Mystery Bridge Nr. 158: The Missing Bridge at Hemenswarft

Approximately one kilometer east of Südwesthörn along the North Sea Coast in Schleswig-Holstein is a missing bridge. The bridge is located behind the vacation home complex , Haus Hemenswarft, a combination of vacation home complex with amneties, including playground. One can see the missing piers on both sides of the stream Alte Sielzug, a waterway that empties into the North Sea but is regulated by a nearby dam at Südwesthörn. Even from the bike trail Am Seedeich, one can see the piers.

I tried to focus in on one of the piers with my Canon EOS250 camera, and it reveals that both piers were narrow, which means the bridge was probably used for pedestrians and cyclists. The width of the bridge is most likely between two and three meters. This means the most likely bet is that a beam bridge had existed because this bridge type fulfills the criteria of accommodating peds and bikers while maintaining the maximum width of the bridge. It is unlikely that other bridge types, such as arch, truss or even a covered bridge would fit over the pier unless there were additional angle supports supporting the (extended) deck. A suspension bridge or even a cable-stayed bridge would be pushing the limit for one could construct a tower and support the decking with cables, but these towers would have to be narrow but not in the way that a person cannot cross the bridge. Furthermore, it would have to accommodate the high winds and the rising and lowering tides- both are typical of the North Sea.

Nevertheless, the type of bridge is the first of the questions we have about this crossing. Even though the piers appear to be 40-50 years old, judging by their modern shapes and the material of concrete used, the question focuses on when exactly was the bridge built and by whom. And last but not least, why was the bridge removed? Because the waters of the Alte Sielzug, like the North Sea, is really salty, there is a chance that the salt ate away at the materials used for the bridge, thus making the bridge too dangerous to use because of its potential of structural failure, resulting in its removal. The road leading to the bridge has been abandoned for some time, primarily because of this route that is now being used.

To sum up:

  1. Which type of bridge was this built?
  2. When was the bridge built and by whom?
  3. What were the dimensions of the bridge?
  4. When and why way the bridge removed.

And for that, you now have the podium and know what to do in case you know more about this bridge. 🙂 Good luck and happy bridgehunting, folks.

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 161- Tribute to James Baughn

There are only a few places in the United States and Canada where over a half dozen historic bridges- those that are 70 years of age and older that are within a few minutes walk of each other. Even rarer is the fact that you can get as many bridges into one shot as possible, unless you find a great spot where you can attempt that. I tried that with the bridges on the American side of Niagara Falls in 2018 getting the Rainbow Arch bridge and all of the bridges on Goat Island, all from Skylon Tower on the Canadian side (see the tour of Niagara Falls by clicking here and checking it out).

James Baughn tried his luck with this picture, taken in 2016 at the US/Canadian border with the International Bridges in Sault Ste. Marie. In the foregorund there are two different sets of railroad bridges; in the background the larger of the two through arches of the bridge that was built in 1963 and carries Interstate 75 on the US side and Trans-Canada Hwy. 17B on the Canadian side. All in all, there were three bridges all taken from the Canadian side. Yet one doesn’t really know the fact that there are ten bridges on the island where the American side of Sault Ste Marie is located- seven are which are over 55 years old and considered historic, counting the bridges in the picture above- all within a one mile walking distance. Another bridge at Fort Street is in storage awaiting reconstruction at a nearby park. It and the Spruce Street Bridge were the only two Pennsylvania through trusses in northern Michigan. It’s something to consider when crossing over into Canada that one should take some time in this border community and get a few shots of the historic places the town has to offer. To view the bridges, click here.

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GUESSING QUIZ ANSWER:

And now to the answer to last week’s Pic of the Week Trivia: It’s the Charleroi-Monessen Bridge, spanning the Monongahela River. The bridge was built in 1906 by the Merchantile Bridge Company and featured three Pennsylvania through truss spans. It was closed to traffic in 2009 and was demolished on July 11th, 2011. A new bridge has been in place since then.

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Endangered TRUSS: W Avenue Bridge in Tama County, Iowa

This bridge is part of a series dedicated to the works of the late James Cooper and J.R. Manning. All photos here are courtesy of the latter, who visited the bridge in 2013.

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Eagle Center, Iowa- All it takes is a quick turn onto a gravel road and it all goes down hill from there. All the way to the end and you will find this hidden gem. You cannot drive your car over it because it is too fragil. Hence the barriers and signs saying road closed. Yet you can walk or even bike across if you are careful. The bridge is a through truss, with typical truss design and portals- Pratt and Lattice with heels. You don’t know about this bridge except for its metalic beauty, yet the construction of the bridge corresponds to the history of bridge building during the Gilded Ages- 1870 to 1910. You wonder what can be done to keep the bridge in tact because the structure appears stable and look into ideas on how to keep it in place, even though the road is less traveled and it is hidden in areas often ignored by motorists passing by.

And this is the story behind the W-Avenue Bridge in Tama County, Iowa. Tama County has a diverse collection of truss bridges like this one, most of which can be found along Wolf Creek. Yet this one sticks out as a bridge that has a potential for reuse, even in its current location. There is not much to talk about the structure. The bridge is a typical Pratt through truss with pinned connections built after the turn of the century. It was built in 1903 by George E. King, son of Zenas King who operated his business in Cleveland, Ohio, yet the younger King had established his business in Des Moines and populated the state with bridges with his own signature portal bracings (Howe lattice with subdivided heels). The bridge had a simple life, serving local residents and farmers………

…….until its closure in 2011.

We don’t know the underlying reason behind the bridge suddenly being closed to traffic except for some inspection reports from bridge firms specialized in modern bridges, like Schuck and Britson with its lopsided report on the Cascade Bridge in Burlington, which led to its closure in 2008. Such biased reports and scare tactics are common but following them like lambs to the slaughter house makes structures like this one be dangerous, when in all reality, the bridge is simply fine. Just a few minor repairs and extra special care and the structure would have remained open today.

Or is it closed?

During his visit in 2013, J.R. Manning took a chance to visit the bridge and saw that even though the bridge was out, according to the sign, it was anything but that with missing boulders, signs knocked over and the like. Some of his observations showed that the bridge was in relatively good shape and one could just have simply put a weight limit on the bridge to keep the trucks off of it. The decking was covered in asphalt and there was no real structural issues that would have justified its closure. In other words, the bridge could have taken a few more years of traffic, assuming that cars cross this location which were rare on this stretch of quiet road

Three years later, new barriers were put into place, but one can walk across it, take some pictures and enjoy the scenery that surrounds the bridge, given the fact that it’s tucked away in the valley. Today, the road to the bridge is all covered in grass but the bridge is safe and sound, hidden away and unused except by the local farm nearby. It makes a person wonder whether the bridge will remain as is given its condition or if it will be reused elsewhere. In any case if it remains where it is, it will make for a good bike trail crossing or park. It’s a matter of sprucing it up and making it safe for use. But given its location, it should not be a problem to spend a few thousand for that.

Whether the people will use it or not depends on the will to spend some time down there. The bridge may be out but it’s still in use for those who want to spend time in the nature, along a quiet creek like Wolf Creek…

…. and think about things in peace. ❤

9/11- Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago on September 11th, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists who hijacked four jets and used them as weapons to bring down the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and cause extensive damage to the Pentegon in Washington, DC. The fourth plane, projected to hit the White House, was brought down by passengers who wanted to avert another disaster, but it came at their own expense. Last week, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was commemorated and even though the ceremonies were solemn and occur at the time when the US is now at rock bottom for many reasons (which we will not mention here), it served as a chance to reflect about the event and where we stand as a country and as people who represent our country.

And this takes us to the Glessner Covered Bridge located near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The covered bridge, built in 1881 by Tobias Glessner, is located only a few miles away from the site where the fourth hijacked plane was brought down to avert the attack on the White House. And while all the passengers and the terrorists lost their lives, a blue light was shone into the sky to pay tribute to those whose lives were lost, including those who averted the fourth plane and brought it down. The photos were taken by Frank and Jayme Pietryga showing the covered bridge and the light at the site of the tragedy.

We all have our share of stories involving this date, both at the site as well as abroad. We all have our views regarding the tragedy. But one thing we have in common is we must not forget the event and remember who we are, as a country and as a person. The question is what we can do to make the country better, let alone ourselves.

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BHC Newsflyer: September 18, 2021

Photo by Ceejay Talam on Pexels.com

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To listen to the podcast, click here.

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Headlines:

Merchants Railroad Bridge being Replaced- First through truss span swapped at the time of this podcast

Article 1: https://www.transystems.com/our-projects/merchants-bridge-main-truss-replacement/

Article 2: https://www.roadsbridges.com/merchants-bridge-rebuild-st-louis-moves-forward-despite-lack-federal-aid

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/mo/st-louis-city/merchants/

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Photo by Mark Frazier

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Buck O’neil Bridge in Kansas City to be Replaced- Project Launched

Article: https://www.modot.org/buck-oneil-bridge-design-build-project

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/mo/jackson/broadway/

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Wheeling Suspension Bridge to be Rehabilitated after 2-year closure

Article 1: https://www.roadsbridges.com/west-virginia-awards-contract-wheeling-suspension-bridge-rehab-project

Article 2: https://wvexplorer.com/2021/09/05/historic-wheeling-suspension-bridge-to-be-restored/

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/wv/ohio/wheeling-suspension/

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Arson Suspected at Red Bridge in British Columbia

Article: https://www.pentictonwesternnews.com/news/rcmp-release-description-of-arson-suspects-at-historic-red-bridge-in-keremeos/

Bridge Info: https://historicplacesdays.ca/places/the-ashnola-bridge-red-bridge/

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Photo taken by James MacCray

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Beaver Creek Arch Bridge at Windcave National Park being Rehabbed

Article: https://www.sdpb.org/blogs/news-and-information/renovation-will-allow-scenic-bridge-to-continue-serving-park-visitors/

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/sd/custer/beaver-creek/

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Historic Rochester Bridge in Kent, England in the Running for Two International Awards

Article: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/historic-kent-bridge-up-for-international-award-253658/

Voting for ICE’s People’s Choice Award: https://www.ice.org.uk/what-is-civil-engineering/peoples-choice-award

Bridge Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochester_Bridge#1914_to_present_day

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Photo taken by James MacCray

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Historic Bridge in Great Falls Renamed after Woman who Spearheaded efforts to save it:

Article: https://www.krtv.com/news/great-falls-news/bridge-renamed-to-honor-arlyne-reichert

Preservation Cascade: http://www.montanas-archbridge.org/

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/mt/cascade/tenth-street/

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Saying Good Bye to J.R. Manning and Dr. James L. Cooper Sr.  Click here to read the obituary.

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Author’s Notes:

  1. We will be using Sundays from here on out to devote the works of the late James Cooper and JR Manning. The first piece can be found here.
  2. The James Baughn Memorial Bridgehunting Photo Tour has been extended to October 31st. If you want to post your best bridge photo honoring him, feel free to do so. The link with information on it is enclosed here.

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 157: The Oldest (and Unusual) Bridge in Husum, Germany

In Schleswig-Holstein, the oldest known bridge in the state can be found in the town of Schmalfeld in the district of Segeberg, located in the eastern part of the state. It was built in 1785 and was in service for 198 years before it was bypassed and converted into a bike trail crossing. It is one of only a handful of arch bridges that are known to exist in the northernmost state in Germany.

Source: Holger.Ellgaard, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Many arch bridges have gone unnoticed during the surveys of historic bridges in the last half decade, some of which deserve some sort of recognition.

The Schiffsbrücke in Husum is one of them. The bridge spans the Mühlenau at Zingeldamm near the Schiffsfahrtsmuseum (Museum of Shipping) and is the last crossing before the river empties into the harbor- right after the crossing. There’s next to no information on the bridge except for a couple dates to pass along to it. The first is in the picture above, which has a date of 1858 with the letter F on it.

Husum was part of the kingdom of Frisia, a region which stretched from southern Denmark, all the way to northeastern Netherlands, all along the North Sea coast and includes the islands in the Halligen region. The first known existence came in during the Roman Empire and it was once a regional powerhouse until the 16th Century, when it was split up. The German portion of Frisia, including Husum, became Uthlande, which later became part of Denmark until after the War of 1864, which resulted in German annexation. It is possible that given the Danish crown on the insignia, that Denmark had recognized Husum as Frisian, thus allowing for the language and culture to continue thriving. Yet we need more information to confirm these facts and to answer the question of why we have this insignia.

While the insignia states it was built in 1858, the informational board located on Zingeldamm stated otherwise, as it claimed that the bridge was built in 1871. Where the information came from is unknown but as original insignias on bridges are known to be the most reliable source of information to determine its construction date, there are two possibilities behind these two conflicting dates:

  1. The information is proven false because of a lack of records and thus historians may have assumed the date without taking a closer look at the bridge.
  2. The bridge may have been rebuilt after it was destroyed but the original brick railings, arch and insignia were retained and restored to provide a historic taste and conformity to Husum’s thriving city center and adjacent harbor.

Much of Husum survived unscathed during World War II as it used to serve as a naval port for the Nazis until its relocation to Flensburg in the district of Mürwik in 1943. Its only scar was a concentration camp near the town of Schwesing, where prisoners were used to build a wall to keep the waters of the North Sea out. The camp only existed for a few months in 1944, yet atrocities committed there could not be ignored and even an investigation into the camp took place in the 1960s. The city center, with its historic brick buildings dating back to the 17th century, has mainly remained in tact with only a couple minor alterations over the past 75 years, which means Husum has retained its historic architecture making it an attractive place to visit. The Schiffsbrücke represents that historic character that belongs to Husum’s past.

Unique feature of Schiffsbrücke is its wall. Husum lies on the North Sea coast and has its Flut and Ebbe (high and low tide). To keep the waters of the North Sea out of the Mühlenau, the wall is hoisted up to the keystone of the arch span. Because the Mühlenau is a “sweet water” river, this is done to protect the flora and fauna that exists in the river and are reliant on fresh water. Other than that feature, the bridge and its unique brick railings and insignia is one of the most unique and ornamental arch bridges in the state. Yet its mystery behind the construction date and the engineer behind the bridge and wall system makes it a bridge that one should research more on to find out its history.

And with that, it is your turn. What do you known about the Schiffsbrücke regarding its history, and which date would you lean towards- 1858 or 1871?

Feel free to place your comments on the Chronicles, either directly or via social media.

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Author’s Note:

This bridge article is in connection with a book project on the Bridges of Schleswig-Holstein that has restarted since the author’s return. Click here to look at the details and feel free to contribute some information on the project. Happy bridgehunting, folks. 🙂 ❤

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States With the Most Structurally Deficient Bridges — 24/7 Wall St.

If you’re hearing a lot about bridges lately, it’s probably because these vital passageways are front and center in President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure proposal. The ambitious plan targets improvements to the nation’s roads, transit hubs, broadband networks, water systems — and bridges.  The proposed legislation, which is scheduled for a vote in the […]

States With the Most Structurally Deficient Bridges — 24/7 Wall St.

Endangered TRUSS: New Bridge in Salem County, New Jersey

Photo taken by Jodi Christman

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Our next Endangered Truss article takes us to Salem County, New Jersey and to the New Bridge. Spanning Alloway Creek between Elsinboro and Quinton on the former County Road 623, this unique through truss bridge used to function as a swing bridge until the 1960s before it became a fixed crossing. The bridge is one of only three structures left that were built by the New Jersey Bridge Company and is considered elgible for the National Register. Yet the bridge has been closed to all traffic for three decades. Even though it is still accessible by foot, the bridge is being taken over by the remnants of time, for vegetation is covering the trusses and the bridge has become a focus for graffiti. Still, it has a potential for being a recreational crossing, if repairs are made to prolong its life.

Journalists from New Jersey.com, the state’s largest newspaper, have done a documentary on the state of the bridge, providing both video coverage of the bridge (inside and out) as well as an essay. While one could reinvent the wheel with their quotes, it’s simply appropriate to simply provide you with the video below as well as the link to the article, which you can click here to read.  Structural facts about the bridge can be found here, which includes a link to the HABS/HAER structural report on the bridge.

So sit back and enjoy the video on The Old and Abandoned: The Story of the New Bridge.  

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Best Kept Secret: Landfalloybrua in Drammen, Norway

When we think of Norway, we think of large fjordes flanked by mountains, surrounded by wooden houses overlooking the seas. We think of long crossings that connect communities and attract tourists. We don’t think much about the country’s historic bridges as we are used to fancy but unique modern ones that cover the landscape.

That is unless you are Monika Pettersen, a photographer who finds some of the most unique and historic bridges in corners that are unknown to all but the locals. 🙂

This bridge caught the eyes of hundreds who have seen it on her Instagram page and is a best kept secret. The structure is a double-leaf bascule bridge spanning the river that also carries the name where the structure is located- Drammen. According to information I collected- it was built in 1867 based on the designs of Halvor Heyerdahl. It was 158 meters long and 2.9 meters wide. The spans were hoisted to allow for ships to pass. After World War II, local officials addressed the need for a taller structure to ship goods into and out of Drammen. Therefore a new bridge was built on alignment next to the drawbridge span and opened to traffic in 1967. Afterwards, this span was left in place and today, it serves as a pier and a monument, dedicated to its history and its association with the city.

This photo was taken at sundown and shows the reflections of the bridge, covered by collection of clouds. Its tranquil setting makes it a place where one could go for serenity. Normally, old bridges and natural settings make it a perfect place to listen to nothing but the nature. This one goes well beyond it as one can enjoy a little bit of history and awe at its structural appearance along the way. A perfect shot for a perfect bridge. ❤

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Many thanks to Monika Pettersen for allowing me to use her picture. You can see more of her stunning photos by visiting her Instagram page (click here).

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 160: Tribute to James Baughn

Our first Pic of the Week article since August 9th and with that, one of the pictures that was taken by the late James Baughn. This pic of the week provides us with a Guessing Quiz for readers to take a look at and guess where this bridge is located.

As a hint, James Baughn took this photo in 2009 while in Pennsylvania. The bridge no longer exists as it was replaced three years later, yet it is a multiple-span through truss bridge built during the time when the use of steel was at its peak.

Do you know what it is? Provide us with an answer in the comment section below, as well as in the Chronicles’ facebook pages. The answer will come in the next week.

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Reminder: The Memorial Bridgehunting Tour has been extended to October 31st. In case you haven’t posted your favorite bridge photo honoring Mr. Baughn on the Chronicles’ facebook or Instagram pages, here’s how you can do that- Click here for details.

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Happy Bridgehunting, folks. ❤ 🙂

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