Pic of the Week Nr. 206

Our next Pic of the week takes us further south in Schleswig-Holstein to the town of Preetz. With a population of 16,000 inhabitants, Preetz is located in the western part of the Lakes Region in central Schleswig-Holstein, sandwiched between Post and Lanz Lakes (Postsee und Lanzer See in German) with the River Schwentine flowing through the town, the same river where the White Bridge we profiled last week is located (see here). Preetz is sandwiched between Kiel and Plön and is served by a federal highway (B-76) and a rail line connecting Kiel and Lübeck. The town itself is a quiet one but it prides itself on its local history, much of which you will find in the book store as well as in the archives. The houses along the lake, with its typical brick design with some modern flair) make it a very quiet setting with many activities to choose from.

Preetz has many pedestrian bridges spanning the aforementioned river and lakes, but our focus is on this one, the Wehrbrücke. The Wehrbrücke is a bowstring arch bridge located over the Schwentine at the street Am Heidelberg, near the city monument. While this bridge is one of two of its kind in Schleswig-Holstein, the Wehrberg is the more popular structure because of its setting. It appeared in many antique postcards as a bowstring through arch bridge, meaning an arch bridge with overhead bracings. It had riveted connections. Because of the introduction of these connections on truss bridges, that bridge was most likely built around 1900 at the earliest, at the latest in the late 1930s.  Due to structural deterioration, the bridge was replaced in 2009 with a replica, as you see here in this picture. The replica is a typical “mail-order” truss bridge with welded connections, but no overhead bracing, thus making it a pony truss. What was kept in the replica is the white color and it sticks out with a beautiful green background. While we were taking a break at a nearby park, I had the opportunity to get a lot of detail shots of the bridge and do some comparison with its predecessor. The design and aesthetics were kept in tact, yet one can easily see that the bowstring is a pony. Wishful thinking would have been to construct vintage bridge railings instead of the bland modern ones that a person normally finds on a pedestrian beam bridge.

The bridge was dedicated in memory of Hans Umlauff (1930- 2010) in 2011. Umlauff built dozens of bridges in the area during his 40-years as a bridge engineer, eight of them, counting this one, in Preetz. The Wehrbrücke was the last one before he retired. According to the phone directory, the firm exists today, but most likely run by his children or his associates.

We’re looking for some information and photos of these bridges in Preetz as well as about Mr. Umlauff as part of the book project on the bridges of Schleswig-Holstein, which is being constructed even as this post is online. Information on this project can be found here. If you have anything that would be useful to this project, please contact Jason Smith using the contact details found here. Please pay attention to the MB size of the photos if you wish to send it.  There will be a facebook site on this topic which will be presented in the near future.

Best of luck and happy bridgehunting, folks. 🙂