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LN - Henderson Bridge


Remaining pier

Photo taken by James Baughn


BH Photo #215601


This bridge was located about 90' upstream of the site of the current bridge.

The total length of this bridge (including extensive pile trestle approaches) has been stated at 27,995', (5.3 miles) but adding up the span lengths yields a length of approximately 19,650'. Either way, it would have been the longest bridge in the world at the time it was built. The bridge cost $2 million to construct.


Lost Warren through truss bridge over Ohio River on Louisville & Nashville Railroad
Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky, and Vanderburgh County, Indiana
Replaced by new bridge
Built 1885; replaced by the current railroad bridge just to the south in 1932
- Albert Fink of Lauterbach, Hesse, Germany
- Louisville Bridge & Iron Co. of Louisville, Kentucky
- Louisville & Nashville Railroad (LN)
North to south:
Pile trestle approach, 16,124'
4 deck truss spans, 117'8" each
(2)8-panel, pin-connected Warren through truss spans with alternating verticals, 246'2" each
(1)20-panel, pin-connected Warren through truss with all verticals, 521'11 3/4"
(6)8-panel, pin-connected Warren through truss spans with alternating verticals, 246'2" each
Deck truss, 117'5"
Approach viaduct consisting of 447' of iron viaduct, (3)49' spans, (3)72' spans, (1)46' span
Length of largest span: 521.9 ft.
Total length: 27,995.0 ft. (5.3 mi.)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.84591, -87.59526   (decimal degrees)
37°50'45" N, 87°35'43" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/447628/4188885 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 49751 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 4, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 4, 2022: Updated by Paul Plassman: Added detailed structural description
  • March 21, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • July 19, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • January 25, 2019: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • October 1, 2011: New photo from James Baughn

Related Bridges 



L&N - Henderson Bridge
Posted February 1, 2019, by Ian Gerard (ianagerard [at] gmail [dot] com)

I recently saw a claim by the Henderson Tourism Commission that G.W. Ferris, inventor of the Ferris Wheel, was the architect of the L&N bridge. I had previously read contradictory information, and was able to find a number of historical records confirming that the chief architect was actually F.W. Vaughan, although Ferris was his assistant.

Below are some of the excerpts I found that corroborate this.


Henderson. Suzanne Summers Thurman. Published 2008. The Gleaner. https://books.google.com/books?id=ylhYOiblGlkC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA....

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad, 1850-1963. Kincaid A Herr. University Press of Kentucky.


Great Achievements - Notable Structural Engineers. Structure Magazine. https://www.structuremag.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/D-Gr...