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Paxton Run Bridge

Photos 

Facing south

Photo taken by Jodi Christman

Enlarge

BH Photo #176356

Map 

Description 

C.V. Laughlin & J. Howard Poe rebuilt bridge in 1921.

FROM THE 1996-2001 PENNSYLVANIA HISTORIC BRIDGE SURVEY: The 2-span, 50'-long bridge was built ca. 1870 as a one-span cast- and wrought-iron Pratt pony truss bridge. According to a plaque, it was rebuilt in 1921, at which time the lower chords and floorbeams were encased in concrete and a pier added at midspan converting it to a two span bridge. The upper chord is composed of cast-iron pieces, each the length of one panel and spliced together by bolts. The cast-iron end posts are an uncommon, bowed, double I-shaped section. The cast-iron verticals are a bowed I-shaped section and are compression fitting with the upper chord. Several of the verticals have been replaced by newer I-beams, which can be identified because they are not bowed. The bridge is among the oldest metal truss bridges in the state, and although altered, it is an exceptional surviving example from the 1850s to 1870s period of innovation and experimentation in metal truss bridge technology. It illustrates the historically important transition period from wood to all iron truss bridges, before the availability of standard sizes of rolled wrought-iron shapes, such as I-beams, angles, and channels, allowed built-up wrought-iron members to replace cast iron. The cast-iron details are unique, and it is very likely that this bridge is a one-of-a-kind surviving example. The builder is undocumented by available records. The bridge has a national level of significance.

Facts 

Overview
Cast iron truss bridge over Paxton Run on Mowersville Road
Location
Franklin County, Pennsylvania
Status
Demolished.
History
Built 1897; rehabilitated 1921
Builders
- C.V. Laughlin
- J. Howard Poe
Design
Cast and Wrought Iron Pratt Pony Truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 24.0 ft.
Total length: 49.9 ft.
Deck width: 12.1 ft.
Also called
Mowersville Road Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.11528, -77.58444   (decimal degrees)
40°06'55" N, 77°35'04" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/279751/4443753 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Shippensburg
Inventory numbers
PA 28 7207 0644 3133 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
PANBI 17681 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 46070 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 12/2009)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 18.8 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2009)
222

Update Log 

  • December 26, 2012: Photo imported by Jodi Christman
  • September 4, 2012: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge has been demolished.
  • December 26, 2011: Updated by Jodi Christman: Added PA Historic Bridge Data in Description
  • December 16, 2011: Updated by Jodi Christman: Corrected orig, build date as suggested by JS
  • April 1, 2011: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Took out the lost date.......as the bridge is still extant (even if significantly altered
  • March 31, 2011: Updated by Jodi Christman: Corrected build
  • November 28, 2010: New photo from Jodi Christman
  • September 6, 2010: New photos from Nathan Holth
  • September 6, 2010: Added by Jodi Christman

Sources 

Comments 

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted December 13, 2011, by JIM STEWART (JAMES [dot] STEWART [at] TYLIN [dot] COM)

FURTHER COMMENTS:

HEAR DRAWINGS SAY THIS BRIDGE WAS BUILT 1897 (NOT 1870).

ALSO THE VERTICALS ARE BOWED, MEANING THE FLANGE WIDTH VARIES FROM 3.75" AT H/2 TO 3" AT 3H/4 (TO PROBABLY 2.25" NEAR THE TOP). SIMILARLY BELOW H/2. IF THIS IS THE CASE, IT'S NOT A ROLLED SHAPE.

IF MADE IN 1897, STEEL IS POSSIBLE FOR THE DIAGONALS AND THE BOTTOM CHORDS, ALTHOUGH HAER DRAWINGS SAY BOTH ARE WROUGHT IRON. (B. C. ARE ALSO ROLLED, S. OR W.I.)

ALSO THE BUILDER IS INDICATED AS THOMAS M. NELSON. PERHAPS AFTER NELSON & BUCHANAN PARTNERSHIP ENDED.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted December 12, 2011, by JIM STEWART (JAMES [dot] STEWART [at] TYLIN [dot] COM)

(YET ANOTHER J S COMMENTING HERE.)

ALTHOUGH THE VERTICALS LOOK LIKE ROLLED I-SHAPES IN THE PHOTOS, THE HAER DRAWINGS SHOW THEM AS CAST IRON. I CANNOT SEE HOW ANYONE MIGHT HAVE CHANGED THEM.

I'D SAY ONLY THE DIAGONALS ARE ROLLED (WROUGHT IRON). ALSO, THIS MUST HAVE BEEN A SINGLE SPAN BEFORE THE 1921 RECONSTRUCTION.

CAN ANYONE VERIFY THE TYPE OF MATERIAL IN THE VERTICALS ?

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 24, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

John: I am first sending an email to the county to see if I can get more information about funding, and then I will hopefully get something sent to you later next week.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 24, 2011, by JOHNS

THANKS I WILL BE LOOKING FOR THE INFO

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 23, 2011, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

I see it now. I haven't been up to date at the website so I didn't see it right away. Thanks. I will still commence with this bridge for the Chronicles as soon as I'm finished with exams (probably in a week or so).

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 23, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Jason, If you read the below postings, he did provide a mailing address and he says he doesn't have an email. I will see if I can send him some information. I also plan to contact the county and verify their plans.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 22, 2011, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Give us your mailing address, phone number and e-mail and I'm sure one of us can contact you regarding information on Section 106. Furthermore, if you could provide me with some info via e-mail, I can write a short FYI on this bridge for my column, the Bridgehunter's Chronicles. THanks and we'll be in touch soon. JS

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 22, 2011, by JOHN S (JOHNS)

i DO NOT HAVE EMAIL SO IF YOU COULD SEND ME ANY INFO ON HOW TO SAVE BRIDGE I WILL REPAY THE POSTAGE ALSO EXPLAIN WHAT SECTION 106 IS AND DO YOU HAVE ANY INFO ON WHAT WE WOULD HAVE TO GO THRU IF WE CAN GET COUNTY TO SELL IT TO OUR COMUNITY AS FAR AS LIABILITY ISSUES I AM SURE THIS HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE THANKS JOHN STUMBAUGH

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 21, 2011, by JOHN S (JOHNS )

WENT TO MEETING LAST NIGHT COUNTY IS BOUND AND DETERMINED TO TEAR IT OUT WE IN THE AREA WANT IT CLOSED AND LEFT FOR A FOOT BRIDGE i NEED TO FIND OUT MORE HISTORICAL INFO ON BRIDGE SO WE CAN TRY TO SAVE IT AS OF NOW THEY PLAN TO REMOVE IT BEFORE WINTER I DID SHOW THEM LIBRARY OF CONGRESS INFO ON BRIDGE BUT THEY REALLY WERN'T INTERESTED MY MAILING ADDRESS IS 15235 PAXTON RUN RD SHIPPENSBURG PA 17257

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 16, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Rolled members on an 1870 bridge? That would definitely be an early adaptation for this type of material.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 16, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

JS,

Can you provide more details, or a link to a news article about the project? Do you know what the timeframe is for the proposed project? Also, if any federal funds are involved, Section 106 must be conducted for this bridge to consider alternatives to demolition.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 16, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Is there much local support for saving this bridge? Perhaps a historical society (an active, engaging one!) that could be involved.

To me, the best thing might be to try and get the concrete removed so the trusses can be restored for a pedestrian trail or park. Hopefully the lover chord is intact, and the floor beams can be replicated to resemble original ones.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted June 16, 2011, by JS

COUNTY IS GETTING READY TO REMOVE BRIDGE ANY HELP ANYONE CAN GIVE US WOULD BE A GREAT HELP

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted April 1, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Actually, what I really need to bring is Luke and a crane, and we will pick the bridge and take it back to Michigan!

Seriously though, I will try to get some photos from under the bridge when I am there, that might be revealing as to the nature of the alteration.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted April 1, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Nathan.....It looks like you need to take along an archeological team to chip away the concrete that encases the bottom of the trusses and the lower chord. It looks like the intent was to make it a beam bridge and retain the trusses as railings of sorts. Would be nice to see what's under the concrete.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted April 1, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Jason... jokes aside, funny you mention this bridge as I have it on a to-do list for bridge trip I have planned this month.

Paxton Run Bridge
Posted April 1, 2011, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Nathan (H), if you say that this bridge is doomed on this page, I will personally fly to Michigan and...... ;-)

April Fools! :-D

This is a really beautiful bridge and I hate to see this one go in the name of progress. Nice shots, BTW. :-)

JS