Wartime Bridges: Stories of Bridges and their Roles in World War II now being collected for series

The Bridge at Tczew, Poland. Supposedly the bridge that sparked World War II in September 1939. It was destroyed on September 1, 1939 during the Nazi Invasion. Drawn by Ernst Keil in 1858 after its opening.

Wartime Bridge Series

In connection with the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 10th anniversary of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and sister column The Flensburg Files, we’re starting a series on Wartime Bridges. In this series, we’ll look at the (historic) bridges that played a key role in World War II. They include popular and historic bridges that were destroyed in the war, like the bridges in Cologne, Frankfurt and Berlin, the third city there’s a book written on it which will be presented as a separate article later.  They can also include bridges that were used for troops to cross as they march their way to victory. Two bridges have been mentioned in separate articles in the Chronicles- the Pegasus Bridge in France and the Remagen Bridge over the River Rhine in Germany.  Nonetheless, the question is which other bridges played a key role in the war, regardless of outcome?

There are two ways to present your articles:

  1. If you have a blog or other online column, you can proceed with doing a write-up on the bridge of your choice, send the link with the finished product and it will be reblogged onto the two columns.
  2. If you don’t have a blog or online column, or you have a blog but would prefer not having it reblogged, you can write an article on it and send it directly to the Chronicles, using the contact details provided here.

The articles will be posted in both the Chronicles and the Files including whatever photos you wish to have on there. If it comes from a source other than yours, please cite the source.

We will start with the bridges in the European theater for World War II ended on 8 May, 1945 with Germany’s surrender. The series on the Bridges of World War II in Europe will continue until September. From that point on until the end of this year, we will focus on the bridges in the Pacific theater and their key roles. Japan surrendered on 2 September, 1945.

To give you an idea what’s expected, here are the two sample articles that were posted recently:

The Bridge at Remagen (D)

Pegasus Bridge (Fr)

Another bridge mentioned is the Tczew Bridge in Poland, which was supposedly the place where the first shots were fired. The story can be found here.

Looking forward to your written works. It’s open to all, not just the pontists, historians and photographers.

BHC 10 years

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BHC Newsflyer: 1 May 2020- May Day

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Photo by Mike Sinko on Pexels.com

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To listen to the podcast, click here: https://anchor.fm/jason-smith-bhc19/episodes/BHC-Newsflyer-May-1–2020-edfq6l

 

Top News Stories:

Phantom Bridge Stories: In connection with the BHC’s 10th anniversary special, stories and photos are being taken for the next theme in the bridgehunter series. This one has to do with Phantom Bridges. These are historic bridges that used to carry a major road but have been closed down for many years. These are abandoned structures that can be found in wooden settings and present a haunting feeling when visiting it. The question I have is what is your phantom bridge or your favorite story involving visiting a phantom bridge? A couple examples are presented in the article, including a film by Satolli Glassmeyer from History in Your Backyard. Please send your stories and photo to Jason Smith at the Chronicles, using the contact info you can find here.

Examples of Phantom Bridges:

Above film: Phantom Bridge in Indiana (HYB)

Mystery Bridge in Georgia- click here

The Bridges of Harvey/Tracy (Iowa)- click here

 

 

Lyme-East Thetford Bridge Listed on the National Register

Article: https://www.vnews.com/Lyme-East-Thetford-bridge-added-to-National-Register-of-Historic-Places-34053051

Bridge Info:  http://bridgehunter.com/nh/grafton/15700530011200/

 

New Squbb Zig Zag Bridge in Brooklyn: https://ny.curbed.com/2020/4/28/21240112/brooklyn-bridge-park-squibb-bridge-reopen

 

9th Street Bridge in Boise to Receive New Decking

Article: https://boisedev.com/news/2020/04/27/ninth-street-bridge/

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/id/ada/old-ninth-street/

 

Rezner Bowstring Arch Bridge to get a make-over

Article: https://www.vindy.com/news/local-news/2020/04/historic-poland-bridge-to-get-200000-facelift-this-autumn/

Bridge info (including biography on William Rezner):  https://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=ohio/poland/

 

Historic Prestolee Bridge Restored and Reopened

Article: https://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/18390668.packhorse-bridge-prestolee-restored-former-glory/

Info on Packhorse Bridge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packhorse_bridge

Info on Prestolee Bridge:  https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1162287

 

Historic Iron Bridge in the Bavarian Alps to be Replaced using Climbers and Rope

Article: https://www.br.de/nachrichten/bayern/neue-bruecke-in-der-hoellentalklamm-auf-dem-weg-zur-zugspitze,Rwh0o1A

 

New Bridge Builder Sought for Leverkusen Bridge after Defective Bridge Parts Imported from China

Article: https://www.ksta.de/region/leverkusen/stadt-leverkusen/leverkusener-bruecke-minderwertiger-stahl-aus-china-beschaeftigt-landtag-36623982

Bridge Info: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheinbr%C3%BCcke_Leverkusen

 

Note: This does not include the short headlines you will listen to in the podcast.

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BHC Newsflyer: 24 April 2020

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Kraemerbruecke in Erfurt at Christmas time. Photo taken in December 2010

Corona Special: The Cancellation of Bridge Festivals

In both the USA as well as Germany and other European countries, communities in the summer time host bridge festivals (in German: Brückenfest), where markets and festivities take place at their beloved historic bridge. This usually takes place on a weekend and attracts thousands of visitors from all corners of the world. Because of the pandemic CoVid-19, these events are either cancelled or are about to be cancelled or postponed because of the high risk of spreading the virus. And if the Oktoberfest in Munich gets cancelled for the first time since 1949, no bridge festival is safe. Hence the information in this week’s podcast, including links.

This week’s podcast: https://anchor.fm/jason-smith-bhc19/episodes/BHC-Newsflyer-Corona-Special-24-April-2020-ed6gkf

 

And the headlines:

Krämerbrücke Festival in Erfurt Cancelled/ Erfurt mourns loss of longest tenant on the bridge:

Links: https://www.thueringer-allgemeine.de/regionen/erfurt/wuerdevoller-abschied-id228913845.html

https://www.otz.de/service/live-blog-coronavirus-fruehere-ladenoeffnung-in-thueringen-elf-zalando-mitarbeiter-in-erfurt-infiziert-id228803581.html

https://www.thueringer-allgemeine.de/regionen/erfurt/wuerdevoller-abschied-id228913845.html

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2266348657007500&id=1508477809461259

 

Horde Bridge Fest in Dortmund Cancelled:

Info: https://hoerder-stadtteilagentur.de/bruckenfest_hor-de_international/

Article: https://www.ruhrnachrichten.de/dortmund/hoerder-brueckenfest-wird-wegen-corona-verschoben-1505428.html

 

Nuremberg Bridge Fest at Theodor-Heuss-Brücke expected to be cancelled

Information on Bridge Fest: https://www.nuernberg.de/internet/stadtportal/brueckenfestival.html

Cancellation of events in Bavaria: https://www.antenne.de/nachrichten/bayern/corona-diese-grossveranstaltungen-in-bayern-wurden-bereits-abgesagt

Cencellation of Oktoberfest 2020 in Munich: https://flensburgerfiles.wordpress.com/2020/04/21/munich-oktoberfest-cancelled/

 

Brückefest in Heidelberg postponed until next year.

Karl Theodore Bridge- https://www.heidelberg.de/hd/HD/Besuchen/alte+bruecke+und+brueckentor.html

City Festivals- https://www.altheidelberg.org/veranstaltungen

 

Covered Bridge Festival in Elizabethon, Tennessee Called Off

Article: https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Fairs-Festivals/2020/04/15/Carter-man-charged-in-murder-of-his-mother-arrested-at-Atlanta-Airport-86.html

Bridge Info: https://bridgehunter.com/tn/carter/bh36947/

County Bridge Tour:  https://bridgehunter.com/tn/carter/

 

Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana Will Not Happen

Article: https://www.katc.com/news/coronavirus/breaux-bridge-crawfish-festival-postponed

Event Info: http://bbcrawfest.com/about/

 

Note: Further cancellations of bridge festivals are likely as the virus progresses and planners remain concern about the safety of their bridges, communities and the people who visit them in large masses. The Chronicles will continue to provide you with updates through the Newsflyer podcast as they come.

To follow up more on the Corona Virus, go to the sister website, The Flensburg Files (click here.) There, you can read up on all the stories involving CoVid-19, including events being cancelled in Germany (and Europe) and people over there who are dealing with the virus and the restriction of movements.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 93

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This Pic of the Week takes us back to Glauchau and a site where no one really expected this- a work of art that doesn’t need any type of bracing for support. This photo was taken during our walk on Easter Sunday and is that of the Hirschgrundbrücke at the Castle Complex. Since October 2018, the bridge had been rebuilt, piece by piece under a coat of steel scaffolding. Since the beginning of April, the cranes have disappeared and it was only the decking that needs to be finished on the bridge. Still, the scaffolding was covering the bridge for many days.

On this day, the bridge was presented in its former glory- stone bridge with its four arches; the photo taken just as the trees were about to blossom with flowers and leaves and the ground was about to become greener.  It looked like the bridge has arisen, as much as Jesus had arisen from the dead- both coming back to life to bring good tidings and love to the people. The difference, the bridge is here to stay while Jesus blessed it because of its beauty and its attachment to the castle and the nature that surrounds it. It was a real treat to see the bridge again after almost two years of absence.  And while the old structure could’ve been a great bridge of vegetation, like the one in Massachusetts, this structure will again connect history with nature- the castle and the park will again be one. And one that can be seen from the main street heading into the city center. ❤ 🙂

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UPDATE:

The decking is almost finished and work will then include the south approach, which is a meter higher than the bridge itself. The plan is to make a ramp to allow for pedestrians and the handicapped to cross the structure. At the same time, a new park south of the bridge is being constructed to provide visitors with some nature and recreation. That area used to have garden houses before the property was completely razed in December, last year.  While CoVid 19 has delayed numerous construction projects globally, this project, weather permitting, is expected to be finished well before the deadline of the end of June. The reason:  Despite the lockdown in the state of Saxony, some construction projects were allowed to continue but using safety guidelines to ensure nobody was infected with the virus.

 

The Chronicles will keep you updated on the latest with this project, including the grand opening of the bridge and park complex. Stay tuned. 🙂

 

BHC 10 years

BHC Newsflyer: April 10, 2020

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Heiligborn Viaduct in Waldheim (Saxony), Germany. Photo taken in 2018

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To listen to the podcast, click onto the link: https://anchor.fm/jason-smith-bhc19/episodes/BHC-Newsflyer-10-April-2020-eclf2j

 

Headlines:

Railroad Bridge north of Basel (Switzerland) Collapses- One Dead

Information on the incident: https://www.brueckenweb.de/2content/datenbank/bruecken/3brueckenblatt.php?bas=97327

 

A10 Bridge in Tuscany Region. Photo by Frank Selke

Century Old Bridge in Italy Collapses- Minor Casualties

Article:  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52213898

Bridge info:  https://www.brueckenweb.de/2content/datenbank/bruecken/3brueckenblatt.php?bas=86926

 

 

Spencerville Covered Bridge Recognized as State’s Favorite

Article:  https://www.kpcnews.com/thestar/article_90e3aec5-2039-51c9-8f97-6ff9ebf11b70.html

Bridge Information: https://bridgehunter.com/in/de-kalb/spencerville/

 

Bridge Street Bridge in Gardiner. Photo taken by Brian Bartlett

Gardiner Bridge Project Delayed Due to Corona Virus

Article: https://www.centralmaine.com/2020/04/07/gardiner-bridge-replacement-project-delayed/#

Info on the Project: https://reed-reed.com/gardiner-maine-bridges/

Bridge Info: https://bridgehunter.com/me/kennebec/bh59101/

 

Finlay Bridge in Medicine Hat (Alberta), Canada. Photo by Bryan Leitch / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Finlay Bridge in Medicine Hat (Alberta), Canada to be Rehabilitated

Article: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2020/04/06/city-planning-rehabilitation-of-finlay-bridge/

Bridge Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finlay_Bridge

 

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Bothell Bridge. Photo taken by John Gateley

Bothell Wooden Truss Bridge to be Replaced

Info on Bridge Project: http://www.ci.bothell.wa.us/487/Park-at-Bothell-Landing-Pedestrian-Bridg?fbclid=IwAR1udFEhVnOu6xcG1RsNJNY_MY39J5H3TvrxCwgwSIHX6wk_QjncTI2A8lg

 

Tour Guide on the Bridges of Waldheim (Saxony), Germany

Tour Guide: The Bridges of Waldheim (Saxony), Germany

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 92

Vessy Bridge

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Tying together bridges and the last entry on Robert Maillart in yesterday’s post, I’ve decided to move up the Pic of the Week by one day to show you another example of a work of art credited to the bridge engineer’s name. The Vessy Bridge spans the River Arve between the suburbs of Vessy and Veyrier in the southeastern portion of Geneva in Switzerland. The bridge is a deck arch span which features Maillart’s signature design, a three-hinged arch design. Construction started in 1936 and the 52 meter long structure was opened to traffic in 1937, three years before his passing.

These photos were taken in 2006, during my three month stay in Geneva. I did an internship for my Master’s studies at the World Health Organization during that time, and while I was there, I had an opportunity to photograph every bridge in the city, especially along the three rivers. This was one of them, which I photographed on a Saturday afternoon while on tour by bike. It was one of the rarest opportunities to get some shots from the middle of the river, like in picture below, for the Arve was at its lowest in terms of river levels. Despite having some vegetation in the foreground, one can get a closer look at the bridge and Malliart’s designs. Even more unique about this bridge are the vertical posts supporting the hinged arches as they are shaped like hour glasses. When I photographed the bridge in 2006, they still maintained a creme white color. Yet lately, they have been colorized with spraypaint and designs that are mostly deemed tasteless. You can find them in the photos taken by my colleague Nic Janberg via link here. In that link, you will find more literature pertaining to Maillart and his bridges.

Vessy Bridge

Vessy Bridge

Stay healthy and stay safe. Happy Bridgehunting! 🙂

BHC 10 years

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 90

Despite being on lockdown, we took an opportunity to go for a walk to get some fresh air, one of the few exceptions we were allowed to do. Since Monday we were only allowed to go shopping, go to a doctor or get some fresh air by walking or running as long as one is alone, with only one friend or with your family. We are blessed to have a castle and a park and pond which were only a kilometer from our house. And on a gorgeous Monday, we trekked to Grundel Park and Pond to tank up some vitamin D and enjoy the great outdoors.

As a bonus, we took a photo of Grundel Park Bridge, which connects the pond with an island. The structure is about a century old but its original predecessor was built in honor of Glauchau’s engineer, Heinrich Carl Hedrich, who not only built some bridges in the area, but became the first person who built the city water system for homes and businesses. The construction of the Flutgraben Canal encircling Glauchau also was to his name. The island has a monument on the opposite end of the bridge and a statue, both built in his honor. More on him will come later.

And as for the pic itself, on a sunny day with trees set to blossom, there’s nothing really much to say except this:

Wow! ❤ 🙂

 

BHC Newsflyer: 20 March, 2020

Padma Bridge in Bangladesh: One of many bridge projects on hold due to the Corona Virus. Photo taken by Afzalhossainbd / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

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CORONA SPECIAL

Headlines:

Pennsylvania suspends all bridge building projects

International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie. Photo taken by Mark Yurina in 2018

Michigan no longer accepting cash at toll bridges

Stillwater Lift Bridge. Photo taken in 2009

Reopening Celebrations at Stillwater Lift Bridge Delayed

Opening of Dublin Suspension Bridge Delayed

Sagar Bridge over the Neisse. Photo by Tnemtsoni / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

Traffic Jam causes problems for Oder-Neisse River crossings

Virus Delays Construction of Zuari Bridge in India

Peljesac Bridge under construction. Photo by: Ma▀▄Ga / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

Delays in China-Partnership Bridge Projects in Croatia and Bangladesh

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Photo taken in 2011

Update on the Lindaunis-Schlei Bridge Replacement Project- bridge now closed to vehicular traffic.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 89

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This week’s Pic of the Week takes us back to Germany and to Saxony. This bridge was spotted by chance while traveling to Schneeberg from Zwickau, using one of the detours mentioned in an earlier article because of the main route being closed for bridge construction (click here for details).

This pedestrian bridge is located at the Schlossteich, at the foot of  the castle  located on the hills in Wildenfels. The community is located 10 kilometers south of Zwickau and five kilometers south of Reinsdorf. It’s a very unusual stone arch bridge not only because of the fact that it was built for pedestrians that can cross the structure as they go around the pond and up the hill to the castle. The arches are much different- the center arch has a vertical elliptical shape with the keystone touching the top of the bridge. The outer arches are elliptical horizontally.  The bridge is over two centuries old and must’ve been built around the time of the castle itself.  The strangest thing is that the bridge- and the pond itself- are located on the edge of a steep hill, where the water is kept back. A series of dams are located on the side of the bridge where the waters of Schönau Creek are regulated as they go down the hill enroute to the Zwickau Mulde River at Wiesenburg. In fact, a series of waterfalls behind the bridge and pond can be found and one can pinpoint how the creek is created and water is flowing downwards.

This photo was taken at the time of spring, where many crocusses and Schneeglöckchen (snowbell flowers) are located. As a bonus, here’s a close-up of a bunch taken next to the bridge with the pond in the background:

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Note: The answer to the last guessing quiz question in connection with Pic of the Week Nr. 88 can be found here. A commentator got this one right the instant the article was posted. Another guessing quiz is in the making and will come soon. 🙂

 

BHC 10 years

Two changes to Facebook Pages

 

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Two pages changed to honor the (historic) bridges of Saxony (Germany) and Iowa.

GLAUCHAU (SAXONY), GERMANY- Two facebook webpage have been changed and henceforth will honor areas that are highly populated with historic bridges- and with that, their history, heritage and ways to keep them from becoming a memory.

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The Bridges of Saxony (Die Brücken Sachsens)

The original page Friends of the Rechenhausbrücke (Bockau Arch Bridge) was changed to The Bridges of Saxony. The webpage was originally created in 2018 and was used as a platform to campaign for preserving the 150-year old structure that used to span the Zwickau Mulde River near the village of Bockau, located six kilometers southwest of Aue and 10 km south of Schneeberg in the Ore Mountains. Despite all the efforts, the bridge was torn down last year after a new span was built on a new alignment. More details can be found here. 

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Since then, the page was gradually modified to include, first the bridges in the western Ore Mountain region and lastly the whole of Saxony. Saxony has one of the highest number of historic bridges that exist in Germany. Many of them survived two World Wars and the Cold War all intact. Some of them are still scheduled to be either rehabilitated or replaced.

To access the facebook page and like to follow, click  here.

The Historic Bridges of Iowa:

Another webpage that has been changed recently is the one for saving the Green Bridge at Jackson Street and Fifth Avenue in Des Moines. Like its Saxon predecessor, the original page was a campaign platform for saving the 1898 three-span structure built by George E. King, but whose future was in doubt due to structural concerns. Unlike its predecessor though, the bridge was saved thanks to a wide array of campaigns and fund-raisers. The bridge was restored and reopened in 2017.

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Afterwards, a survey was carried out on what to do with the page. There, 70% of the respondants favored converting the page into one honoring the historic bridges in Iowa. Iowa is in the top five in terms of the highest number of bridges ages 70 and older in the US. Many of them have been preserved while others have been closed down and their futures are in doubt, like the Cascade Bridge in Burlington.  Some have already been demolished despite historical status, like it happened with the Wagon Wheel Bridge   in 2016. Since yesterday, the name was changed. The facebook page is now called The Historic Bridges of Iowa and it can be accessed here.

Both pages have the same mission:

1. It will be used to share photos, stories and histories of bridges in their respective areas. People wishing to post them are more than welcome to do so.

2. News articles, aside from what comes from BHC, on historic bridges are also welcome.

3. If people have books on certain bridges in the Iowa or Saxony that they wish to present on the platform, they can do so.

4. It will also be a platform for exchanging ideas involving preserving historic bridges in Iowa and Saxony. This includes any initiatives from groups that are fighting to keep their bridge instead of being demolished.

Given the political situation facing Germany/Europe and the US, no political commentaries are allowed on the respective pages. They are solely used for talking about bridges.

Like to follow on both the pages and enjoy the bridge photos, stories and the like that you will see when visiting the pages. 🙂

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