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Half Chance Iron Bridge

Photo 

Half chance bridge

Ben Cooper

License: Public domain: Released by author

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BH Photo #253049

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Description 

The Half Chance Iron Bridge, also known as the Half-Chance Bridge, is a historic single span wrought iron bridge located near the small community of Half Chance, between the towns of Linden and Dayton in rural Marengo County, Alabama. It is on Marengo County Road 39 over Chickasaw Bogue Creek. The bridge is the oldest surviving iron bridge in Alabama, making it an important transportation and engineering landmark for the state. Half Chance Iron Bridge is a 12-foot (3.7 m) wide tied-arch bridge with a span of 100 feet (30 m). It was built by the King Iron Bridge Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio in 1880. King Iron Bridge Manufacturing Company was founded in 1871 by Zenas King. As early as 1878 it was manufacturing many types of truss, combination, and wooden bridges and by the 1880s it was the largest highway bridge works in the United States.

Derelict; reported to have collapsed in a flood shortly before 2011 or 2012, and it is completely gone from the site as per satellite imagery. There is a slight chance that it was removed from the site for eventual restoration, but if this is the case, information regarding this has yet to be found.

Facts 

Overview
Bowstring arch bridge over Chickasaw Bogue Creek
Location
Marengo County, Alabama
Status
Destroyed by flooding
History
Built 1880, lost c.2008-2010
Builder
- King Iron Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio [also known as King Bridge Co.]
Design
Bowstring through truss.
From NRHP: Half-Chance Bridge is a single span wrought iron arch on Marengo County Road 39 near Dayton. The main arch span of the bridge is 100 feet while the overall length including approaches is 217 feet. The bridge is 12 feet wide and the roadbed is twenty-eight feet above the waters of the Chickasaw Bogue Creek. The wooden plank roadbed is suspended from the overhead arches by seven iron tension rods in a bowstring type pattern on each side. Three iron crossbeams support the arches at and near their vertex. The abutments supporting the arches each consist of two thirty inch steel columns. The approaches consist of a wooden roadbed over an iron pony truss.
The bridge is located in a scenic rustic setting surrounded by large hardwood trees and slightly rolling hills. After restoration, Half-Chance Bridge will become the focal point of a historic-recreational facility.
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 100.0 ft.
Total length: 217.0 ft.
Deck width: 12.0 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 14, 1972
Also called
Half Chance Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+32.31102, -87.69975   (decimal degrees)
32°18'40" N, 87°41'59" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/434128/3575125 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Thomaston West
Inventory numbers
NRHP 72000166 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 56136 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 7, 2013: Updated by Zachary S: Update from James McCray, bridge reported to have collapsed during a flood before 2011-2012
  • May 1, 2013: Updated by Zachary S: Copied info from LandmarkHunter

Sources 

Comments 

Half Chance Iron Bridge
Posted May 5, 2013, by james mccray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Unfortunately I called the local historical department in 2011 or 2012 and inquired about this bridge and they told me that it collapsed in a flood and the remains are in the creek. If that is so, it is sad, but if scrappers have not got to it, maybe someone can salvage the remains--hint, hint......

This I wonder though, for the Northport Bowstring Bridge. That bridge was originally a four span bowstring bridge. Only one is said to still remain, i.e., the preserved one in Northport, AL. I wonder if this bridge (Half Chance) is one of those "missing" spans. Then I will go further.....what happened to the other 2 spans if this is one of them?

Half Chance Iron Bridge
Posted May 1, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Appears to show up in current Bing imagery but sure looks to be gone when viewed in GE.

Let's just hope it shows up in a park somewhere.

Half Chance Iron Bridge
Posted May 1, 2013, by Luke Harden (lukemh9 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Landmarkhunter and Bridgehunter are two different sites, so leave your entry up, and copy info from the entry over on LH to your entry on here.

Half Chance Iron Bridge
Posted May 1, 2013, by Zachary S

Hm... very interesting! I just checked over several local news articles, as it does appear via Register notes and G.E. imagery as though the 1880 bridge might've been moved, but it's looking as though the restored bridge in Northport was found in the woods probably in the same county (thus being from Tuscaloosa county, I would wager) crossing the Black Warrior River; this is a couple of counties north of Marengo, where the 1880 bridge - crossing a smaller creek - is/was. The two do look strikingly similar, though, and I would hope that the 1880 bridge met a happier fate than many others of its ilk.

On a side note, I found that this bridge is already listed on LandmarkHunter. Is there a way to merge the entries, if the bridge is notable enough to deserve a page on this side of the site, or should I delete this entry from BridgeHunter?

Half Chance Iron Bridge
Posted May 1, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I am completely unfamiliar with the geography of Alabama, but could this bridge be the same as this one?

http://bridgehunter.com/al/tuscaloosa/northport/

The dates do not agree, but the bridges are very similar. Also, the Northport Bridge was moved in 2008, which would be in accordance with the Google Earth Imagery.

Half Chance Iron Bridge
Posted May 1, 2013, by Zachary S

I was unable to locate the bridge in a recent very high definition update to Google Earth imagery, despite no sources indicating its removal or otherwise loss. Photos indicate a rather derelict appearance which may suggest that it may unfortunately join the ranks of other lost historic bridges throughout the state. I'm fairly positive I can pick it out, along with the old road bed that led to it, in the 2006 set of Google Earth images, but it appears to be completely absent as of 2012 or 2013. There seemed to be a passing mention in a NRHP report of at least some notion of relocating and restoring it one day, but I can't find any documentation to suggest that this was ever done.