My only regret is that it took me so long to realize how much I loved bridges.
It seems like a lot of folks on here had their realization early on in life that they had an affinity for the subtle beauty of bridges. Me? Not so much. I always had a fascination with bridges growing up, primarily covered bridges. However it was merely a passing interest in their historical nature, concepts like differing truss styles never even occurring to me. I would always go out of my way to see covered bridges however, and it was a daily delight that my daily commute to college required crossing a covered bridge
During my college years for my photography course I did a segment on bridges, cataloging what are now to me gems, such as Vermont’s longest Paddleford Truss covered bridge, the Sanborn Bridge in Lyndonville, VT. Again though, my interest was primarily in the bridges historical nature and all the details of the bridge otherwise being lost on me.
Then one day in the summer of 2013 everything changed.
I was driving in northeastern Vermont, just cruising about. On the Vermont roadmap there was a historical marker in Highgate falls for a “parabolic bridge”. I was close by, and I was curious what a parabolic bridge was, so we made course for the small town. My minds eye determined that this “parabolic” bridge was some modern creation, as a shape like that is never something I would expect to be old.
While driving along I spotted an old bypassed metal bridge, and decided to stop. As I approached the bridge it dawned on me that it was unlike any old metal bridge I had ever seen, as it wasn’t trapezoidal like all the other bridges I was used to. It then dawned on me, admiring the distinctive upper and lower chords, that this was the parabolic bridge that I was searching for. As I began to cross the bridge I looked up at the Berlin Iron Bridge Co. builders plaque, I was stopped by the build date: 1887
How could such an beautiful, gracefully elegant, and complicated bridge have been built in 1887? It didn’t make any sense to me at the time (Mind you I grew up in Vermont, where covered bridges continued to be constructed well into the early 1900’s, so I had no experience with early iron bridges). I became obsessed with this bridge, slowly learning the distinctions of the truss type, concepts such as pin-connected versus riveted, and terms such as “hangers” and “chords”.
Since then my life hasn't been the same. As I learned of the lenticular truss I had to learn about other trusses (as the lenticular truss can employ either Pratt or Warren webbing), and my interest branched out to the truss bridges. I now enjoy investigating and cataloging all types of truss bridges, metal or wooden with a mostly equal level, with a continued special interest in the lenticular truss.
Happy bridge hunting!
Bardwell's Ferry BridgeBardwell's Ferry Bridge (Franklin County, Massachusetts)
Grantville Road BridgeGrantville Road Bridge (St. Lawrence County, New York)
Old Elm Ridge Road BridgeOld Elm Ridge Road Bridge (Jefferson County, New York)
Janice Peaslee BridgeJanice Peaslee Bridge (Coos County, New Hampshire)
South Washington Street Parabolic BridgeSouth Washington Street Parabolic Bridge (Broome County, New York)
Kinderhook Creek BridgeKinderhook Creek Bridge (Columbia County, New York)
Water Street BridgeWater Street Bridge (Cortland County, New York)
Keeseville Suspension BridgeKeeseville Suspension Bridge (Essex County, New York)
Pineground BridgePineground Bridge (Merrimack County, New Hampshire)
Yaleville Road BridgeYaleville Road Bridge (St. Lawrence County, New York)
Livermore Falls BridgeLivermore Falls Bridge (Grafton County, New Hampshire)
Delage Farm Road BridgeIron Furnace Bridge (Grafton County, New Hampshire)
Aiken Street BridgeAiken Street Bridge (Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
If my eyes don't deceive me that looks like a Truesdell truss. The design & details look pretty close to the remaining example up in NH:
It looks more like the bypass date is wrong. Checking with the topographical maps it shows this bridge as the crossing until the 1939 topo. In the 1941 topo the bridge is still indicated, but has been bypassed with the current alignment. It looks like the original bypass bridge was replaced in 1965. It would be correct then to indicate that this bridge was bypassed c. 1940
It therefore seems highly unlikely this structure saw any trolley service. From what I can tell the Amherst Sunderland Street Railway only came into existence in 1896, which is well after this bridge was fabricated. And given its light build it doesn't seem suited for trolley service (and would also explain the earlier bypass date).
Here's a nice history of the trolley system:
A big thank you to Spicer Sigman for providing photos and for the tremendous effort in saving this beauty. The fact that it was hot riveted during its restoration goes well beyond what we see in most restorations.
Hats off to you sir!
The bridge might already have been removed before '36. It looks like the preferred crossing for the MEC became the current bridge at Fairfield when that was built in 1916, making the crossing in question redundant. I haven't been able to find any info on its fate though
It sounds like it might have been shortened to fit this crossing, as that would explain the extra bridge parts lying around. That would also explain why this only has 1 set of counters (if it was the first panel of a longer pratt pony), and also why its disproportionately tall for being such a short span.
Jeremy, if you can ever snag a picture or two of that parts pile that would surely help with figuring out the story behind this. In any event its certainly a neat little bridge!
In a Queenpost layout, the diagonals aren't critical to overall function of the bridge, so you can get away with a configuration like this. Without them, the verticals act solely in tension for supporting the load applied to the deck. It creates a more uneven application of stress to the endposts like this, but it still works fine. Quite a few covered Queenposts have empty center panels as well.
I wish my driveway had one of these :)
For Maine this might actually count as 'preservation', as the bridge is still mostly intact. Generally they are imploded and sent off to the scrapheap. At least there is still a option of rehabilitation/reuse right now, although given the states approach for historic bridges I'd say the chances are negligible and this will eventually be scrapped or just rust away
Its a shame, this would make a great pedestrian bridge. And there are only about a dozen of these American Bridge/United Construction Co. structures left.
Well I'll be! I'd be curious if it was still lurking there since the entire segment of road was abandoned. Next time I make it down to Rockingham County I'll make sure to check up on it.
I concur Royce, I can't find anything to line this up with either. I'd opt for junking the entry.
In my travels I've found quite a few Pin-connected railroad bridges where the first panel or two of the bottom chord is a built up compression member, so it was likely an original feature. I always figured it was due to the heavier/faster rolling stock that was expected where the last panels needed to handle compression forces. I've yet to see a highway bridge with this arrangement.
Townsfolk got their options for what kind of boring prefabricated bridge they want to replace the historic bridge...Looks like they want an arch bridge:
Missing is option #9 to recognize the historic value of this bridge and to rehabilitate and preserve it.
Julie, you can count me in for any projects up here in New England! I can think of quite a few gems that need restoration/preservation up here, and I'd be happy to team up to make sure we don't loose 'em!
This was a fascinating bridge to visit, as this had signs of quite a interesting past. Originally built as a 2 span bridge, when its central pier was washed out in the 1890s it had a arch added and became a single span. It looks like they also rebuilt the truss to make this work, as the compression members in the middle of the bridge were turned around so they would appropriately transfer the load as a single span, instead of being its designed 2 span. When the arch was deleted and the pier re-added in the 50's they re-corrected the compression members, restoring it to a 2 span orientation. You can see signs of this in photos 45, 46, and 47, where empty slots indicate that the diagonal compression members in the middle panels were previously oriented in the opposite direction.
Or people could, you know, stop posting copyrighted images? That would be a win-win for stopping the debate and keeping us out of trouble
Right on the main page it says that it isn't a search engine and that you shouldn't assume that the returned images are under a CC license. I don't think its a good idea, given that the nature of this discussion is to AVOID copyright infringement, to tout it as "100% copyright-free photos"