Mystery Bridge Nr. 169:  Bridge Relict at Carola Park in Glauchau

GLAUCHAU (SAXONY), GERMANY- A few days ago during our Sunday walk, we explored the Valley of Carola Park.  Located in the southeastern part of Glauchau, the Carolatal features a small creek that starts in the natural habitat behind the Virchow Hospital (ironically, where the abandoned bridge is located),  before it flows past Bismarck Tower and towards the mini-zoo “Tiergehege Glauchau.” Then it runs along Talstrasse all the way down to the Scherberg Bridge, passing underneath that, before emptying into the Zwickau Mulde River behind the former “Volksbad” and park, just north of the International Elementary School on Lindenstrasse. At three different areas, there are small ponds, especially one in the deep valley at the junction with Jahnstrasse, where the hills are over 30 meters high. The whole area between the Tiergehege and Jahnstrasse has been named Carola Park and it separates the easternmost part of Glauchau, where the Business Academy is located, and the southeastern part of the city, where many historic (but largely empty) buildings are located.

And this is where our next mystery bridge is located- or should we say what’s left of it. This relict is located just 50 meters away from Jahnstrasse. It’s an abutment of a former bridge that used to span the widest portion of the creek in Carola Park. This is noticeable because the end towards the pond is fenced off. What’s more interesting about this relict is the fact that there is a window on the southeast side, thus making it appear too be an entrance to one of the bunkers that had existed during World War II but have since been abandoned and mostly filled in. It is unknown how many bunkers existed in Germany during the time of the Third Reich, let alone on the local level, as we see here. But history books have suggested that bunkers were part of Hitler’s plan to protect the population from being bombed by the enemy, while at the same time, achieved his ultimate policy of “Lebensraum”- breathing room with only a selected race being allowed to live there. Glauchau has at least a half dozen bunkers that used to exist prior to and during World War II, yet one of them, located underneath the castle complex in the city center, is open to tourists.

Yet this one is peculiar because the stone ruins line up right to the water’s edge, thus ruling out the fact that this was a bunker, unless it was used for boats. Therefore one has to conclude that it was a bridge abutment even though only one of them exists- the other on the opposite end was removed by homeowners to construct their property down to the pond.

This leads to the question of when it was built and what did this bridge look like? Given the age of the stone abutments, one has to assume that the bridge was well over a century old, which means the options for bridge designs have to be narrowed down as well. Was it a truss bridge made of iron or steel, or a stone arch bridge? Only photos and post cards would tell the story and up to now, there have been no evidence available to support this argument, even though the investigation has just started.

The last question for this mystery bridge has to do with this berm. It’s located at Jahnstrasse near the old bridge abutment and judging by the lighting and the age of the road, this berm existed since the Cold War period with the purpose of holding back water from the pond. This was helpful for from this point on, the rest of the valley was filled with houses and streets, all the way down past the Scherberg Bridge and the old public bath hall (Volksbad) before emptying into the Zwickau Mulde; the waterway at that point is transported by pipes underground and buried under a pile of dirt all the way down. The question is when this berm and street was built and when was the old bridge considered obsolete and subsequentially removed?

So basically this mystery bridge requires a wish list as it has a lot of questions that need to be answered. They include:

  1. When was the old bridge built? We’re talking about the one with the stone abutments.
  2. What did the old bridge look like? Was it used for cars or solely for pedestrians?
  3. When was the old bridge removed?
  4. When was the berm and subsequentially Jahnstrasse built?
  5. When was the creek buried with pipes and dirt, going from Jahnstrasse all the way to the Zwickau Mulde?

We have to start with old photos and/or post cards before continuing on with looking for its history. If you have a postcard and/or old photo of this bridge at Carola Park and/or the berm at Jahnstrasse, please send me an e-mail using the contact information that can be found here. Please note that as I may want to add that to Glauchau’s bridge tour guide (see here), I ask you to send me the post card and/or photo in JPEG format and cite the source of where it came from. Your help would be much appreciated. You can use English or German when corresponding.

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Thank you for your help and Happy Bridgehunting, Folks! 🙂 ❤

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10 abandoned bridges — Down the Road

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10 abandoned bridges — Down the Road

While a couple bridges in this article have already been mentioned, including the Old US 50 Bridges in Clay County, Jim Grey takes you on a tour through Illinois, looking at some other abandoned bridges and those that have been repurposed for other reasons. A real treat that can be seen through the lens. Enjoy! 🙂

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