2 votes

BO - Monogahela River Fink Truss Bridge


Photocopied 1972 From The New World, Or The United States And Canada, London Publishing, Library Of Congress, C. 1858. View Of Fairmont Bridge

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #153882



The first all-metal bridge on the [Albert] Fink plan, its detailing infulenced the development of pin-connection in American bridges. Longest iron bridge in the United States in 1852.

Dennis N. Zembala for HAER


Lost Fink through truss bridge over Monongahela River on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
Farimont, Marion County, West Virginia
Destroyed in 1863 by the South; temporarily replaced by the north with a wooden bridge; replaced by the railroad to a similar plan but with slightly different casting shortly after the war.
Fink iron bridge built here 1852; Destroyed by the CSA 1863; Replaced by indentical structure 1865; Replaced 1887
- Albert Fink of Lauterbach, Hesse, Germany
- B&O Mount Clare Shops of Baltimore, Maryland
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (BO)
The first bridge was an Albert Fink designed iron bridge, the longest metal bridge in the US at the time it was built. It was destroyed by Confederate troops in 1863, rebuilt to the original design with slightly different castings in 1865 but replaced in 1887 when it was obsoleted by heavier equipment. The current modified Warren Truss was built in 1912.
Length of largest span: 205.0 ft.
Total length: 615.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.46659, -80.14775   (decimal degrees)
39°27'60" N, 80°08'52" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/573311/4368903 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Fairmont West
Inventory number
BH 43993 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 1, 2020: Updated by Art Suckewer: separated the pre and post Civil War versions.
  • February 26, 2020: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • February 7, 2014: Updated by Luke Harden: Added railroad
  • January 31, 2010: Added by J.R. Manning

Related Bridges 


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER WV-14 - Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Fairmont Bridge, Spanning Monongahela River, Fairmont vicinity, Marion County, WV
  • Luke
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


B&O - Monogahela River Fink Truss Bridge
Posted October 1, 2020, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Can someone remove image 4? It is of the post civil war span (slightly different structure in the castings).


The early stuff is remarkable! At least some of the images are from 1857! How confident are you in the 1863 destruction date and the 1868 replacement date? I was under the impression that the new bridge was erected in 1865 (image 4).

Note the two color paint scheme of the 1852 structure and the three color paint scheme of the replacement structure - I'd love to find a contemporary painting or reference document identifying the colors!


Art S.

B&O - Monogahela River Fink Truss Bridge
Posted March 23, 2020, by Mark Tennant (mtennant6wv [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Interested in finding any pictures of this bridge when it was replaced in May 1863 with an all timber bridge after Confederate cavalry blew bridge into river on April 29, 1863. Timber bridge used until 1865 and I believe one of three spans remained timber until 1868 when finally replaced with another iron bridge.