Mystery Bridge nr. 14: A draw bridge with valuable history

Photo courtesy of the City Archives of Friedrichstadt (Dt. Stadtarchiv Friedrichstadt)

The mystery bridge is in connection with the article on the Bridges of Friedrichstadt in western Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. The article will be posted as soon as all the information has been gathered.

Friedrichstadt, a town of 2,300 that is located seven kilometers south of Husum, may be a typical small town in Schleswig-Holstein that is famous for houses with roofing made of tree branches, boating and fishing given its proximity to the river and the North Sea, the delicacies made with fish, and the people speaking a Frisian dialect, a primitive form of German that is spoken exclusively in the region. Yet, the town has a Dutch setting that makes it worth visiting: Dutch style housing, canals and especially, bridges. Located at the junction of the Eider and Treene Rivers, the town has least 18 bridges spanning the two rivers and the canals that make the town look like its Dutch counterpart, Amsterdam.

This bridge is one of them. The city archives found this bridge while compiling some information and photos for the article being put together, and it raised some eyebrows for many reasons. The bridge is a double-leaf bascule bridge, typical of bridges in Holland where two half-spans open outwards, using the weight that is suspended in the air by two towers. Only a dozen of these bridges exist in Germany, a fraction of the number that its next door neighbor has.  Looking at it closer though, the towers were made of cast iron and resemble that of one that exists over the former Eider Canal in Kluvensiek (located between Kiel and Rendsburg). That bridge was built in 1850 using cast iron provided by Carlshutte in Rendsburg, a company that was founded in 1827 by Karl von Hessen and folded through bankruptcy in 1997.  A photo of the Kluvensiek Bridge is at the end of the article. It is unknown when this bridge was built, we only know that the bridge was replaced in 1896. With all the conflicts that happened in Friedrichstadt’s time, including the wars of 1850 and 1864, it is likely that the bridge either was built before 1850 or during the interwar period and was destroyed in the conflict, or was built after the Danes were driven out of the region by the Prussians during the 1864 conflict. Please note that the Danes took the city from the Prussians during the 1850 conflict.

The mystery bridge was originally located at the Westersielzug area, where the Highway 202 Bridge now crosses this waterway connecting Treene Lake and the Eider River to the south of the town, next to the Blue Bridge, another double leaf bascule bridge that was constructed in 1991 and serves pedestrians. More on that bridge later when presenting the topic on Friedrichstadt’s bridges. A map with the location is found here. It is possible that the Blue Bridge was built as a replacement of the mystery bridge discussed here, yet the pedestrian bridge today clearly does not look like the this antique that no loner exists.

This leads to the following questions to be answered about this bridge:

1. When was this bridge built?

2. Where in the Westersielzug area was this bridge located?

3. Who built this bridge? Was Carlshutte Iron the company responsible for the construction of the towers similar to the one at Kluvensiek?

Any information, regardless of whether it is in English, German or Dutch should be sent to the Chronicles, using the following information below:

Also, as the city archives is still looking for information about this bridge, for courtesy sake, please also submit the information to the following address below:


The article on Friedrichstadt’s bridges will be posted either in November or December, as soon as the information is available and the article is finished. Hopefully by then, the mystery of this bridge will be solved. Thank you in advance for your help.

Photo of Kluvensiek Draw Bridge:

Towers of the Kluvensiek Bridge Photo taken in April 2011



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