1 vote

Dayton Wire Bridge


Colorized and cropped

Reflection due to being behind glass. Photo by Steve K. posted with permission.

Photo uploaded by Art S.


BH Photo #499296


Found with the help of Steve K. and the Morrison family. I had been aware of a rumored suspension bridge built in the 1850s by Morrison/CBW and a later connection with the Roeblings. However, remarkably little evidence existed beyond vague rumors.

The likely reason it was 'hidden' was because it was on Main Street in Dayton but not over the river instead it was over the canal on South Main Street!

While it follows the Roebling stayed/suspension pattern, it is different. The stayed cables are the primary support structure, not the suspension cables. This more closely resembles some period and prior spans in Scotland and France (see Bridgemiester). It would be interesting to learn if John Roebling was involved in this bridge in any way.

The other interesting aspect is the strong skew! About 30 degrees.


Lost Cable-stayed bridge over Miami & Erie Canal on South Main Street
Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio
No longer exists
Designed and built in 1857 still standing in 1892. Probably gone before the 1913 floods that closed the canal.
- Columbia Bridge Works of Dayton, Ohio
- D.H. & C.C. Morrison of Dayton, Ohio [also known as Columbia Bridge Works]
- David H. Morrison
Wire/cable suspension
A combination of wire suspension & radiating cable stayed similar to Roebling but the radiating stayed cables are dominant. Also the bridge had a significant skew - at least 30 degrees.
Also called
Morrison's Rigid Suspension Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.75112, -84.18952   (decimal degrees)
39°45'04" N, 84°11'22" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/740788/4403912 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 93254 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 3, 2021: Updated by Art Suckewer: fixed typo in the description
  • May 23, 2021: New photos from Art Suckewer
  • May 20, 2021: New photos from Art Suckewer


  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


Dayton Wire Bridge
Posted May 25, 2021, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Doesn't surprise me Art! Morrison was obviously very innovative and was always looking at new ideas and concepts for bridge construction. If I could sit down and have a conversation with any designer from that era he would certainly be at the top of the list!

Dayton Wire Bridge
Posted May 23, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


I know that a long time ago we discussed whether Morrison actually built a suspension bridge - beyond the inverted bowstrings.

I would suggest that the photo is proof.

From what I can determine, David H. Morrison had the broadest repertoire of any individual bridge builder in terms of building materials and designs: Wood truss (covered bridges), Combination (wood & iron), Stone (arches, including skewed aches), Iron wire, Iron chain, and Iron trusses (of all types, including a design of his own).

He built bridges for rail, vehicles, pedestrians and water (aqueducts).

Unfortunately, since he was so early (died in 1882, company folded early in 1890) much has been lost to history.

As far as I am aware, none of his work from the 1840s or 1850s remains; two spans are known to remain from the 1860s and everything else is from the mid 1870s and 1880s.

The more I've learned/uncovered, the more interesting CBW becomes.

There is more to come as time permits.


Art S.

Dayton Wire Bridge
Posted May 20, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

A rather special CBW of the week!

I've heard rumors of this one for a long time but couldn't prove it. I finally did! - Thanks Steve!!

Any additional info would be great! Especially if there is any connection to John Roebling.


Art S.