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!
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)
Bardwell's Ferry BridgeBardwell's Ferry Bridge (Franklin County, Massachusetts)
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)
Grantville Road BridgeGrantville Road Bridge (St. Lawrence County, New York)
Delage Farm Road BridgeIron Furnace Bridge (Grafton County, New Hampshire)
Aiken Street BridgeAiken Street Bridge (Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
Its a little sad to see this one moving out of NH and not being able to be restored for trail use on the PRRT, but on the other hand its a very exciting prospect for this to be restored for actual railroad (albeit narrow gauge) use. I'll definitely make the haul up to Wiscasset for this one
I haven't been able to find an age or builder for this one. The plate girder design makes it a bit harder to date as well since they didn't change much over the years, but I would say its likely from 1900-1920
Here is another significant Coös County Bridge. This is quite early for a fully riveted truss bridge, a testament to the innovative nature of the Boston Bridge Works. Its certainly among the oldest riveted bridges nationally. Its also a very early (oldest extant?) example of a Baltimore truss. Tied together, these two facts make this bridge historically and technologically significant.
Aside from that though, its quite a visually appeasing bridge. All members are built up boxes on the truss web, giving it a airy and intricate look. Given the light traffic of the NHCR this bridge should be safe for the time being
Thank you all! I too share the amazement in these finds, especially since they had managed to evade any sort of historical documentation over the years. These bridges are incredibly significant on a state, regional, and national level, so it still shocks me that no one knew about them!
Coös County turned out to be quite a treat, as there were several significant undocumented bridges aside from the already documented, but noteworthy, ones. Its a good reminder that not all the good bridges have been documented yet...There are still treasures to be had :)
This is an incredible find, thank you Tony! In all my research on Berlin Iron Bridge Co. I've never found any indication that anything had been built farther west then Ohio (Excepting Texas of course).
We can spot a few unique design details here: The compression members are rolled, not built up, and we can see that the endpost in built up with battens. Its remarkably similar to this extant one in NY:
Looks like an even longer version of this one:
The design details are quite similar, so its probably a Groton Bridge Co. production, circa 1890. Its kinda cool that more then just one of this unusual continuous pony truss was made.
The tagline for this webstite is "Historic and Notable Bridges of the U.S." and I think that it is a very good guidance of what kinds of bridges we should have on here, as it allows for a multitude of bridges from historic stone arches to notable modern cable stayed bridges. Not every bridge is historic or notable though and we need to have some consensus on what that means.
I think its a misunderstanding is that once something becomes a certain age its automatically 'historic'. That's the most rudimentary method of determining a historic status...we should be looking at several aspects including its current importance, scarcity of the design, and understanding the context of when it was built (was it a new type, was it unique, etc..). A basic stringer bridge can be historic, like this example here being quite early and from a notable builder: http://bridgehunter.com/ma/hampshire/clark-hill-road/
But a 1967 pre-stressed beam bridge? *Maybe* in a couple hundred of years if there is only a few left because the rest have been replaced by some newfangled anti-gravity bridge or something. But right now there is no historical or technological significance to this bridge, its a common and abundant type that is still being made.
Bottom line: Lets wait for these stringers & slabs to actually become historic before adding them. Unless they are truly notable in some way (as an early/extreme example of their type) we have hundreds of thousands of examples of them across the country, and they are still being built.
That's a Groton Bridge Co. production, I'd guess around 1890 based on the design details . The portal cresting is unusual, don't think I've ever seen that style used before.
Great find as always Dana!
Another success for New Hampshire's war on the legacy of John Storrs. With this we're pretty much down to the Anna Hunt, which will be coming up for replacement in the next few years http://bridgehunter.com/nh/cheshire/12500410004000/
Given how things are going I'm getting much less optimistic about the possibility of preservation.
This is a loss on several other levels, as an increasingly rare multi-span through truss, a rare product of the American Bridge/United Bridge duo, and as a survivor (2/3rds anyways) of the flood of 1936.
I think one of the problems is that this isn't a 'real' covered bridge, as it looks the National Bridge Inventory identifies this as a pre-stressed concrete beam. There are quite a few of these around, and it gets kinda tricky to assign a genuine covered bridge truss type to them as they generally are more stylized and only loosely conform to the real patterns.
Generally I try to avoid assigning historic truss types to these as I feel that it might muddy the waters for others researching/visiting genuine covered bridges. For example this one up in my neck of the woods: http://bridgehunter.com/ny/essex/kissing/ has a resemblance to a Town Lattice, but since it doesn't work as one and is only decorative I think its inappropriate to pass it off as such. Instead I simply identify it as a covered plate girder, since the actual bridge is a plate girder type. Therefore on yours I would refer to that as a Covered stringer bridge, with a notation that the roof support has a truss like appearance, as it doesn't directly conform to any genuine type.
Hope that helps!
Found a video from Alpine Construction of them putting this bridge back in place during its 2016 rehabilitation:
In my site visit I found the trusses themselves to be in very good shape for how long this bridge has been closed. As you can see in the pictures there is no signs of stress deflection/deformation in the members, and no rust/rot problems. Newspaper articles from when it was closed were not explicit about the problems this bridge had, other then it was 'unsafe'. Couldn't have been that bad, as the bridge has stood for over 30 years since its closure.
Is it just me or does that lenticular looks...off. From what I can figure, its missing an entire panel on one side. The end abutting against the covered bridge looks normal enough with the upper and lower chords meeting and the portal bracing offset. The other end has the portal bracing directly on the end, and the lower and upper chord don't come anywhere near meeting.
I'd be curious how this one came to be built like this. Maybe this was a recycled bridge cut down to fit a shorter crossing'?
Nice find Luke! Its quite interesting to see more of the Texas variety of the Lenticulars unearthed
I agree, more research is needed. But a quick thought on the width though, as I considered that as well: Since the line was operating on a curve, it would have to be wider to accommodate it. I've seen a few other examples in my time where a through railraod bridge was wider then normal to accommodate a curvature.
But either way it was definitely built for some use of the factory complex that was here.