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Hunter Road Bridge


Photo taken by Patrick Gurwell in September 2020


BH Photo #482073



coppied from the 2001 update of the 1987 NJ historic bridge survey

SETTING / CONTEXT The bridge is located on Howell Farm, a living history Mercer County park that documents turn-of-the-century agrarian life. Its integrity of setting is extremely well preserved. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1983, when a crack and buckling on the top chord was discovered. The bridge presently serves as a pedestrian bridge from a parking area to the farmhouse and farm-related buildings.

SUMMARY The basically unaltered 3-panel 1889 pin-connected Pratt half hip pony truss supported on ashlar abutments is individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing element to the National Register-listed Phillips Farm, now the Howell Farm county park, under Criteria A and C. The bridge is one of the most complete examples of its type in the county, and its significance is enhanced by the integrity of its well-preserved pastoral setting. One other Pratt half hip pony truss was identified (1100028), and both are evaluated as eligible.

INFORMATION Bibliography: ONJH. National Register of Historic Places File: Mercer Co.; Hopewell; Phillips Farm. Mercer County Engineers Office. File 211.13.

Physical Description: The 10 degree skew 3-panel pin-connected half hip Pratt pony truss bridge with a plank deck survives in a good state of preservation. With the exception of a floor beam replaced in 1945 and a corresponding outrigger added, the span appears to be unaltered. End posts and the spliced top chord (cracked and buckled because of corrosion and overloading) are built-up box members, and the verticals are channels with both battens and lacing. Eye bars compose the bottom chords while the diagonal and counters in the central panel are rods with loop-forged eyes. The abutments are rusticated ashlar with some concrete repairs to the south end. The one original built-up floor beam is deeper in the middle where more strength was needed. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1983 by the county. It serves as a foot bridge from a parking area to the Phillips Farm (Howell Farm) farmhouse.

Historical and Technological Significance: Few bridges in Mercer County survive in their original setting as well as the basically unaltered pin-connected half hip Pratt pony truss on the grounds of the Phillips Farm (Howell Farm), individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The 127-acre farm was donated to Mercer County in 1976 by Inez Howell for use as a living history museum that preserves turn-of-the-century farm life. She was the widow of former New Jersey Senator Charles Howell who died in 1973. The couple had purchased it as their retirement home. The farm, which includes a host of well-preserved farm related buildings and a two-section homestead that dates from both the 18th and 19th centuries, is historically associated with the Phillips family which owned it from the 1730s until the 1880s. From 1920 until 1948 it was the Cromwell dairy farm.

While the single-lane 1889 pin-connected Pratt truss (located on a now abandoned section of Hunter Road that is within the National Register-listed parcel) is not rated in the nomination, it clearly falls within the period of significance of the property. The nomination states that the farm is "unchanged since the early 20th century, including the setting" of which the bridge is a major element. The bridge is one of the most complete examples of the once-common Pratt pony truss in the area. Another well-preserved half hip Pratt pony truss is located on the Groveville-Allentown Road over Doctors Creek (1100028). It is larger, wider, and has different verticals.

Boundary Description and Justification: The bridge is located well within a 172-acre National Register-listed property. The bridge is a contributing element to that historic district. The bridge and its setting are significant.


Pony truss bridge over Moores Creek on Hunter Road
Mercer County, New Jersey
Closed to all traffic
Built 1889
- Variety Iron Works of Cleveland, Ohio
3 panel Pin-connected Pratt pony truss
Span length: 43.0 ft.
Total length: 43.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.7 ft.
Skew angle
10 degrees
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.33858, -74.89800   (decimal degrees)
40°20'19" N, 74°53'53" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/508663/4465342 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NJ 1100068 (New Jersey bridge number)
BH 25351 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 21, 2020: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • January 21, 2020: Updated by Art Suckewer: Added categories "3-panel truss", "One-lane traffic", "Wooden deck"
  • April 25, 2013: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added builder.
  • April 24, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added info