3 votes

Capon Lake Bridge



Photo taken Oct. 2004 by Kevin M. Byrne

BH Photo #109023

Street Views 

Statement of Significance 

Written by Nathan Holth (HistoricBridges.org)

The following text is an excerpt from comments I submitted to the National Park Service regarding the nomination which proposes to list this bridge in the National Register of Historic Places.

The South Branch Bridge is an extremely old and rare example of a pin-connected Whipple (Double-Intersection Pratt) through truss that also has several unusual and distinctive construction details. The bridge’s trusses are listed as being originally built in 1874, and I found a source that suggested the bridge may have been moved to its current location in 1938. The potential relocation of this bridge, particularly so many decades ago, in my opinion does not disqualify the bridge for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Pin-connected truss bridges were noted for the ease in which they could be disassembled and relocated, a unique trait not shared by most other bridge types. It was common many decades ago, when they became insufficient for their original location, to relocate and reuse pin-connected truss bridges at other locations where the bridge could still be useful. This is part of their history.

Nationwide, only a very small number of metal truss bridges date to before 1880. The South Branch Bridge’s 1874 construction date thus places it among the oldest surviving metal truss bridges in the county. In addition, bridges built before 1880 were built in a period of experimentation and development of the metal truss bridge in the United States that tapered off by the early 1880s as builders gravitated toward more reliable standardized designs. During this period of experimentation, different builders experimented with a variety of creative and unusual designs, form the overall truss design down to specific construction details. The South Branch Bridge displays some of these unusual construction details. The composition of the built-up top chord and end post follows an unusual design. The use of “threaded rod with nut” connections on the top chord are also non-standard truss details. At the same time, the bridge displays some of the details that would continue to be seen in the more standardized trusses of the 1880s. These details include the use of traditional pin connections on the bottom chord, as well as the overall Whipple truss configuration.

As a result, the South Branch Bridge is historically and technologically significant because it documents the period of transition from experimentation to standardization of metal truss bridge construction in the United States. In addition, the bridge’s Whipple truss configuration, generally reserved for spans in excess of 140 feet, (the Single Intersection Pratt truss was usually used for shorter spans) is today a rare truss configuration both nationwide and in West Virginia.


Whipple through truss bridge over Cacapon River, just off WV 259
Hampshire County, West Virginia
Open to pedestrians only
Originally built 1874 near Romney; relocated here in 1938
- Penn Bridge & Machine Works of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
- Penn Bridge Co. of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
- T.B. White & Sons of New Brighton, Pennsylvania
Whipple through truss
Length of largest span: 176.0 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 15, 2011
Also called
South Branch Bridge
Romney Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.15854, -78.53486   (decimal degrees)
39°09'31" N, 78°32'05" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/712997/4337264 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Yellow Spring
Inventory numbers
NRHP 11000929 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 35126 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 25, 2018: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • August 25, 2016: New photos from Steve Conro
  • August 16, 2016: Photo imported by Dave King
  • December 24, 2015: Updated by Art Suckewer: Added builder and dimentions based on National Historic Register filing
  • December 1, 2011: Essay added by Nathan Holth
  • April 19, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • January 19, 2007: Posted photo from Kevin M. Byrne



Capon Lake Bridge
Posted December 24, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

More likely they just had similar designs... the additional photos in the nomination which were not available when I earlier commented on this bridge, show a more traditional design of lower chord connection than Columbia Bridge Works ever used in this period. I have only seen one other bridge from this period of Penn Bridge, although my findings was the company at the time was T. and S. White, for Timothy B. White and Samuel P. White, not just T B White.


Capon Lake Bridge
Posted December 24, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

While it looks like a CBW, it was erected by T.B. White and Sons:


Is it possible they were initially buying kits from other fabricators and simply erectors until they moved across the river and became Penn Bridge Co.?

Capon Lake Bridge
Posted September 2, 2015, by Nathan Holth (nathan [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

If you actually want to see real photos of this bridge they are here... the bridge is altered, but top chord end post looks much like Columbia Bridge Works https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Whipple_Truss_%2...