BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 247

While we are looking at the flooding events of 1993 and 2008 in the United States that impacted historic bridges, this month of June also marks a somber anniversary. 10 years ago this month, the Great Flood of 2013 occurred in much of Germany. It was the second “century flood” in 11 years. And while the Great Flood of 2002 devastated the eastern half of Germany and Eastern Europe, destroying hundreds of bridges and tens of thousands of homes, putting cities such as Dresden, Magdeburg and Hamburg almost completely underwater, the Great Flood of 2013 was less severe as residents and city governments were much more prepared for such an event, having built dikes and flood control systems, having built bridges that withstand the floodwaters, and in worst cases, having forced residents in low-lying areas to relocate on a permanent basis. However, unlike the Great Flood of 2002, cities in other regions who did not feel the rath of Mother Nature got it head-on with the one in 2013.

Apart from Glauchau, Chemnitz, and Leipzig-Halle, floodwaters also reached Jena, in eastern Thuringia. There, half of the city center of the university community of 130,000 was underwater, together with 70% of the Saale River Valley going south, including the main north-south artery, the Stadtrodaer Strasse (Highway B88), as well as parts of Burgau and Lobeda- both located in the South of Jena.

And this is where this pic comes in, to show how severe the flooding was during that time. This is one of the Alte Burgauer Brücke spanning the River Saale in the suburb of Burgau. The six-span stone arch bridge was built in 1546, was destroyed towards the end of World War II in 1945 and was left as bridge ruins during the East German era. It wasn’t until 1999 when reconstruction started and the bridge was restored in-kind to its original form. The bridge reopened in 2004 with a celebration and since then, only bikes and pedestrians are allowed to use the bridge. A book on the history and restoration of the bridge came out four years later.

For Jena, this was the first major flooding event since 1994, when the same area was completely under water. For me, as I have seen many floods, including the ones from 1993, the Red River of the North floods of 1997 and the one from 2002, this brought back memories, especially seeing places that are under water and watching the massive amounts of water flow downstream but not before taking out homes and businesses in the process. But more painful is the process of rebuilding and finding ways to avoid a repeat in the future. Especially in a densely populated Germany is this a problem because of the amount of red tape a person has to go through in order to have a permit to even rebuild what was lost.

Despite this typical German bureaucracy, one thing remained the same- that people worked together to keep the floodwaters out and also to rebuild. This sense of solidarity is something that is missing in today’s hectic society where every man is for himself, yet it’s part of the concept we all need to learn, regardless of circumstances- common sense. From my perspective it means the following:

Common sense is not just holding the door open for others to pass

It’s not just saying please and thank you

It’s not just wishing someone a nice day, regardless of who you meet.

Common sense is nothing more than empathy-

A process of understanding the person’s problems

A process of helping the person when it’s needed

A process where we treat everyone with respect and decency.

Without empathy we have no solidarity

We have no democracy

We have no system which makes things work

Regardless if it’s a state or a neighbor.

Empathy is everything.

My take on flooding and the sense of empathy, which is badly needed in light of what is happening.


Like the Great Flood of 2002, many bridges were damaged or destroyed. The hardest hit areas were the ones along the Zwickau Mulde River, where one in every five bridge was hit. This included the structure south of Glauchau in the village of Wernsdorf, which was built in 1953. After sustaining extensive damage, it was replaced in 2016 with the present-day structure, known by many today as “The Wave.” Information and photos of “The Wave” can be found in Glauchau’s Bridge Tour Guide, which you can click on the link below:

Link: The Bridges of Glauchau (Saxony), Germany


Historic Carollton Covered Bridge Restored after Fire

Source: Brian M. Powell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

VOLGA, WEST VIRGINIA (USA) — After almost six years, the Carrollton Covered Bridge in Barbour County has been officially restored to its former glory. Originally built in 1856, the bridge was heavily damaged in an August 2017 fire, and at that time, was only restored enough to make it usable. The most recent restoration project, which began in July 2022, brings the bridge back to the former glory that got it on the National Register of Historic Places. (….)

Read more about it through a WBOY article here:

Updates from the BHC/ Postcard Friday Nr. 1

With the interview on the Kingsweston Bridge in Bristol, England I did with Janet Poole posted in yesterday’s edition, we mark June with a very busy time for bridges and projects related to them in the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles. I just want to make some important announcements to inform everyone who has been following on a regular basis and those who visit from time to time.

So without further ado, here we go:


Interviews with the 2022 Bridgehunter Award Winners

This June will feature the interviews with the winners of the 2022 Bridgehunter Awards. Apart from the Kingsweston Bridge, which won in the category Endangered TRUSS, we will have interviews with the winners in the categories Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge in the Beverley Railroad Bridge in Washington, plus two people who put New Hampshire on the map- Kim Varney Chandler (whose book won in the category Best Bridge Media and Genre) and Arnold Graton (winner of Lifetime Achievement). And lastly, a combination interview with the crew saving the Sandy Hook Five-Arch Bridge and tribute to the man who started the efforts but succumbed to illness a month ago, Philip Crews. That plus more in the interview series.


BHC with new Social Pages

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is now on Mastodon. It was launched on May 11th for reasons that were too obvious- the situation with Twitter! While BHC will be keeping the Twitter page, if you want to follow the website on Mastodon, click on the link below:


Furthermore, BHC has reactivated its tumblr account so that articles can automatically be posted on the social media page. To follow that, click on the link below:


And the BHC now has a Good Reads page, with a list of bridge-related literature the author recommends. To follow that and make some suggestions, click on the link below:


You can also find it in the left side between the RSS feed and the Blogs that I Follow list.


When will we have the BHC Newsflyer Podcasts again?

Many of you are wondering why we haven’t had any BHC Newsflyer podcasts since March. The reasons are twofold. The first is the author had been battling with a series of illnesses, some of which involving the throat, which I lost my voice for extended periods of time. And while he has almost fully recovered from that, there is the second reason: When doing the podcasts, I usually use the news stories in the news feeds but also from, as most of the news stories stem from there. Currently is down as it’s undergoing an extensive makeover and it is hoped that it will be back online soon. Here’s a sample of the website under construction which you can click here. Likewise with the podcast, independent of the outcome from, I’m hoping to restart the podcast in the fall. I will let you know once the new edition is out.


Still Collecting Information for the Current News Project

I’m collecting some stories and other information on bridges that were affected by the Great Floods of 1993 and 2008 for a series by the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles. If you know of some stories of some bridges that were damaged or destroyed by the floods or have some stories involving the bridges that you would like to share on BHC, please click on the link and use the contact details provided below to submit your stories and photos. I’ve already written some stories of the flood disasters affecting four bridges with more to come later on this month. You can find them in the second link below.

Link 1:

Link 2:


And for the Book on Schleswig-Holstein’s Historic Bridges

I’m still collecting photos, postcards and other information on bridges in the northernmost state in Germany for a book I’m writing. The structure and outline are in place and I have started profiling some of the bridges. If you have some bridges you want to see added to the book, let alone photos and postcards, use the link below. There you will find what I need and my contact details.

Link: Book Project on Schleswig-Holstein’s Bridges Underway: Now Accepting Information, Photos and Stories


Postcard Friday

And now you are wondering why this postcard appeared at the top of the page. Beginning today and every Friday, the BHC will feature a vintage postcard of the historic bridges, regardless of where it is located. Like with Pic of the Week, there will be a page and gallery devoted to this topic. If you have a postcard you wish to see profiled and added to the gallery, please use my contact details and send it. If possible only in JPEG.

The first postcard on Friday is in reference to the article I posted on the Petersburg Road Bridge in Jackson, Minnesota. It’s the second of three crossings that used to cross the Des Moines River on Petersburg Road in the south end of town and is one which was the only one of its kind that existed in Jackson County. It was a two-span Bowstring Arch Bridge that had a through arch and a pony arch span. It was built in 1881 after flooding wiped out its predecessor, a wooden bridge built around 1867. Raymond and Campbell were the contractors for the bridge. The bridge was in service until it was replaced by the Pratt through truss span in 1907. That bridge lasted until its removal in 1995. When I wrote a book on Jackson County’s bridges in 2007, the museum found this postcard and brought it to my attention. This was one I never knew about but when we think of Jackson County, aside from the Petersburg Bridge, we had some structures along the West Fork Des Moines River where we had some memories, such as the State Street Bridge at Ashley Park or the Milwaukee Viaduct (aka Black Bridge). But nothing as rare as this gem.


2022 Bridgehunter Award Winner: Endangered TRUSS- Kingsweston Iron Bridge in Bristol, England

Interview with Janet Poole

As announced a few weeks ago, this month, the Month of June, we will be featuring interviews with the winners of the 2022 Bridgehunter Awards, providing you with some insight on the projects involving historic bridges that won them international recognition and accolades for their fine work. It is hoped that the interviews will give some of you an incentive with your projects, whatever that may be.

We will start with our winner of the 2022 Bridgehunter Awards in the category Endangered TRUSS which got much more than just international recognition. The Kingsweston Iron Bridge is a pedestrian cast iron deck arch bridge that spans the road bearing the name in Bristol, England. It was built in 1820 and is one of the oldest cast iron bridges in the UK. It’s 31 years older than the World’s first cast iron bridge at Coalbrookdale. And while that bridge has been considered an international landmark, this bridge, this one has been a center of a struggle between the City of Bristol who have kept the bridge closed for almost a decade and a group that wants the bridge repaired and reopened.

The bridge under scaffolding


I conducted an interview with Janet Poole, who has been leading the initiative to save and reopen the Kingsweston Iron Bridge in Bristol. She brought the bridge to our attention when it was nominated last fall. The bridge not only won the Endangered TRUSS Award; it also received much-needed funding to repair and reopen the bridge, even though construction is expected to begin in 2024.

First of all congratulations on your double-win: winning the 2022 Bridgehunter Awards in the category Endangered TRUSS and secondly, for receiving the much-needed funding approval to restore the historic iron bridge. How has been the general reaction for the double win?

Locals were delighted to win the Endangered Bridge Award; it came not long after planning was finally approved for the repair and reopening of our much-loved Iron Bridge Kingsweston.  We ended the year on a high which was great. 


The bridge is small and from an outsider’s point of view, not as well known as the Coalbrookdale Iron Bridge, for example. Can you tell us more about the bridge in terms of its history, its historic significance and anything of importance you want us to know about?

The bridge was built in 1820 to protect pedestrians crossing between two green spaces, Blaise Estate and Kingsweston House.  Over 200 years later it is vital that the bridge is reopened as soon as possible, traffic has increased substantially in the area.  There is also a local Secondary School nearby and like most young people around the world, the students seem oblivious to the dangers as they cross with earphones plugged in.  The whole area is an accident waiting to happen. 

Historic photo


The bridge has been shut down for eight years and was even scaffolded. Can you tell us what happened there?

In early November 2015, the bridge was hit by a high-sided vehicle, unfortunately no details of the driver or company were taken, which meant no insurance claim could be made.  The bridge had been jarred and to protect it scaffolding was erected, this however led to the lowering of the hight gap and sadly the bridge was struck a further two times.  Locals were not happy with the scaffolding and suggested not allowing access to high-sided vehicles, unfortunately this plea fell on deaf ears, thus the further two strikes.   


Putting scaffolding on a pedestrian bridge with trucks passing underneath it poses an even graver danger of the structure being hit. Why do that? Has the Bristol City Council even taken that into consideration?

Due to the bridge being Grade II listed (the building has particular historic and/or architectural significance, and is subject to regulations which protect its unique character), all plans needed to be approved by Historic England (a public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment. They protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation), the initial plans put forward were space age and not in keeping with the local area and so were rejected.  Locals believe that this was just a time-wasting exercise by Bristol City Council and that there was never any intention to repair and reopen the bridge.  


Despite the plans to restore the bridge, the city council has been slow to do anything about the bridge restoration. What have been the causes of such a delay?

In spring 2022 local councilors refused to support the local government budget for the coming year if finances to repair the bridge were not included.  Their tactic worked and £700 000 has been ringfenced for the Iron Bridge and when new plans were submitted in late 2022, they were approved by Bristol Planning Committee as well as Historic England.   


Goal Ferry Suspension Bridge


Another bridge being restored in Bristol, the Goal Ferry Suspension Bridge, has suffered a tremendous setback because of the discovery of corrosion of the steel components. Can you tell us more about this and how it has impacted on the plans to restore the Kingsweston Iron Bridge?

The Goal Ferry Bridge is a well-used foot and cycle bridge. When inspected, it was found to be in a very poor condition in need of structural repairs, it is very close to the city centre and was used by many hundreds of people every day to get in and out of the city.  Unfortunately, Bristol City Council seems reluctant to spend any money on maintenance and upkeep of all these historical structures, preferring to focus on vanity projects that are not popular with locals.  This bridge will also need to have extensive repairs that must be approved by Historic England, it appears that there will be a very long delay before work is undertaken and the bridge reopened.  


In your opinion, has there been an attempt by the government where less money is being spent on historic bridges and there is an attempt to neglect them to a point where they need to be torn down and replaced? This practice has been well-known and documented in the United States and Canada.

There is a lack of concern for the lovely, old, historical and much-loved structures that adorn our city. 


And what’s the sentiment among the people toward this bridge?

The sentiment by local people about the Iron Bridge is one of frustration, anger and disbelief that something like this can take almost 8 years and still nothing has been achieved. 


How long will it take before the historic bridge is opened to traffic again?

We have been promised that it will be open for use by the end of 2024, we still have a long wait ahead of use.  We continue to keep the bridge in the public eye with protests, emails, radio and TV interviews etc.   Thank you for giving us a platform to tell our story. 


No Problem. Last question: If you have any advice to groups wishing to restore a unique historic bridge like the Kingsweston Iron Bridge, what would you give them and why?

My advice for anyone in a similar situation would be to raise a bit of money, approach Historic England and ask them to draw up a suitable plan that can be presented to the local council.  Also never ever give up.  


Thank you Janet Poole for taking the time to answer some questions and again, congratulations on receiving the Endangered TRUSS Award. Best of luck in the restoration efforts.



You can follow their progress on their facebook page, Save the Kingsweston Iron Bridge, which you can click here.

Your bridge matters. ❤ 🙂


Car-Bridge Accident at Greisemer’s Covered Bridge in Berks County, PA

Built in 1868, the covered bridge is one of five left in the county. Has been listed on the National Register since 1981. Bridge closed until further notice. Details on the accident in the article above.


BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 246 (Tribute to David Backlin)

Mystery Bridge Nr. 197

The second of the two Snyder Park Bridges is also a mystery bridge. Yet the question when taking a look at the two is which one is the more glamorous of them? After looking at the unique Stone Arch Bridge in our last Mystery Bridge post, we have this one: The Snyder Memorial Bridge.

Spanning Buck Creek on Snyder Park Road, the Memorial Bridge is a combination of iron and steel bridge that has a little European flavor to it. According to Nathan Holth, the bridge was built in 1897 but it is unknown who had built it. It features an arch span that is half pony and half deck. It also has a Pratt pony truss span whose endposts are vertical and have ornamental castings.

Looking at it from an expatriate’s point of view, these have the features of a typical truss and arch bridge built in Germany. As reference, one needs not to look further than the Levansau Arch Bridge in Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein. Built in 1894, it was one of two bridges built by Hermann Muthesius over the Baltic-North Sea Canal, yet when it was built, it featured a combination through truss with Howe features, plus an arch span that was half pony-half deck. Its portal bracings were more ornate than this one at Snyder Park- as it featured brick arch portals with decorative features. A postcard of the bridge can be found here:

In 1952, the bridge was stripped down to the arches, eliminating the portals and the trusses. The bridge is still serving traffic, but its replacement is just around the corner and the structure is expected to be torn down by 2028.

Going back to the Snyder Memorial Bridge, the design of the bridge is definitely one that is typical of European bridges and like the truss bridges in the States, they too are becoming rare to find. What is known are the bridge railings that are outside the trusses and carry a wooden pedestrian path. These railings have an arched lattice design with vertical posts with decorative castings. According to Mr. Holth, the railings were patented by Chester B. Albree, who had a company based in Pittsburgh, PA. Established in 1893, Albree’s railings were used extensively in western Pennsylvania and were common on many structures throughout the US. Yet it is unknown whether he installed the railings to this bridge when it was built four years later.

As mentioned in the previous post, John and David Snyder created the 217-acre park that featured a combination of forests, ponds and even a golf course in 1895, yet they endowed a bond worth $200,000 to ensure of the park’s upkeep and paid $25,000 for the construction of the bridge. It is unknown who was the bridge builder and whether Mr. Albree constructed the railings for the bridge, the entire structure itself or if he had nothing to do with it.

And this is where you are up. What do we know about the bridge? Feel free to comment in the section below. The same applies to the stone arch bridge that was posted a day ago. Your bridge matters and we look forward to hearing about it.

David Backlin photographed the bridge in 2018 when it was closed to vehicular traffic. Pedestrians and cyclists however can use the bridge.


This was the last one in the series dedicated in memory of David Backlin. There will be more to come yet they will be integrated with those posted by the author and other bridgehunters and in its usual time slot of once a week on Mondays. We just want to showcase his work as a way of saying thank you for what you did as a bridge photographer and contributor. You will be missed.

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 245 (Tribute to David Backlin)

One of the places a person should visit while in Ohio is the city of Springfield in Clark County. With a population of 58,760 inhabitants, Springfield is notable for its historic city center, Wittenberg University and Snyder Park, where this stone arch bridge is located. According to Ohio History Connection

“Snyder Park is located within walking distance from downtown Springfield. It was created in 1895 as a gift from local businessmen, John and David Snyder and it was designed by landscape architect, Herman Haerlin. The park offers lagoons, walking paths and a public bandstand.”

The park has a stone gateway arch located at the entrance and is only a few minutes walk from the historic downtown.

It is unknown whether Herman Haerlin was behind the design and construction of this masonry stone arch bridge that spans a small stream or whether one of his associates was creative enough to construct it. But it’s one of two Snyder Park bridges one has to see. The bridge is between 30 and 40 feet long and is quite wide. The bridge has seen some company as we see in the pic Mr. Backlin took in 2018 with the heron underneath the structure. Given its location in the forest, the bridge has a great setting and makes it a delight for tourists and photographers alike. It’s one that is not mentioned on any bridge websites but should because of its historic significance.

This is the 196th Mystery Bridge in the series.