Bridging our past with the future by preserving our heritage in the present.
Author: Bridgehunter's Chronicles
The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is a column produced by the author that focuses on historic bridges both in the USA as well as in Europe that tourists should visit before they are replaced or removed. Each bridge is profiled with the goal that people are aware of its existence and can take action regarding saving them. The Chronicles also provides a tour of some of the regions in both of the aforementioned areas, where there is a dense number of historic bridges that exist, with a goal of encouraging tourists to visit these areas and encourage others to add the place to their travel itineraries. And finally, the Chronicles provides readers with news stories of historic bridge preservation efforts, events involving historic bridge (preservation)- such as the Historic Bridge Conference, bridge symposiums, etc., discussion about historic bridges, preservation and education about them, and literary work on historic bridges that were released to the public and the public should read about.
Part 2 in the tribute series to Toshirou Okamoto looks at a steel eyebar suspension bridge spanning the Sumari River in Tokyo, one of many that surivived World War II. The information is as follows:
Kiyosubashi is a bridge over the Sumida-gawa River that runs through Tokyo Metropolitan Road No. 474, Hamacho Kitasunacho Line (Kiyosubashi). The name “Kiyosu” was selected from applicants who were interested in the names of Kiyosumi-cho, Fukagawa Ward and Nakasu-cho, Nihonbashi Ward on both sides of the river at the time of construction. The bridge was planned together with Eitai Bridge as a reconstruction project after the Great Kanto Earthquake. The bridge was designed to be a pair with the Eitai Bridge, which was called “Gates of Imperial Tokyo” and also called “The Flower of Disaster Reconstruction” for its elegant design. It is modeled after the Hindenburg Bridge (English and German versions) in Cologne, Germany, which was called the world’s most beautiful bridge at the time (the bridge was destroyed in World War II and is now not a suspension bridge because another bridge was rebuilt). Efforts were made to reduce the cross section of the steel by using low-manganese steel under study in the Navy. It is also the place where there used to be a ferry boat called “central delivery”.
In 2000, the bridge and Eitai-bashi Bridge were selected as “1st JSCE Selected Civil Engineering Heritage” of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers. On June 18, 2007, this bridge, together with Kachidokibashi Bridge and Eitaibashi Bridge, was designated as a national important cultural property (building) for the first time as a prefectural highway bridge.
Description of the Bridge:
•Structural Style – Self-anchoring Steel Suspension Bridge •Length of bridge: 186.3 m •Width 22.0 m •Construction begins in March 1925. •Completed in March 1928 •Main contractor: Tokyo City Reconstruction Bureau •Design: Seiichi SUZUKI (Architects such as Mamoru YAMADA and Bunzo YAMAGUCHI (Kazō Okamura) were involved in the design.) •Kobe Kawasaki Dockyard & Machinery Works
Information and photos courtesy of Toshirou Okamoto.
There were four pontists who died between December 6th 2020 and August 2021. Three of whom have been honored for their work during the last year in the Chronicles: James Baughn, James Cooper and J.R. Manning. I’m now introducing you to the fourth pontist in the series, one that was unknown until I got into some history discussions with him, unfortunately for a very limited time.
I met Toshirou Okamoto in one of the Bridge social media pages on facebook back in 2020 as he posted a lot of photos of bridges in Japan, many of which had survived the ordeal of World War II. When we think of World War II in the sense of architecture, we think of Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg and the Rhine region, with buildings and bridges dating back to the 1700 and 1800s being reduced to rubble by the bombings. We think of Hitler’s Scorch Bridge policies which doomed hundreds of bridges, including the Ludendorf, the Wesel, and Dömitz.
And for Japan, we think of the atomic bomb which ended World War II with Hiroshima and Nagasaki being decimated with a single drop. We don’t talk much about the atrocities of the Japanese and Americans on both sides, not to mention the devastation in Japan and the Pacific because of the air wars. Japan has a wide array of historic bridges that we know little about, many of them over a century old and featuring arch and truss bridge spans. Having subscribed to the pages of many Japanese pontists on Instagram, I’m really amazed at how these bridges survived the war and how Japanese engineers make the maximal use out of maintaining and using these bridges.
This led me to inquiring about some of the bridges Okamoto contributed in hopes of adding some examples in the Chronicles. He started off with some in Tokyo that survived the war in tact, providing some history on the structure and some other facts. Before he was able to complete the quest of Tokyo and some bridges in Japan that played a role in the war though, he died unexpectedly in July 2021. His family ruled his untimely passing as something in connection with stroke, as they posted on his facebook page.
This led me to doing a tribute in his honor. The plan is to profile each bridge that played a role in the war, using the pics and information he sent me before he died. With some minor changes (like headings and other items, everything presented here is original in his writing. This will be ongoing through the end of January to allow you to look at and appreciate the architecture and history that Japan is famous for, something we should have a look at even as leisure.
And for that, we will start off with our first bridge:
Kuramaebashi is a bridge over Sumida-gawa River that runs through Tokyo Metropolitan Road No. 315 Okachimachi-Koiwa Line (Kuramaebashi-dori Street). The entire bridge is painted yellow, reminiscent of rice husks. There is the Kuramae Kokugikan from September 1954 to December 1984, and the handrails are decorated with reliefs of wrestlers and so on. The present bridge was built according to the reconstruction plan of the Great Kanto Earthquake. Before that, there used to be a ferry boat called “Fujimi no Watashi”.
Description of the Bridge:
•Classification – Steel-Concrete Road Bridge •Type -3 span continuous overhead solid rib 2 hinge arch and overhead concrete fixed arch •Length of bridge: -173.2 m •Branch: -50.902 m (maximum span of steel arch)/12.192 m (concrete arch support) •Width -22.0 m •Live load – First class bridge (TL -12/1919 Street Structure Ordinance) •Construction started: September 1924 (1924) •Completed: November 1927 (1927) •Main contractor: Tokyo City Reconstruction Bureau •Design: Iura Izo •Construction – Ishikawajima Shipyard
Note: Information courtesy of Wikipedia translated into English from Japanese (Many thanks!) The pictures were taken from a pleasure boat on the Sumida River. Sumida River Sightseeing Boat is a recommended sightseeing spot for bridge lovers.
There will be more bridges to come as we pay tribute, however one of the cities, Nagasaki, has a tour guide of bridges that also indeed survived the war, not to mention the atomic bomb in 1945. That bridge is in the running for the 2021 Bridgehunter Awards in the category Bridge Tour Guide International. A tour guide on that can be found here:
Plans to Convert Buck O’neil Bridge in Kansas City into Lineal Park
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2021 Bridgehunter Awards:
You have one week left to submit your votes and push your favorite bridges to the finish line. Voting ends on January 21 at 19:00 Berlin time, 12:00 Chicago time. The winners to be announced on the 22nd. Further information on the Awards available here so that everyone knows and can prepare to party in case their bridge(s) win:
One week ago and the race is tightening up in all ten categories. If you have not had a chance to vote, now is the time to do so. If you want your favorite candidate(s) to win, now is the time to do so. While we’re biting our teeth over who will make the road to the Super Bowl in American football, many of us are biting their teeth to see who will win the competition in the 2021 Bridgehunter Awards. And the winner depends on you. 🙂
You have until January 21st at 19:00 (7:00pm) Berlin time, 12:00 (pm) Chicago time to submit your votes in each of the ten categories. Afterwards the votes will be tallied and the winners will be announced in the Chronicles the next day, January 22nd. It will be made available both online and through its Newsflyer podcast. The winners will also be posted on most of the social media pages dealing with bridges, including and especially the pages devoted to saving the historic structures.
In case you have any issues with the voting, a pair of hints to pass along to you:
In each of the categories you will find the link at the beginning, which will take you directly to the voting platform, where you can submit your votes for the category you chose and then close it. Multiple voting is possible.
A thousand thanks to those who were willing to allow me to use the photos for the contest. Just as many thanks goes out to those who were tagged in the photos and informed others about the contest. Some of you were wondering why you were tagged. It was for the purpose of getting as many people involved as possible. If you haven’t done that yet, please do it. It’s not too late to vote!
And with that, here are the links to the three parts of the voting ballot. Part 1 is for Best Bridge Photo, Part 2 is for Bridge Tour Guide USA and International, Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge and Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge. Part 3 is for the rest, including two new categories- Bridge Media and Genre and Endangered T.R.U.S.S.- plus Lifetime Achievement, Mystery Bridge and Bridge of the Year. Click on the parts, and do your part to support historic and unique crossings which have made it to the history books for their design and value towards infrastructure and history. History is history, but it has an influence on our future, especially as far as Bridge Building and Engineering is concerned.
So click on the links, submit your votes, encourage others to vote and happy bridgehunting, folks! Thank you for your support.
The Triple Bridge(above) is a group of three bridges in Slovenia, connecting Ljubljana’s medieval town on one bank with the modern city on the other. Originally a single stone arch bridge dating from 1842, the architect Jože Plečnik, in 1929, designed an extension. This consisted of two foot-bridges on either side, at slight angles to the original, in order to prevent it from becoming a bottleneck.
The Cobbler’s Bridge(below, at night), also designed byPlečnik, is decorated by two kinds of pillars: Corinthian(delineating the bridge’s shape) and Ionic(as the lamp-bearers).
The Butcher’s Bridge(below), also planned by Plečnik in the 1930s but not constructed until 2010 (due to the outbreak of WWII), is the last remaining piece of his master plan. Its modern glass and metal structure adds a new twist to Ljubljana’s fantastic bridge collection. The main sculptures on the bridge represent figures from the Old Testament and…
While many countries are concerned about so-called “love locks” damaging the aesthetics and/or structural integrity of their bridges, going so far as to either forbid or remove them, the Finnish capital of Helsinki passed laws in 2010 allowing them on any of the city’s bridges. One bridge in particular is especially popular, despite its small size, namely, the Rakkauden Silta (“Bridge of Love”) which crosses over a narrow section of the Vantaa River beneath the imposing Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral. A love lock is simply just a padlock that sweethearts lock onto a public fixture, such as a bridge, fence, gate, or monument, as a symbol of their unbreakable love. Typically, the lovers’ names or initials are inscribed onto the padlock and the key is then thrown into a nearby river.
The history of love padlocks is said to date back to World War I, to when a schoolmistress from the Serbian town of Vrnjačka Banja fell…
Photo courtesy of Thorben Ecke (available on Instagram)
Co-produced with sister column
This photo flick has no explanations. Two people crossing the Hamburg-Harburg Bridge spanning one of the arms of the River Elbe on the south end of town. It just snowed and the two were taking their umbrella, walking across the bridge, talking about current events, memories and whatever was on their minds and what they could do to help. A case of friendship and love in winter wonderland. ❤
Don’t forget to vote for the 2021 Bridgehunter Awards. Between now and January 21, you can submit your votes in ten categories. Click on the links below to access the ballot (in three parts):
The Osborne County Hall of Fame Honors celebrates the Osborne County Sesquicentennial Year of 2021, marking the first 150 years of the county's existence. The "Honors" will present, recognize, and appreciate the various aspects of Osborne County, Kansas heritage and culture both past and present in a different manner than its parent organization, the Osborne County Hall of Fame. The series of lists that comprise the "Honors" will be revealed throughout the year on this site and via other social media. All Individuals already enshrined in the Osborne County Hall of Fame are excluded from the "Honors". Happy 150th Birthday, Osborne County!