be willing to answer some questions I have for you regarding the Mead Avenue Bridge for an article to be written for the BH Chronicles? If so, please send me an e-mail and I'll send you some to answer. This bridge was the very first article I wrote when I opened the online column in 2010. Happy to hear that you will take care of her.
Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.
I've been reading about Keystone Column trusses and came upon this article about Jacob Linville and to me the image titled 1865 patent drawing, about half way through the article seems, to have all of the details of the 1871 portion of the Mead Ave. Bridge: http://www.structurearchives.org/article.aspx?articleID=384
The patent it refers to is US patent 50,723:
This, combined with the Union Mills marks on the iron suggest that the 1871 structure of the Mead Avenue Bridge was made by the Keystone Bridge Co. with Penn Bridge Co. acting as the erector/agent. Any thoughts on this?
Here's a concept. Repair what you have and stop the insane demolition. There must be someone in PA that is sick of looking at boring look alike slabs of concrete!
The bridge is still there as of 7/21/12. I was in Pennsylvania and drove by it. That bridge replacement sign might be there but I do not recall seeing it.
As of May 2009, the bridge was still there. I saw a sign posted during my visit to the bridge that it would take a nominal amount to save the bridge
True, although there's not much left in Pittsburgh that has anything to do with steel anymore, which seems to be true everywhere.
Many cities seem to have lost a lot of what made them famous, so to speak, since there's only one (major) brewery left in Beer City. There are't many tires being made in Akron nor pumps in Fort Wayne. Not many cars are being made in Motown anymore and the Second City? It's the Third City now. Of course, the the source of the wind in the Windy City (politicians) is still well supplied and they all still have plenty of hot air.
I have always given Pennsylvania credit because of the large number of surviving HBs in the state and the fact that many of them are actually painted. This demolition frenzy must be a fairly recent policy.
It seems ironic that a state that is so associated with iron, steel, and bridge fabrication would be so quick to remove even the most significant HBs.
Surprised it's doomed? It's in Pennsylvania. A plan to *SAVE* it...now, *THAT* would be a surprise.
This has to be one of the most historically significant truss bridges in the United States. I am surprised to see it listed in the "Doomed" Category.