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!
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)
Kinderhook Creek BridgeKinderhook Creek Bridge (Columbia 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)
South Washington Street Parabolic BridgeSouth Washington Street Parabolic Bridge (Broome County, New York)
Delage Farm Road BridgeIron Furnace Bridge (Grafton County, New Hampshire)
Old Elm Ridge Road BridgeOld Elm Ridge Road Bridge (Jefferson County, New York)
Aiken Street BridgeAiken Street Bridge (Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
Found a few additional pics in my trawling of the internet. This bridge was a fascinating little bit of engineering!
We can glean a few additional facts:
-The builders plaque looks to be a Groton Bridge Co. (Fits for the area)
-The truss webbing follows a Baltimore/Pennsylvania configuration
-The upper/lower chord configurations suggests that this is operating more as a cantilever then a straight suspension. Note the inversion in both the upper and lower chords from tension/compression to compression/tension (respectively) when it comes to the suspended span (I love how easy it to see what members to what in pin-connected bridges).
Thoughts on this?
Google earth shows a replacement span being built just downstream from this truss bridge, so if its not gone it will be soon.
It a shame that this bridge was located in a state so hostile to truss bridges. At just under 1,000 feet with 5 spans this was an increasingly rare example of a long multi-span truss bridge.
Looking at the finals, portal cresting, and builder plaque style this is a Berlin Iron Bridge Co. product. Given the truss style and details I would put fabrication for this bridge around 1895-1900.
Bidding has been put out for the construction of this bridge. It'll be nice to see this one put back together!
The design of the builders plaque in the postcards clearly matches Owego Bridge Co. It also fits for the area.
Love these postcards...keep 'em coming :)
Its already in trail use on the The Mile-Around Woods Trail. Its excellent that it was saved...even if it is just over a small ditch!
Looks like the pin migrated north of where it should be. This bridge was located adjacent to the stone arch railroad bridge, and was replaced in 1930 by the Vilas Bridge. Thus it belongs in both Chesire County NH and Windham County, VT.
Here's a picture I found showing its location, you can see the arch rings of the railroad bridge in the backround.
Well preservation should trump any other concerns. If concrete is needed, lets do it and keep the bridge healthy.
That being said though, personally I would love to see stone abutments rebuilt/maintained instead of faced/replaced with concrete. I know it doesn't ding its NRHP eligibility as much, but I would argue that there is some value in the substructures defining the character of a bridge. In my time doing this I've come to truly appreciate the craftsmanship and intricacy of a stone abutment, and find concrete ones to be boring (and on older bridges distracting).
Part of the appeal of a historic bridge is its link to the past. By giving a beautiful historic bridge a support system of fresh concrete, it looses that subtle but important appeal. Even for the non-pontists, I think the stone helps show the old/historic nature better then concrete ever could.
I wasn't actually familiar with those designs...its kinda amazing how many unique designs for bowstrings occurred. Even Mosley did a few different models aside from the Hares Hill bridge:
It looked to me like the arch was a T section like the Hares Hill one, hence my leaning with that. Irregardless, its tough doing precision identification based off old postcards :P
This looks like it might be a small Mosley Lattice bowstring/arch. Compare with the last remaining example:
The date is correct, this is a rebuilt one. The original 1867 bridge was destroyed by an overweight truck in 1980.
This is about as close as you could get to the original as possible though, it was built to the speicifications of the original by a local bridgewright Arnold Graton, who constructed his bridges in the exact fashion as they would have been historically (down to building them on the ground and dragging them into position by Oxen).
Looks like an Owego Bridge Co. plaque. Given the area that would fit.
Bridge continues to be at threat for demolition, with the timetable being moved up on replacing this and its counterpart span, with construction tenativley projected for 2019-2022. This project has been moving back and forth on timing, so nothing set in stone yet.
The good news is that the new bridge will be on a completely different alignment, and at least the possibility of retaining this span for pedestrian use is on the table. This should absolutely happen, given the important historic nature of this bridge (top among them is that its one of the last Storrs designed spans left in NH)
Also noted in the article that the Vilas Bridge, a spectacular 2 span open-spandrel arch upstream, is not getting a rehabilitation anytime soon (if ever).
Good find on the builder Luke, I was curious about this one! Its a pretty remote one for Massillon as well.
Never would've guessed that this was any sort of significant, having driven by it more times then I can count. Turns out its (as far as anyone can tell) the first concrete bridge to have been built in VT. And a pre-1900 concrete bridge as well makes it a rare find. I'll have to document it the next time I'm in that area!