Today is December 6th, which is known as St. Nicolas Day here in Germany, where St. Nick fills the shoes with sweets and small gifts, giving children and adults something to be happy about, and look forward to bigger things during the holidays.
But this day is also one where we mark the first anniversary of a tragedy in the bridgehunting community and in fields of history and preservation. On this date one year ago, James Baughn, who founded and operated bridgehunter.com– a database on historic bridges in the USA- was hiking along the trail in Missouri when he fell into a sinkhole and was killed. The loss still feels raw among us all who knew him well, both as a colleague as well as a friend, as he left a hole that cannot be filled, even if we tried.
But going on one year, a lot has changed but his legacy still lives on. His website is now under the care of Historic Bridge Foundation with Nathan Holth doing all the technical work. His T.R.U.S.S. Award is now in the care of BHC and is being awarded for the first time this year as Endangered T.R.U.S.S. and we are presenting his very best photos, even though they are numerous and we’ll never be able to showcase all of them. And despite the Covid-19 epidemic which as dictated our lives, we have been able to do a memorial bridgehunting tour in his honor; in my case it was Schleswig-Holstein, where I’m putting abook together (check out my Instagram page for my collection).
There was so much James wanted to do to give back to the historic preservation and bridgehunting communities, including even a book on Missouri’s bridges. We may not be able to fulfill everything but we will do our best to honor his wishes as he has done a great deal and has left us with something that we should give and give back. It goes even beyond my collage with six pictures taken by him, representing the date of December 6th, which will forever go down in the history books as the Day of Giving. It’s even more than what St. Nick can give on this day.
It’s time we give in his honor and make him proud. Here’s to you buddy and thank you for all that you did. Now it’s our turn to return you the favor…..
Voting is still ongoing for the 2021 Bridgehunter Awards between now and January 21st, 2022, which includes the category of Endangered T.R.U.S.S. as well as several other ones. Click here and you will be directed to the Voting Ballot. Remember there are three parts, so read the instructions and follow the links that will take you to the parts.