Endangered TRUSS: The Jefferson Highway Bridge at Okay, Oklahoma

All photos courtesy of Mark W. Brown


OKAY, OKLAHOMA- There are many historic structures that are endangered because of the need to have a concrete bridge to move traffic from point A to point B. There are some that have been sitting abandoned- many of which for too long and need the attention of the public to save it from its ultimate doom. When I think of the first endangered TRUSS candidate, the first bridge that comes to mind is this one: The Okay Truss Bridge. The bridge spans the old channel of the Verdigris River to the west of the town of Okay in Wagoner County. The structure was first discovered a decade ago and even though it has been abandoned for several decades, records have indicated that the structure was once part of the Jefferson Highway, the second oldest intercontinental highway that was built in 1915 and went from Winnepeg, Canada to New Orleans, cutting through parts of Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma in the process.

There is not much information on the bridge’s history except to say that given the materials needed to build the structure, let alone the features, the bridge must have been built between 1910 and 1915, as part of the project to extend the Jefferson Highway through the small community. The bridge features two Parker through truss main spans. Each span features a 3-rhombus Howe Lattice portal bracings with angled heels, latticed struts and V-laced vertical beams. There is also a Pratt pony truss span on each outer end of the bridge. The connections are pinned and the material: steel for the trusses and wood for the decking.

Westernmost pony truss approach span


The bridge was later bypassed by another structure to the south, as part of the project to rechannel the Verdigris and the truss span has been sitting abandoned and in disarray ever since. The easternmost pony truss span collapsed many years ago and it would take a lot of climbing just to get onto the bridge itself.

The gravest problem though lies with the through truss spans because of a failing pier. It is unknown when and how this occurred, but the center pier is crumbling, causing the end post of the western through truss span to slip.

While the damage may be minimal when looking at it from a bird’s eye view, when on the bridge, it is far worse than it seems, as the crumbling pier, combined with the sagging of the endpost, is causing the western truss span to lean and twist on its side.

The twisted metal brought a reminder of one bridge that fell victim to flooding in 1990, which was the Rockport Bridge in Arkansas. Prior to its downfall, flooding in 1987 caused severe damage to the center piers causing the center span to tilt and twist. This is exactly what is happening to the Okay Truss Bridge, and if nothing is done with the truss span, the next flooding may be the bridge’s last.

What can be done to save the truss bridge? The easiest is to take the truss spans off the piers and dismantle them for storage. As it happened with the Bridgeport Bridge in Michigan, the twisted western Parker truss span could be straightened through welding, whereas the trusses in general would need to be sandblasted and repainted. The piers would need to be replaced and because the easternmost pony span is considered a total loss, a replacement span could take its place if one reerects the restored truss span and converts the area on the east end and the island between the old and new channels of the Verdigris into a park area. As this bridge is part of the original Jefferson Highway, research is needed on the structure’s history to nominate it to the National Register.

Oklahoma has seen a big drop in the number of truss bridges in the last two decades, yet efforts are being taken to save what is left of the bridges. There is little doubt that the Okay Truss Bridge can be saved if action is taken to salvage the trusses and rebuild the entire structure, while erecting a park to honor its history. It takes the will of not only the locals but also members of the Jefferson Highway Association to make it happen. Yet time is running out and we’re fighting windmills regarding even saving the truss structure before the next floodwaters. If there is a tiny sense of hope, removing and storing the trusses should be top priority. Afterwards, time and finances could be allotted to restore and rebuild the bridge to its former glory.


Author’s Note: A big thanks to Mark W. Brown for allowing me to use his pictures for this article.


BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 131- A Tribute to James Baughn

This week’s Pic of the Week series that pays tribute to James Baughn also pays tribute to one of the bridges he photographed that lost its life to stupidity.  The Westphalia Bridge spans the Maries River, NE of Westphalia in Osage County, Missouri. The longest span, a Pratt through truss with pinned connections and Lattice portal bracings, was built by the Kansas City Bridge Company in 1893 and has a total length of 145 feet. The three pony truss spans- consisting of two Pratt half-hips and a subdivided V-laced span, were added by the Interstate Bridge Company in Kansas City in 1902. Together, the total length of the bridge was 279 feet, with the width being 13.8 feet.  The bridge had a total weight of only five tons- and no trucks allowed!

And that was what led to the collapse of the structure on August 17, 2020. A 28 ton rig tried crossing the bridge only to fail after the first few feet! The reason for crossing the bridge on the part of the trucker: He was only following the GPS!

There are two ways to react to this: The first is lecturing him about road signs and their existence, like in this famous song produced 50 years ago by the Five Man Electrical Band:

But even then, sometimes stupidity requires extreme action. You can change stupidity if you defame the person for his actions on the international level and make him pay for it. Therefore, we decided to give this driver, who won the Author’s Choice Awards in the category of Bonehead Story, the Timmy.

The Timmy is when everyone congregates for a few seconds, then gangs up on the person and yells as loud as possible the following:

One!…..Two!!……Three!!!….. DUH!!!!!

After seeing too many stories about people not doing the math and the lame excuses that follow, not to mention reading up on the lack of attention paid to the signs, it is time to show these people that math and physics are important, but also logical thinking! When there is a five ton limit on a bridge and your truck weighs 28 tons, you don’t rely on your GPS and move forward, taking the risk. You ask for alternative directions.  You ask for HELP, DAMMIT!!!

And so, to this poor soul who relied too much on the GPS and too little with the math and physics, this one’s for you:

One!…..Two!!……Three!!!….. DUH!!!!!

To all you folks out there: Make damn sure you do the Timmy to the next dumbass who tries to do what this guy did to the Westphalia Bridge, and to all the stupid, retarded drivers who have destroyed many prized works in the past five years, which is one way too many.

If the truck’s too high, don’t cross it.

If the truck’s overweight, don’t cross it.

If in doubt and cannot do the math correctly, don’t cross it.

In fact if you are a driver and you see a restriction ahead, don’t cross it!

Do the math and don’t cross it! DUH!!!!




That’s more profanity than I usually use in my column 😉

2020 Bridgehunter Awards- Final Results Part 2

Frank J. Wood Bridge at night time, full of lights. The bridge won the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards for Bridge of the Year. Photo taken by Janice Robbins



After looking at the results of the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards for Best Bridge Photo, Part 2 shows you the results in the remaining categories. The commentary behind the results will appear in the BHC Podcast, which you can click here to listen to. To read the results of the Author’s Choice Award, click here. The tables appear in slideshow format…

Due to some technical issues with the polling platform, the Chronicles will use a different voting platform for its 2021 Bridgehunter Awards to ensure that the voting is carried out with no problems. The Chronicles apologizes for the inconvenience.

To those who won in their respective categories, congratulations! You deserve the award and will be recognized accordingly! 🙂

Crossing the Stillwater Lift Bridge: Winner of Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge



With the crossing of the Lift Bridge comes the end of the 2020 Bridgehunter and Author’s Choice Awards. 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Awards and details can be found here. Entries are being taken between now and December 1, 2021 with voting to commence afterwards. If you have an entry worth considering, please send it to the Chronicles also informing them in which category(-ies). If you are not sure of the categories, you can check out the link by clicking here.


Wishing you all the very best for 2021! 😀 Remember, it all gets better from here. Happy Bridgehunting until we meet again. 🙂 ❤

2020 Bridgehunter Awards- Final Results Part 1: Best Bridge Photo

Chain Bridge in Budapest. Budapest won the Bridgehunter Awards in the category Bridge Tour Guide International. Photo by Nikolett Emmert on Pexels.com



After reading through the results of the Author’s Choice Awards, we are finally to the end of the 2020 season when it comes to historic and unique bridges around the world. We’re going to present the final results of the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards. As we did last year, the results will be presented in two parts- Part 1 will feature the winners of the category Best Bridge Photo. In part 2, we will present the rest of the categories where we will have the winners presented in a table in each one. Commentary and alalysis are available in the BHC podcast, which you can access here. And so, without any further delays, here is Part 1 with the results:



Best Bridge Photo:

Singing Bridge: Winner of Best Photo! 🙂

Second Place: Cascade Bridge!

Third Place winner!

Fourth Place Winner!

Fifth Place Winner!

Sixth Place Winner!

The winner will be featured in the heading of the BHC, except due to the size issue, only a portion will be shown. However, the whole bridge will appear as an avatar for the BHC logo, which will be presented alternately with the other logos that you normally see when following the Chronicles. Second place winner will be featured on the BHC’s facebook page. Third place winner will have the photo appear in the BHC’s facebook group page. Fourth place winner will alternate with the sixth place winner on the BHC Twitter page, meaning the covered bridge photo will appear between now and March and again in November and December. The sixth place photos will appear from March until November. Fifth Place photo will appear in the Chronicles on LinkedIn. With the exception of the 4th and 6th place finishers, all of the top three and fifth place finishers will remain on the Chronicles’ pages until July 31st.

The results in the other categories you will find on the next page…….. =>

2020 Author’s Choice Awards- Mr Smith takes his picks

Photo by Aleksey Kuprikov on Pexels.com

And now, before we announce the winners of the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards, I have a few favorites that I hand-picked that deserve international recognition. 2020 was a year like no other. Apart from head-scratcher stories of bridges being torn down, we had an innummeral number of natural disasters that were impossible to follow, especially when it came to bridge casualties. We had some bonehead stories of people downing bridges with their weight that was 10 times as much as what the limit was and therefore they were given the Timmy for that (click on the link that will lead you to the picture and the reason behind it.) But despite this we also had a wide selection of success stories in connection with historic bridge preservation. This include two rare historic bridges that had long since disappeared but have now reappeared with bright futures ahead of them. It also include the in-kind reconstruction of historic bridges, yet most importantly, they also include historic bridges that were discovered and we had never heard of before- until last year.

And so with that in mind, I have some personal favorites that deserve international recognition- both in the US as well as international- awarded in six categories, beginning with the first one:

Best example of reused bridge:


The Castlewood Thacher Truss Bridge in South Dakota:

One of three hybrid Thacher through truss bridges left in the US, the bridge used to span the Big Sioux River near Castlewood until it disappeared from the radar after 1990. Many pontists, including myself, looked for it for three decades until my cousin, Jennifer Heath, found it at the Threshing Grounds in Twin Brooks. Apparently the product of the King Bridge Company, built in 1894, was relocated to this site in 1998 and restored for car use, in-kind. Still being used but we’re still scratching our heads as to how it managed to disappear from our radar for a very long time…..

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/castlewood-bridge-in-a-new-home-on-the-threshing-grounds/



Plaka Bridge in Greece:

Built in 1866, this bridge was unique for its arch design. It was destroyed by floods in 2015 but it took five years of painstaking efforts to put the bridge back together again, finding and matching each stone and reinforcing it with concrete to restore it like it was before the tragedy. Putting it back together again like a puzzle will definitely make for a puzzle game using this unique bridge as an example. Stay tuned.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/02/19/plaka-bridge-in-greece-restored/


Hirschgrundbrücke in Glauchau:

While it has not been opened yet for the construction of the South Park Gardens is progressing, this four-span arch bridge connecting the Park with the Castle Complex was completely restored after 2.5 years of rebuilding the 17th Century structure which had been abandoned for four decades. Keeping the outer arches, the bridge was rebuilt using a skeletal structure that was later covered with concrete. The stones from the original bridge was used as a façade. When open to the public in the spring, one will see the bridge that looks like the original but has a function where people can cross it. And with the skeleton, it will be around for a very long time.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/11/06/update-on-the-hirschgrundbrucke-in-glauchau-saxony/



Worst example of reused bridge:

Northern Avenue Bridge in Boston

This one definitely deserves a whole box of tomatoes. Instead of rehabilitating the truss bridge and repurposing it for bike and public transportation use, designers unveiled a new bridge that tries to mimic the old span but is too futuristic. Watch the video and see for yourself. My take: Better to build a futuristic span, scrap the historic icon and get it over with.

Link: https://www.northernavebridgebos.com/about & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcWEvjdsAUQ



Demolishing the Pilchowicki Bridge in Poland for a Motion Picture Film-

Paramount Pictures and Tom Cruz should both be ashamed of themselves. As part of a scene in the film, Mission Impossible, this historic bridge, spanning a lake, was supposed to be blown up, then rebuilt mimicking the original structure. The bridge had served a railroad and spans a lake. The plan was tabled after a huge international cry to save the structure. Nevertheless, the thwarted plan shows that America has long been famous for: Using historic places for their purpose then redo it without thinking about the historic value that was lost in the process.

Links: https://notesfrompoland.com/2020/07/24/concern-over-reports-that-historic-bridge-in-poland-will-be-blown-up-for-tom-cruise-film/ & https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/so-long-tom-historic-bridge-saved-from-tom-cruise-bomb-14980



Salvageable Mentioned:


Okoboji Truss Bridge at Parks Marina in Iowa-

A one of a kind Thacher pony truss, this bridge went from being a swing bridge crossing connecting East and West Lake Okoboji, to a Little Sioux River crossing that was eventually washed out by flooding in 2011, to the storage bin, and now, to its new home- Parks Marina on East Lake Okoboji. The owner had one big heart to salvage it. Plus it was in pristine condition when it was relocated to its now fourth home. A real winner.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/03/11/the-okoboji-bridge-at-parks-marina/



Dömitz Railroad Bridge between Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Pommerania in Germany-

World War II had a lasting after-effect on Germany’s infrastructure as hundreds of thousands of historic bridges were destroyed, either through bombs or through Hitler’s policies of destroying every single crossing to slow the advancement of the Allied Troops. Yet the Dömitz Railroad Bridge, spanning the River Elbe, represents a rare example of a bridge that survived not only the effects of WWII, but also the East-West division that followed, as the Mecklenburg side was completely removed to keep people from fleeing to Lower Saxony. All that remains are the structures on the Lower Saxony side- preserved as a monument symbolizing the two wars and the division that was lasting for almost a half century before 1990.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/09/05/domitz-railroad-bridge/



Spectacular Bridge Disaster

Forest Fires along the West Coast- 2020 was the year of disasters in a literal sense of the word. Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought the world to a near standstill, 2020 was the year where records were smashed for natural disasters, including hurricanes and in particular- forest fires. While 20% of the US battled one hurricane after another, 70% of the western half of the country, ranging from the West Coast all the way to Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and the Dakotas dealt with record-setting forest fires, caused by drought, record-setting heatwaves and high winds. Hardest hit area was in California, Washington and even Oregon. Covered bridges and other historic structures took a massive hit, though some survived the blazes miraculously. And even some that did survive, presented some frightening photo scenes that symbolizes the dire need to act on climate change and global warming before our Earth becomes the next Genesis in Star Trek.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/09/12/great-western-fires-destroy-iconic-historic-bridges/  &  https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/09/12/catastrophic-inferno-hits-western-united-states-photos-noble-reporters-worlds-iconic-news-media-site/  & https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/no-comment-nr-2-the-great-california-fire/



Bonehead Story:


Demolition of the Historic Millbrook Bridge in Illinois-

Inaction has consequences. Indifference has even more painful consequences. Instead of fixing a crumbling pier that could have left the 123-year old, three-span through truss bridge in tact, Kendall County and the Village of Millbrook saw dollar signs in their eyes and went ahead with demolishing the entire structure for $476,000, coming out of- you guessed it- our taxpayer money. Cheapest way but at our expense anyway- duh!

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/08/26/historic-millbrook-bridge-demolished/


Planned Demolition of the Bridges of Westchester County, New York-

While Kendall County succeeded in senselessly tearing down the last truss bridge in the county, Westchester County is planning on tearing down its remaining through truss bridges, even though the contract has not been let out just yet. The bridges have been abandoned for quite some time but they are all in great shape and would make for pedestrian and bike crossings if money was spent to rehabilitate and repurpose them. Refer to the examples of the Calhoun and Saginaw County historic bridges in Michigan, as well as those restored in Winneshiek, Fayette, Madison, Johnson, Jones and Linn Counties in Iowa.  Calling Julie Bowers and Nels Raynor!

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/06/10/the-bridges-of-westchester-county-new-york/


Collapse of Westphalia Bridge due to overweight truck-

To the truck driver who drove a load over the bridge whose weight was four times the weight limit, let alone bring down the 128-year old product of the Kansas City Bridge Company: It’s Timmy time! “One, …. two,….. three! DUH!!!!”  The incident happened on August 17th 2020 and the beauty of this is, upon suggesting headache bars for protecting the bridge, county engineers claimed they were a liability. LAME excuse!

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/08/18/truck-driver-narrowly-escapes-when-missouri-bridge-collapses-truckers-4-truckers/



waldcafe bridge

Waldcafé Bridge in Lunzenau, Saxony-

Located near the Göhren Viaduct in the vicinity of Burgstädt and Mittweida, this open-spandrel stone arch bridge used to span the Zwickau Mulde and was a key accessory to the fourth tallest viaduct in Saxony. Yet it was not valuable enough to be demolished and replaced during the year. The 124-year old bridge was in good shape and had another 30 years of use left. This one has gotten heads scratching.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/waldcafe-bridge-in-gohren-to-be-replaced/


Collapse of Bridge in Nova Scotia due to overweight truck-

It is unknown which is more embarrassing: Driving a truck across a 60+ year old truss bridge that is scheduled to be torn down or doing the same and being filmed at the same time. In any case, the driver got the biggest embarrassment in addition to getting the Timmy in French: “Un,…. deux,…… toi! DUH!!!” The incident happened on July 8th.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/historic-bridge-in-nova-scotia-collapses-because-of-truck-reminder-to-obey-weight-and-height-limits/



Spectacular Bridge Find:

Root Bridges in Meghalaya State in India-

Consisting of vine bridges dating back hundreds of years, this area has become a celebrity since its discovery early last year. People in different fields of work from engineers to natural scientists are working to figure out how these vined bridges were created and how they have maintained themselves without having been altered by mankind. This region is one of the World’s Top Wonders that should be visited, regardless whether you are a pontist or a natural scientist.

Link:  https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/04/18/living-root-bridges-in-the-tropical-forests-of-meghalaya-state-india/


Puente de Occidente in Colombia-

This structure deserves special recognition not only because it turned 125 years old in 2020. The bridge is the longest of its kind on the South American continent and it took eight years to build. There’s an interesting story behind this bridge that is worth the read…..

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/1895-this-suspension-bridge-in-colombia-is-still-the-second-longest-span-of-its-kind-on-the-continent/


The Bridges of Schwerin, Germany-

For bridge tours on the international front, I would recommend the bridges of Schwerin. It features seven iron bridges, three unique modern bridges, a wooden truss span, a former swing span and  a multiple span arch bridge that is as old as the castle itself, Schwerin’s centerpiece and also home of the state parliament. This was a big steal for the author as the day trip was worth it.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/11/03/the-bridges-of-schwerin/




Thomas Viaduct in Maryland-

Little is written about the multiple-span stone built in 1835, except that it’s still the oldest functioning viaduct of its kind in the US and one stemming from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad era.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/06/25/thomas-viaduct-in-maryland/


The Bridge Daheim in New York-

Geoff Hobbs brought the bridge to the attention of the pontist community in July 2020, only to find that the bridge belonged to a mansion that has a unique history. As a bonus, the structure is still standing as with the now derelict mansion.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/mystery-bridge-nr-132-the-bridge-daheim/


The Bridges of Jefferson Proving Grounds in Indiana-

The Proving Grounds used to be a military base that covered sections of four counties in Indiana. The place is loaded with history, as not only many buildings have remained largely in tact but also the Grounds’ dozen bridges or so. Satolli Glassmeyer provided us with a tour of the area and you can find it in this film.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2020/07/23/the-bridges-of-jefferson-proving-grounds-in-indiana-hyb/


Now that the favorites have been announced and awarded, it is now the voter’s turn to select their winners, featured in nine categories of the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards. And for that, we will go right, this way…… =>


2021 Bridgehunter Awards with New Categories

One of seven iron pedestrian bridges in Schwerin’s Castle Gardens. Photo taken in 2020


Two of the new categories honor the late James Baughn.


GLAUCHAU (SAXONY), GERMANY-  2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Bridgehunter Awards and if there is one thing to describe this occasion, it is the „quasi“ extension of the Chronicles‘ 10th anniversary. Originally known as the Ammann Awards, it was introduced in November 2011 and since then, it has become a popular award that focuses on historic and unique bridges in terms of best examples of preserving them, bridge photography, bridge tours and honoring those who spent years in the business of historic bridge preservation and tourism.

College Drive Bridge in Marshall, MN. Photo taken in 2010

This year’s 10th anniversary pays special tribute to the late James Baughn, who was the founder of bridgehunter.com and was the recipient of the 2019 Bridgehunter Awards for Lifetime Achievement. Mr. Baughn died from injuries sustained in a fall from hiking on December 6th, 2020, just three weeks before turning 40. Since the beginning of this year, we’ve been doing a Pic of the Week tribute to him and his work. This will continue through the end of this year.   For the occasion, the Bridgehunter Awards will introduce a new category and rename another in his honor. They consist of the following:

Endangered T.R.U.S.S Awards-

Originally known as the T.R.U.S.S. Awards, this was created by Mr. Baughn but was unfortunately discontinued because of the high rate of demolition in comparison to informing the public and making efforts to preserving and restoring them. The tradition is being revived in his honor. Each bridge that has a high value but is threatened with demolition or collapse will be profiled by the Chronicles during the year. During the Bridgehunter Awards, voting will commence and we will announce the top 10 endangered historic bridges when the winners of the Bridgehunter Awards are announced in January. Unlike the T.R.U.S.S. Awards, the new version is open for historic bridges both in the United States as well as on the International stage. If you have a bridge you would like to see profiled and win the Endangered T.R.U.S.S. Awards, please contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles, providing him with photos, details and information on the bridge and why it should be considered an Endangered Truss.  Links to the articles, including that of a wordpress or blogspot site are more than welcome.

James Baughn Individual Bridge Award-

Originally known as the Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge Award, this award has the same function as its predecessor- basically identifying a historic bridge that is largely unknown to the public, and giving it the international recognition needed. The difference is the name, for the late pontist had found and photographed many unique structures, most of them have unfortunately been replaced with a small number having been preserved for recreational use. The category is open for US and International bridges as in the past.

Sumner Avenue Overpass in Toledo, Ohio. Photo taken in 2010

In addition to the two categories honoring Mr. Baughn, the Bridgehunter Awards will feature two new categories, including the Best Bridge Media/ Genre and the Tour of Lost Bridges. To be specific:


Best Bridge Media-

The Award will be given to the best bridge book, genre involving bridges and/or best bridge media, including websites devoted to historic/ history of bridges. Some of these will be profiled in the Chronicles. If you have a bridge source that deserves international recognition, please contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles. The sources can be in any language, be it English, German, French, Spanish or other sources. The category will be divided up into North American bridges and International Bridges. Links, reviews, interviews are welcome, yet a short summary in English will be needed in order for it to be entered.


Tour of Lost Bridges-

This Award will be given to a region where there used to be historic bridges, but since a long time (earliest 5-10 years), none or even one example have remained. They can pertain to a city, county, park area, or region where there was a large number of bridges within a radius of up to 50 kilometers.  Like in the category Bridge Tour Guide, the top six will be awarded for both North American and International bridges.

And finally, the deadline and the announcement of the winners will be announced later than planned. The deadline for all submissions of bridge candidates will be December 1st, as planned, to allow for voting to commence right after that. The voting will end on January 21st, 2022 at 11:59pm, your local time,  with the winners to be announced on January 22nd. The experiment of pushing back the deadline for the 2020 worked wonders as it has allowed for voters to spend time looking at and choosing their favorites in the respective categories. For that reason, the winners will be announced towards the end of January.

And not to worry, folks. This will not interfere with the Super Bowl in American Football, which takes place at the end of January/ beginning of February.

Berliner Brücke in Halle (Saale), Germany. Photo taken in 2017

No changes to the Author’s Choice Awards are expected, except the winners will be announced as usual, a day before the winners of the Bridgehunter Awards. In this case, January 22nd, 2022 will be the date.

Entries for the 2021 Bridgehunter Awards will be taken between now and December 1st, 2021. If you have a candidate for a category, feel free to submit it to Jason Smith at the Chronicles, using the contact details below. For Best Bridge Photo, all pics submitted must be emailed manually to flensburg.bridgehunter.av@googlemail.com and must be in jpeg format with no more than 1MB.

We hope that 2021 will be a much better year for everybody, including those who had to miss out on bridgehunting due to the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions. While the vaccinations are out there, we will still have the virus to deal with for a long period of time. So get the shot but stay safe out there, nonetheless.  Happy Bridgehunting until we meet again.

A Walk through Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge — Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Not the river itself of course but the town named after the river. Last month – before the latest round of lockdowns went into effect – we spent the night in Hood River. Getting there was the best part – traveling the Historic Columbia River Highway through the Columbia Gorge. There are dozens of waterfalls […]

A Walk through Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge — Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Sarah Ann Henley: the suicide girl who fluttered to safety — RANDOM Times •

The beautiful England’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, originally designed by the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, stands 101 metres above the River Avon and spans a 400-metre wide gorge. Located just outside the city of Bristol, it has been considered an engineering marvel ever since it was opened in 1864….but also a magnet for people […]

Sarah Ann Henley: the suicide girl who fluttered to safety — RANDOM Times •

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 130: A Tribute to James Baughn

Sometimes the best photographers usually follow the events that are happening by visiting the site on a regular basis and taking lots of pictures. For bridge photographers, this applies when there are projects like bridge restoration or in this case, bridge replacement.

In our next series paying tribute to James Baughn, we go back to the year 2003 and to this bridge, the Cape Girardeau Bridge. This bridge was the oldest of the Twenties Trio that were built within a year of each other along the Upper Mississippi River. In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill, authorizing the bridge project at Cape Girardeau. The American Bridge Company of New York (superstructure) and U.G.I. Construction of Philadelphia were given the contract to build the bridge, which the project started in February 1927 and was completed in September 1928. Three months later, the Quincy Bridge followed and at the beginning of 1929, the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis. The bridge featured a series of six Pennsylvania through truss spans, followed by a continuous through truss span (671 feet), with a total length of 4471 feet.

In 2002, construction was let to build its replacement, the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, the current bridge that features a cable-stayed span with H-shaped towers. The original bridge was closed to traffic on 13 December, 2003, the same day the new bridge opened to traffic. Demolition of the old bridge commenced in June 2004 and lasted a half year. What’s left of the original structure is an arch and the first two spans on the Missouri side, which were repurposed as an observation deck.

James did a detailed series on the bridge before and after its replacement and including the demolition of the bridge. During that time, he collected a series of facts and history of the structure, which he added as the bridge was being replaced. You can find this in his bridgehunter.com website by clicking here. The details he did of the bridge in terms of photos as well as research, served as an inspiration for another person to do the same with his website, Nathan Holth, who launched historicbridges.org in 2003, the same year the truss bridge was replaced. You can access his website by clicking here.

If there was a lesson learned from this, it is this: Details are key, especially if you are looking for hard-core facts that are needed to complete the bridge’s story or if you want to contradict the facts given by a previous author. Bridgehunter.com is like wikipedia as it provides a database with photos, facts and stories about bridges like these with the goal of making the information available for those to use for their own purposes, be it for research for a school project or for finding information to nominate a structure for the National Register of Historic Places or even for personal reasons. When this bridge was being replaced, the website was in its infancy. Now looking back at James’ legacy and in particular, this bridge, the website has been serving its purpose well- a library with interesting facts for all to access.

And if there is a word of advice for those who are doing a project that features one or more bridges, check out bridgehunter.com first, followed by the others. There you will find at least something that will serve as your starting point and can build off from there. The website is like an encyclopedia, you will most likely find what you are looking for. 🙂

The Bridges of Zeitz, Germany

TYB: This bridge tour takes us back to 2015, where I stumbled upon a small town in the eastern part of Saxony-Anhalt that not only had a history with it being a venue for motion picture films but also for its bridges. Zeitz is located SE of Naumburg(Saale) and S of Leipzig along the White Elster…..

The Bridgehunter's Chronicles

Haynsburg Bridge. Photos taken in March 2015 Haynsburg Bridge. Photos taken in March 2015

Located along the River White Elster in eastern Saxony-Anhalt, the city of Zeitz, with ist population of 29,000 inhabitants, represents one oft he dying cities in the former East Germany. High unemployment, empty buildings, abandoned industries and a crumbling infrastructure, combined with historic buildings dating back to the 1800s that are sitting empty are what a person can see when passing through the city. Most of its main traffic has been diverted away from the city, and the only rail service in Zeitz are the lines connecting the city with Weissenfels, Gera and Leipzig- all privately owned and localized.

Yet the city scape of Zeitz has, for the most part been in tact, thus making it the venue for many films produced that require an East German scene or story. Despite their emptiness, many historic buildings in the city center are worth visiting…

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