1 vote

BO - Fairmont Fink Truss (1865)


Historical Photo

Historical Photo From HAER

License: Released into public domain


BH Photo #501366


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

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Lost three span Fink through truss bridge over Monongahela River on Baltimore & Ohio
Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia
Replaced by a new bridge in 1887
Built 1865 replacing the temporary wooden span which replaced the 1852 span lost during 1863 Civil War; Replaced 1887
- B&O Mount Clare Shops of Baltimore, Maryland
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (BO)
Fink through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.46653, -80.14762   (decimal degrees)
39°27'60" N, 80°08'51" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/573322/4368896 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 88795 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 9, 2021: New photo from Nathan Holth
  • July 9, 2021: Updated by Art Suckewer: added second to the title
  • October 1, 2020: Updated by Art Suckewer: separated the pre and post Civil War versions.
  • October 1, 2020: Updated by Luke: Added builder
  • September 27, 2020: New photos from Art Suckewer
  • August 15, 2020: Updated by Art Suckewer: Corrected truss type from Bollman to Fink
  • March 31, 2020: New photo from Luke


  • Luke
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com
  • Nathan Holth


BO - Fairmont Fink Truss (2nd)
Posted July 9, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Thanks Nathan,

The new image 6 DEFINATEY a cleaner copy of image 1.

It's rare to know coloration from old black and white photography but if you enlarge image 6, its clear (to me) that the bridge's original color scheme had at least 3 colors!

Do you or any of the railroad guys know if B&O's records of the bridge's original color scheme exist?


Art S.

B&O - Fairmont Fink Truss
Posted September 27, 2020, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

I'm not only fascinated by the structure of these early bridges but also the color.

I suspect that the tension members are white or cream but I'm not sure about the color of the compression members. I always assumed red but I would expect red to register as a deep black on old film. Also, in the first image there appears to be a third color on the endposts.

Anyone with knowledge of the color schemes or early photography care to comment?


Art S.