Mystery Bridge Nr. 157: The Oldest (and Unusual) Bridge in Husum, Germany

In Schleswig-Holstein, the oldest known bridge in the state can be found in the town of Schmalfeld in the district of Segeberg, located in the eastern part of the state. It was built in 1785 and was in service for 198 years before it was bypassed and converted into a bike trail crossing. It is one of only a handful of arch bridges that are known to exist in the northernmost state in Germany.

Source: Holger.Ellgaard, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Many arch bridges have gone unnoticed during the surveys of historic bridges in the last half decade, some of which deserve some sort of recognition.

The Schiffsbrücke in Husum is one of them. The bridge spans the Mühlenau at Zingeldamm near the Schiffsfahrtsmuseum (Museum of Shipping) and is the last crossing before the river empties into the harbor- right after the crossing. There’s next to no information on the bridge except for a couple dates to pass along to it. The first is in the picture above, which has a date of 1858 with the letter F on it.

Husum was part of the kingdom of Frisia, a region which stretched from southern Denmark, all the way to northeastern Netherlands, all along the North Sea coast and includes the islands in the Halligen region. The first known existence came in during the Roman Empire and it was once a regional powerhouse until the 16th Century, when it was split up. The German portion of Frisia, including Husum, became Uthlande, which later became part of Denmark until after the War of 1864, which resulted in German annexation. It is possible that given the Danish crown on the insignia, that Denmark had recognized Husum as Frisian, thus allowing for the language and culture to continue thriving. Yet we need more information to confirm these facts and to answer the question of why we have this insignia.

While the insignia states it was built in 1858, the informational board located on Zingeldamm stated otherwise, as it claimed that the bridge was built in 1871. Where the information came from is unknown but as original insignias on bridges are known to be the most reliable source of information to determine its construction date, there are two possibilities behind these two conflicting dates:

  1. The information is proven false because of a lack of records and thus historians may have assumed the date without taking a closer look at the bridge.
  2. The bridge may have been rebuilt after it was destroyed but the original brick railings, arch and insignia were retained and restored to provide a historic taste and conformity to Husum’s thriving city center and adjacent harbor.

Much of Husum survived unscathed during World War II as it used to serve as a naval port for the Nazis until its relocation to Flensburg in the district of Mürwik in 1943. Its only scar was a concentration camp near the town of Schwesing, where prisoners were used to build a wall to keep the waters of the North Sea out. The camp only existed for a few months in 1944, yet atrocities committed there could not be ignored and even an investigation into the camp took place in the 1960s. The city center, with its historic brick buildings dating back to the 17th century, has mainly remained in tact with only a couple minor alterations over the past 75 years, which means Husum has retained its historic architecture making it an attractive place to visit. The Schiffsbrücke represents that historic character that belongs to Husum’s past.

Unique feature of Schiffsbrücke is its wall. Husum lies on the North Sea coast and has its Flut and Ebbe (high and low tide). To keep the waters of the North Sea out of the Mühlenau, the wall is hoisted up to the keystone of the arch span. Because the Mühlenau is a “sweet water” river, this is done to protect the flora and fauna that exists in the river and are reliant on fresh water. Other than that feature, the bridge and its unique brick railings and insignia is one of the most unique and ornamental arch bridges in the state. Yet its mystery behind the construction date and the engineer behind the bridge and wall system makes it a bridge that one should research more on to find out its history.

And with that, it is your turn. What do you known about the Schiffsbrücke regarding its history, and which date would you lean towards- 1858 or 1871?

Feel free to place your comments on the Chronicles, either directly or via social media.

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Author’s Note:

This bridge article is in connection with a book project on the Bridges of Schleswig-Holstein that has restarted since the author’s return. Click here to look at the details and feel free to contribute some information on the project. Happy bridgehunting, folks. 🙂 ❤

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Best Kept Secret: Landfalloybrua in Drammen, Norway

When we think of Norway, we think of large fjordes flanked by mountains, surrounded by wooden houses overlooking the seas. We think of long crossings that connect communities and attract tourists. We don’t think much about the country’s historic bridges as we are used to fancy but unique modern ones that cover the landscape.

That is unless you are Monika Pettersen, a photographer who finds some of the most unique and historic bridges in corners that are unknown to all but the locals. 🙂

This bridge caught the eyes of hundreds who have seen it on her Instagram page and is a best kept secret. The structure is a double-leaf bascule bridge spanning the river that also carries the name where the structure is located- Drammen. According to information I collected- it was built in 1867 based on the designs of Halvor Heyerdahl. It was 158 meters long and 2.9 meters wide. The spans were hoisted to allow for ships to pass. After World War II, local officials addressed the need for a taller structure to ship goods into and out of Drammen. Therefore a new bridge was built on alignment next to the drawbridge span and opened to traffic in 1967. Afterwards, this span was left in place and today, it serves as a pier and a monument, dedicated to its history and its association with the city.

This photo was taken at sundown and shows the reflections of the bridge, covered by collection of clouds. Its tranquil setting makes it a place where one could go for serenity. Normally, old bridges and natural settings make it a perfect place to listen to nothing but the nature. This one goes well beyond it as one can enjoy a little bit of history and awe at its structural appearance along the way. A perfect shot for a perfect bridge. ❤

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Many thanks to Monika Pettersen for allowing me to use her picture. You can see more of her stunning photos by visiting her Instagram page (click here).

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BHC Newsflyer: 20 March, 2021

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To listen to the podcast, click here for Anchor and here for WP.

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Headlines:

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Longest Causeway in Kenya to be replaced

Article: https://www.kenyans.co.ke/news/63324-kenha-closes-section-historic-mombasa-bridge-after-emergency

Information on the Causeway: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makupa_Causeway

Information on the Mobasa Bridge on the Causeway: https://constructionreviewonline.com/news/kenya/kenha-to-construct-a-bridge-across-makupa-causeway-in-mombasa/

And: https://www.kenyans.co.ke/news/60744-details-new-ksh82b-mombasa-gate-bridge-video

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Historic Batıayaz Bridge in Turkey Being Rehabilitated

Article: https://www.raillynews.com/2021/03/the-historical-batiayaz-bridge-is-being-repaired/

Information on the Bridge: https://www.flickr.com/photos/efkansinan/41715801790

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Utica Bridge in Illinois Imploded

Information on the Bridge: http://bridgehunter.com/il/lasalle/utica/

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Photo by Jann Mayer

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Bridge Street Bridge in California Restored and Reopened

Article: https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article249917298.html

Bridge Information: http://bridgehunter.com/ca/san-luis-obispo/49C0196/

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Award Given to Firm for Rehabbing Winnington Turn Bridge in the UK

Article: https://scottishconstructionnow.com/article/paisley-firm-wins-civil-engineering-award-for-english-bridge-restoration

Information on the bridge: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1391406

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Photo by James MacCray

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Historic Truss Bridge in Kentucky Moves to Park

Article: https://www.tristatehomepage.com/news/local-news/historic-bridge-moving-to-henderson-co-park/

Information on the Bridge: http://bridgehunter.com/ky/hancock/46C00028N/

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Arch of Chenab Railroad Bridge in Kashmir Completed

Article: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/railways-connects-bottom-ends-of-main-arch-of-world-s-tallest-bridge-over-chenab-101615921804613.html

Film on the Project:

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BHC Newsflyer: 27 February 2021

Telegraph Road Bridge over the Erie Canal in Orleans County, NY. Photo by Paige Miller

To listen to the podcast, click here and you will be directed to the Chronicles’ Anchor page.

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Headlines:

Seven Erie Canal Bridges in Orleans County Restored/ Another Erie Canal Bridge at Pittsford to be Restored

=> Information on the Bridges of Orleans County: http://bridgehunter.com/ny/orleans/

=> Information on the Pittsford Bridge: http://bridgehunter.com/ny/monroe/4443290/

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Winterbourne Bridge in Woolich (Ontario) Photo by Nathan Holth

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Historic Winterbourne Bridge in Ontario to be Restored

=> Info on the Bridge: https://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=ontario/winterbourne/

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Protests and Misunderstanding at the Historic Hospath Bridge in England

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Red Cliff Bridge. Photo taken by Roger Deschner in 2016

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Red Cliff Arch Bridge on Colorado’s Endangered List

=> Info on the Bridge: http://bridgehunter.com/co/eagle/red-cliff-arch/

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Source: Paweł Kuźniar (Jojo_1, Jojo), CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

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Controversial Historic Pilchowice Bridge Has New Owner- Plans to be Revitalized

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G. Fox Pedestrian Bridge on Connecticut’s Endangered List

=> Information on the G. Fox Department Store here.

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Holzbrücke Wettingen (CH) Source: Badener, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Restoration of a Combination Covered Bridge and Iron Span in Switzerland

=> Info on the Bridge: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holzbr%C3%BCcke_Wettingen-Neuenhof

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Jenkins Bridge Photo taken by Larry Dooley

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Jenkins Bridge Fundraising

=> Facebook page here

=> Fundraising page here.

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Gasconade Bridge. Photo taken by James Baughn

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Update on the Gasconade (Route 66) Bridge

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Media Tip: Cleveland State University Album

Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

The first Media Tip of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, and a first bridge book/genre in a long time, this tip takes us to Cleveland State University and to the Wilbur & Sara Ruth Watson Bridge Book Collection. This website was found by chance while searching for some bridge information and it’s one that is considered a jewel.

Dr. Sara Ruth Watson donated a series of rare books written and collected by her father Wilbur J. Watson to the Michael Schwarz Library at the University in 1983. Wilbur was a well-renowned civil engineer and bridge designer who founded the Watson Engineering Company in Cleveland. He authored several books including one that was produced together with her daughters, Ruth and Emily. The Emily M. Watson Endowment Fund was created three years later and focused on the collection of civil engineering works, including that of the Watson Company.

The Schwarz Library has recently been digitized with several works written by Watson on Cleveland’s bridges that can be found online. Yet this website features a gallery of photos collected by Watson during his lifetime, sixteen chapters worth with structures found throughout the US, Canada and Europe, including some in the southern and western half of Germany. They are categorized based on the chronological period of bridge construction, stemming from pre-1890, all the way to the 1920s. Feel free to access the site and the literature written by Watson, et. al.

Link: http://web.ulib.csuohio.edu/watson/albums/album11pg1.html

Mystery Bridge Nr. 138: The Unknown Bridge at the German-Danish Border

This Mystery Bridge entry is a joint-article written with The Flensburg Files as part of the series on the 100th Anniversary of the German-Danish Border and German-Danish Friendship.

One can see it from Google-Maps and if the skies are clear, from an airplane. Yet this mystery bridge is rather hidden in the forest and can only be reached by bike or on foot- assuming you don’t have a border to cross. This bridge is located right at the German-Danish border at Zollsiedlung, a district of Harrislee that is north of Flensburg and south of the Danish cities of Krusau and Pattburg.

Zollsiedlung at the Border. Here was where a hotel and border station located.

It’s three kilometers north of the Bridge of Friendship at Wassersleben, which is also a German-Danish pedestrian crossing. And like that bridge, this one crosses the Stream Krusau, which empties into the Flensburg Fjord. The crossing is known as the northermost in Germany and this since the creation of the German-Danish border in 1920. The bridge is accessible only by bike or on foot for there’s no cars allowed at the border.

What is known is that the bridge is a concrete beam bridge, yet judging by its wear and tear, it was probably built in the 1970s or 80s. It’s 12-15 meters long and narrow enough for one car to cross, even though the Madeskovvej is solely for bike and pedestrian use, unless you have a private residence nearby.

What is unknown is when exactly it was built and whether there was a previous structure at this location. If there was, then what did it look like?

We do know is that the bridge is owned by the Danes and is at the border that was established through a referendum in 1920. Flensburg and the areas of Tondern, Sonderburg, Apenrade, Hoyer, Husum, Schleswig and Rendsburg belonged to the former state of Schleswig which had been fought over three times between Denmark and the former Prussian (and later German) Empire. With Germany having lost World War I and being forced to pay reparations to France, Britain and the USA, the Versailles Treaty included a clause that allowed residents in the region to vote on moving the border, which had stopped at Sonderburg and Tonder in the north but had a potential to be pushed as far south as the Baltic-North Sea Canal . The present border was established through a referendum that was conducted on 10 February and 14 March, 1920, respectively, where the northern half (Sonderburg, Apenrade and Tondern) voted to be annexed by Denmark, while the southern half and Flensburg voted to remain in Germany. The votes were unanimous despite both areas having strong minorities. Flensburg remained a border town, despite having survived World War II with damages due to the bomb raids. Today, both the Danes and German are able to cross the border and do their shopping and commerce in their respective neighboring countries.

While at the bridge, it was fenced off because of restrictions due to the Corona Virus but also due to the Swine Flu that has been a major concern since 2015. Still, it didn’t stop the photographer from stealing a couple pics before moving on with hiking in the Tunnel Valley (Tunneltal), where the Krusau flows towards Niehuus. While walking towards the area, one has to wonder how this bridge came about? Any ideas?

A separate article on the German-Danish border will be posted in the Flensburg Files. If you want to tour Flensburg’s bridges, click here.

     

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 110

For the first time in three weeks we are presenting our Bridgehunter’s Chronicles‘ Pic of the Week, looking at photos of bridges taken by the author once a week.  The pics to come for the next month will look at the bridges in the region where the author took his vacation with his family- namely the Far North of Germany, known by locals as the Hohe Norden, where the German states of Mecklenburg-Pommerania and Schleswig-Holstein are located…….

…..and of course, the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, with a population of 1.9 million inhabitants. While the city has a lot to offer, such as the Elbphilharmonie, the Reeperbahn, the Green City of Wilhelmsburg and the harbor, it is home to over 2300 bridges of all kinds, some dating back to the days of Kersten Miles. Many bridges dating back a century ago survived the ariel bombings from World War II. Then there some dating to the days of modernization- bridges of sleek design but have become popular in many bridge books and among the locals……

….like the Köhlbrand Bridge.  With a height of nearly 54 meters and a total length of 3.4 kilometers, the cable-stayed suspension bridge is hard to miss when passing through the city both by boat as well as by car. It took approximately four years to build this gigantic structure, whose span is approximately 325 meters. It crosses the harbor, carrying a major road that leads to Hafen City in the center of the city, crossing four additional bridges, including the Freihafenbrücke, in the process.  One will start crossing the Köhlbrand after leaving the Motorway 7.  If you stay on the Motorway 7 going towards Flensburg, you will see the bridge on the right before entering the Elbtunnel.

And although you would most likely miss a photo of the bridge when traveling normal speeds on the Motorway 7, we were caught in a 25 kilometer traffic jam, crawling at no faster than 20 km/h  at times, which presented us with a possibility to capture multiple shots of the bridge from our location. With me at the wheel, my wife took a series of pictures of the bridge, including this black and white shot, showing an oblique view of the structure. Needless to say, this was a real steal, looking at the structure up close and personal, yet from a distance. We have a sample of more which you can find via facebook by clicking here below:

Sadly, the bridge’s days are soon to be numbered, A sharp increase in car and shipping traffic, combined with wear and tear have prompted officials from Hamburg and Berlin to plan for its replacement. Instead of a new bridge, a tunnel is expected to be built. To ensure federal funding is available, the major highway will be upgraded to a federal highway (Bundesstrasse). The plan is to have a new crossing in place by 2030. Whether it will happen or not remains to be seen, especially in light of the Corona Virus and impact on bridge building and the shipment of materials needed to build Köhlbrand’s replacement. It is unknown whether the current structure will remain in place, even though it is protected by Germany’s Cultural Heritage Laws (Denkmalschutz).  More will follow as the story unfolds. In the meantime, if you are stuck in traffic in Hamburg next time, take some time and pay homage to this unique structure, while she’s still sky-high and emitting its structural beauty throughout this Hanseatic City.

Pop Quiz: The Number of Bridge Spans

Photos taken in August 2020

Our next Wartime Bridge takes us to the village of Dömitz. The town is located on the River Elbe in the German state of Mecklenburg-Pommerania (MV) and is known for its lone crossing that connected MV and Lower Saxony, the Dömitz Elbe River Bridge.

While there are two crossings that exist, our focus is on the railroad bridge, which was built in 1873 and at the time of its opening, it was the longest bridge in Germany, with a length of just under one kilometer (exact: 986 meters). World War II and the subsequent division into East and West Germany- including the infamous border, doomed the structure for all that is left are 16 pony truss spans on the Lower Saxony side. All totaling 660 meters from its portal to the very last span before reaching the river.

Question to the forum:

Before writing more about the structure’s history here’s a pop quiz:

How many spans did the Dömitz Railroad Bridge have before it was bombed during World War II?

The answer will come next week. Good luck! 🙂

PKP PLK, which is the owner of the bridge, has not yet signed a contract for photos on the bridge At the end of 2019, a film crew inspected the bridge. The meeting was attended, among others, by representatives of the Polish Army Film producer Robert Golba does not say directly that the bridge, which […]

via Shooting for “Mission: Impossible” in Poland? Filmmakers interested in the Pilchowicki Bridge — Archyde

Photo of the Bridge:

Photo taken by Paweł Kuźniar (Jojo_1, Jojo) / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

BHC FORUM

Should this bridge be used for the Mission Impossible film at all? If so, how? Feel free to comment below but not before reading the article……

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 108

rabenstein viaduct1

This week’s pic of the week takes us back to Saxony and to the city of Chemnitz. I haven’t done much bridge photography this year on the count of the Corona Virus and the subsequent lockdown we were all in. Since the beginning of May, we’ve been loosening up the restrictions and when I photographed this bridge recently, it was just after the state government allowed for festivals to take place. For many that had been cooped up in their homes, it was a relief to be out and about, even if it meant wearing  mouth masks in public to ensure nobody gets sick.

rabenstein castle

The Medieval Festival took place at the Rabenstein Castle this past weekend; it was one of the first of such festivals to take place in public. The castle is located near another historic jewel, namely this viaduct.

The Rabenstein Viaduct was built in 1897 and it features a main span- a cantilever deck Warren truss with riveted connections, supported by two concrete arch approach spans. It was built to serve the local railroad line that connected Chemnitz Central Station with the town of Wüstenbrand. Trains used this line until it was discontinued by 1950. In the early 1980s, the East German government provided funding to repurpose the structure for pedestrian use, which it still does to this day. It’s a great place for hikers, as they can see the village of Rabenstein, with its historic houses below, as well as hills in the background, where Chemnitz is located.  The viaduct has been listed by the Saxony Ministry of Heritage and Historic Places (Denkmalschutz) for its unique design and its connection with the industrial and transportational history for the region of Chemnitz.  The viaduct is expected to be rehabilitated in the coming years to make the structure safer to use, yet the organization that owns the viaduct is collecting donations in order for the rehabilitation to happen.  Information on how to help can be found in the link below. There you can also read up on the history of the Wüstenbrand Railline.

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Link:

http://www.rabenstein-sa.de/sehenswertes/Rabensteiner_Viadukt/rabensteiner_viadukt.html

The viaduct is located about 400 meters from the Rabenstein Castle, yet finding it was a real difficulty because of the steep hills combined with thick forests and curvy hiking trails. Even vast portions of Rabenstein were lying on hills and the streets that connected the main highway with the castle and nearby campground made driving treacherous and hiking a challenge. Still no matter where you go, you will still reach the bridge regardless of which end you enter. When you are there, then it’s only five minutes tot he castle but not before climbing down to the main highway, which runs past the castle, first. You will see that with the pics that I present you of the bridge.  A real treat if you love the history of bridges and railroads, but also love the great outdoors.

rabenstein viaduct2

 

bhc est 2010a