Three of New Croton Reservoir’s Notable Bridges — Bridges and Tunnels

In Westchester County, New York, three notable bridges span the New Croton Reservoir. The Gate House Bridge, which was built by the American Bridge Company between 1903 and 1905, supports a local connecting route in Yorktown Heights. (…)

Three of New Croton Reservoir’s Notable Bridges — Bridges and Tunnels

Today, we’re looking at part 1 of the two-part series on the bridges in and around the Croton area in New York State, courtesy of Sherman Cahal of Bridges and Tunnels. This part, available by clicking on the link above, looks at the tour of three bridges in the New Croton Reservoir area….


BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 224

This past weekend, both Europe as well as the United States had to endure snowstorms of monstrous proportions. High winds and heavy snowfall made travelling anywhere impossible for visibility was near zero. In the US, the storm covered two thirds of the country, including my home state of Minnesota, where snow drifts were more than two meters high. My mother posted a few pics of the drift that covered half the house and garage- a good meter and a half high! In Saxony, we were greeted with white-out conditions that were so bad that we could not see the house across the street! Although snow amounts from our base in Glauchau was half of what Minnesota had, the storm served as a reminder of what is yet to come because of climate change and global warming.

Now why am I talking about the weather and not bridges? Easy!

Winter brings with beautiful opportunities to take pictures of landscapes and historic places, especially if everything is snow-covered and the skies are blue. Especially at sundown, when you find a great spot to take a shot like this one, you take that chance while you still get it.

And this is where my photo comes in. It’s one of the two-span bowstring arch bridge located in Aue-Bad Schlema, located east of Schneeberg and south of Zwickau in the Ore Mountains. This photo was taken right after a snowstorm which blanketed the area and brought life to a standstill. This was in 2019. The pic was taken at sundown, where one can see the bridge span with the trees in the background, all stripped of their leaves. The building in the background is the elememtary school. The bridge was built in 1913 replacing a covered bridge that was destroyed in the flooding. The structure is approximately 40-50 meters long and only 4 meters wide, enough for pedestrians and cyclists to follow. It’s a cousin of the Tolle Bridge in Hartenstein, which had a similar design but was destroyed in 1945, shortly before the World War II ended. The bridge was last restored in 2020 and has been integrated into a bike trail network which connects Zwickau with Carlsberg near the Czech border. More photos and info on the bridge can be found in the tour guide on Aue’s historic bridges (click here to view)

Sadly this bridge restoration came with some inconveniences. While it was OK to construct an overpass to cross the railroad that is only 50 meters east of the bridge, fencing of up to two meters was installed on the bridge and along the trail, including the overpass. With its pointy pickets, it makes climbing over it just to get a shot like this practically impossibhle. This was taken from the shoreline along the Zwickau Mulde, which the bridge crosses. In the past, it was easy just to step off the bridge, climb down toward the river and even touch the water. An ideal spot for photos and for fishing. Since the fencing has been installed, it is now impossible to get a shot like this. There is a logical reason for that, like for example, keeping people from killing themselves by jumping off the bridge, but having a barrier that covers a kilometer, includes two bridges and their approaches? This one can be debated. In my opinion, it takes the fun out of fishing at the bridge…..

….let alone photography.

I will take this one as a memory photo, reminding me of the fun times I had before the Saxon versions of the Jersey barriers and suicide fences were installed. Just as dumb and funless as cancelling the People’s Court on American TV, recently.

7.19. A SALUTE TO JOHN JERVIS AND HIS CROTON AQUEDUCT — Chicago Architecture History

Jervis is one of the under-celebrated American civil engineers I referenced at the beginning of this blog. We first encountered him in Chap. 2.1 as the chief engineer for one of the country’s early railroads, Pennsylvania’s Delaware & Hudson Railroad, for which he designed The Stourbridge Lion that had made the first run of a steam-powered locomotive in the […]

7.19. A SALUTE TO JOHN JERVIS AND HIS CROTON AQUEDUCT — Chicago Architecture History

Historic Bridge in Dryden, New York For Sale- Any Takers?

Courtesy of


DRYDEN (VARNA HAMLET), NEW YORK (USA)- The Community of Dryden in Tompkins County in Central New York State has a unique bridge for you to take. The caveat behind this is that you must come up with your own comprehensive plan for restoring and possibly relocating the bridge.

The bridge at hand is the Freese Road Bridge in the hamlet of Varnet in Tompkins County, New York. Built in 1882 by the Groton Bridge Company, the bridge had been located two miles away from its present location when it was first built. It was relocated here in 1922 to replace a bridge built in 1887 that was destroyed in a flood. The 165.7 foot long bridge features two pin-connected pony truss bridges, each with a length of approximately 80 feet, supported by a central pier. The bridge is eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Freese Road Bridge has been closed to traffic since December 2021 due to structural concerns on some of the vital truss connections. The weight limit had been reduced from 15 tons to only three tons between 2019 and the time of its closure. Pedestrians and cyclists can still use the crossing at present.

The town of Dryden has put out bids for selling the bridge to any interested parties who may take the structure and use it for recreational purposes. The ad has been put out since February 2nd. According to the ad, parties interested must fulfill the following requirements:

• Provide a comprehensive written plan for the preservation and future use of the bridge,
including any desired modifications, and the estimated cost of rehabilitation. It is required that
the new owner be able to use the entire truss superstructure.

• Maintain the structure and the features that give it historic significance according to
prescribed standards.

• Assume all future legal and financial responsibility for the structure, including “hold harmless”
agreements to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and to the Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA). Post a performance bond.

• Provide proof of ability to assume the financial and administrative responsibilities of bridge
ownership throughout its existence.

According to the ad, at the time ownership of the bridge is transferred for reuse, the transfer deed would include a
preservation covenant that would require the new owner to maintain the bridge in accordance with the
“Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitation of Historic
Buildings.” This covenant would remain with the bridge if it is transferred to a third party. Funding is available through state and federal entities that would cover the cost of rehabilitating and/or relocating the truss bridge. It is of interest that the entire two-span truss structure is taken to maintain its historic integrity.

Plans are in the making to replace the bridge on its current site, with the preliminary design to be approved in April 2024 and construction to begin in 2025. The cost for replacing the bridge is alloted at $2.7 million. Removing the historic bridge, regardless of outcome, would cost $100,000, which does not include the cost for removing the lead paint from the trusses prior to that.

Parties interested in purchasing the historic bridge should contact the Town of Dryden, using the contact details below:

Cassie Byrnes, Town of Dryden,

Phone: (607) 844-8888


Deadline for all applications is the end of the business day on March 17th. Should there be no takers, the bridge will be dismantled and stored for future use.

There is a page devoted to saving the Freese Road Bridge where you can access and follow up on the project. Click here and like to receive subscriptions. Your bridge matters.


Historic Bridge in Iowa For Sale- Any Takers?

Mystery Bridge Nr. 187


WEST BRANCH, IOWA (USA)- Located SW of Iowa City, the town of West Branch has a unique historic bridge available for you to purchase. This bridge is located over West Branch Wapsinonoc Creek, on the outskirts of West Branch, east of Beranek Park. The bridge features a Warren pony truss bridge but designed in an unusual way. It features A-shaped paneling, each one flanked with a vertical beam. The number of A-framed panels in total are three with two schmal outer panels near the end posts. has classified it as a Warren pony truss with alternating columns, yet one could classify this one as A-framed Warren trusses with alternating verticles to make it more specific. The trusses have outriggers and the connections are partially welded and partially riveted.

There is no information on the bridge’s history, let alone the builder, but given its unique design, it’s definitely ripe for nomination to the National Register. Because of the introduction of riveted connections, the guess on this bridge is that it was built between 1885 and 1905, as the bridge represented an early example of riveted trusses that were being ushered in to replaced those with pinned connections. As far as its dimensions are concerned, Jim Stewart came up with some rough estimates based on his visit, which includes a length of 41 feet. The width of the bridge is approximately 16.5 feet and the height of the trusses themselves is seven feet.

If you have any information on the bridge, feel free to comment either here or on

Kim Gaskill, who owns property at the bridge, has listed this bridge for sale on facebook Marketplace recently. At a cost of $7000, one can purchase and relocate the bridge to be used for recreational purposes. If you are interested in purchasing the bridge or want to collaborate on saving it, please click here and you will be directed to the page where the bridge is for sale, with additional photos and contact information to Ms. Gaskill.


All photos courtesy of Dave King, who visited the bridge in 2013.



A Bridge Worth Crossing — San Diego History Seeker

It was a bridge for pedestrians, rather than vehicles, but it was still a crucial part of the city of San Diego’s infrastructure when it opened in 1911. “Longest Suspended Foot Bridge on Coast is Opened to Travel,” was the headline on page 8 of The San Diego Union on November 21, 1911. As demonstrated […]

A Bridge Worth Crossing — San Diego History Seeker

An Embarrassment of Riches — Old Structures Engineering

Building a very large city on several large islands, a bunch of small ones, and a piece of the mainland means that you will build a lot of bridges. (…)

An Embarrassment of Riches — Old Structures Engineering

A look at the Bayonne Bridge in New Jersey, courtesy of Old Structures Engineering. Another story about the bridge from the same columnist can be found here.


A Different Kind Of Vernacular — Old Structures Engineering

My working definition of “vernacular” architecture or engineering is “what people build when architects and engineers aren’t there to tell them they’re wrong.” It’s nearly always functional and reasonably safe, because people, apparently, have a desire for functional and safe buildings. (…)

A Different Kind Of Vernacular — Old Structures Engineering


BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 223

Mystery Bridge Nr. 186

This week’s Pic of the Week looks at not only one bridge, but four- of the same kind, spanning a canal connecting the Elbe River and the Baltic Sea. To understand the construction of the bridges, we have to look at the construction of the Elbe-Lübeck Canal, a 73-kilometer canal that connects the town of Lauenburg and the Hansa-City of Lübeck. Lauenburg is located at the three-state corner of Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Pommerania. The canal runs along the border between Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Pommerania although it is on the side of the former state. That border was once the border between East and West Germany, which had been completely fenced off during the Cold War. That border was taken down once the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989.

The first known canal existed during the late 14th Century. Yet the canal was modernized and widened during the construction pßeriod between 1895 and 1900, with the goal of reducing the number of locks and allowing for boats and barges to pass through freely. The number of locks have been reduced from 17 down to the present number of seven, minus the ones on each end of the canal at Lauenburg and in Lübeck. The number of bridges that crossed the canal at the conclusion of the modernization project was 20, where at least half of these bridges looked like the one presented here. The bridges were built between 1895 and 1900 and featured Parker pony truss spans with curved approaches. the end posts are vertical. The connections are either welded or riveted and as far as the dimensions are concerned, they are generally between 40 and 60 meters long and 12 meters wide. The bridge presented here, the crossing near the animal clinic in Kühsen, represents a typical example of such a bridge that existed along the canal.

It is unknown who built the bridges during that time but given the aesthetic appearance of the spans that still exist, the chances are very likely that more than one bridge builder was involved. The question is who built these bridges and during which time period were they built?


Sadly, these bridges are disappearing very quickly. The canal authority has been working to widen and deepen the canal and with that, the clearance of the bridges must be raised from 4.4 meters above the water to 5.5 meters- all of which must be completed by 2030. Of the ten bridges of this kind that are left, two are left standing- here at Kühsen and one at Lanzer See, six kilometers north of Lauenburg. Another bridge of its kind at Lanzer Weg, located two kilometers from Lauenburg was replaced in 2022. Its future remains unknown. Two additional bridges of different designs, a pedestrian bridge at Berkenthin and a Warren pony truss at Witzeeze may be next on the list, although the latter is located right at the canal lock and will be difficult to raise at least. In either case, because of their historic significance in connection with the canal, the remaining spans should be left in place or at least placed on the side of the canal to serve as a picnic area. A bike trail runs along the entire stretch of the canal and serves as an advantage point to add some rest stops and history stations for cyclists and pedestrians to take a break and see a piece of history.

At the present time, both bridges are standing, but it is known for how long? They should be left standing for their historic significance, especially as we don’t know who built them. And as we saw with the Locust Avenue Bridge in Guthrie County, Iowa, once a bridge is gone, so is its history that may be potentially interesting.

If you have any information on the bridge, feel free to comment either below or using the contact information enclosed here. The bridges will be included in the book project on Schleswig-Holstein’s bridges. Information on that project can be found here.


Your bridge matters. Happy Bridgehunting, folks. 🙂 ❤


20 Unbelieveable Bridges in the World

Photo by J.R. Bellemore on

There are many documentaries that focus on the world’s most awesome bridges, awesome is based on the criteria of being the longest, the highest, the oldest, the fanciest, the most dangerous being built and what not. Here’s an example of one documentary presented by Fancy Banana that features the 20 unbelieveably built bridges in the world, one of the which includes the Golden Gate Bridge as the most popular bridge and most photographed in the world, as well as the Tower Bridge, one of the fanciest and oldest suspension and drawbridges in the world. And while the promotions during the documentary is a bit questionable, for each bridge there are some interesting facts, most of which will most unlikely be in the history books.