MacArthur Bridge in St. Louis

 

The MacArthur Bridge is one of many historic gems that makes the City of St. Louis the place to visit. Spanning the Mississippi River, this three-span Pennsylvania through truss opened to traffic in 1917, eight years after construction started on the crossing. It featured a double-decker span, with rail traffic serving the bottom deck and the upper deck having had highway traffic. The bridge used to carry Route 66 until the Chain of Rocks Bridge opened in 1928 and the highway was relocated there. Another highway, US 460 also crossed the bridge. In 1941, the bridge was named in honor of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the war hero of World War II in the Pacific and an opposing candidate to Harry Truman in the 1948 US Presidential Elections. The upper deck was closed to all traffic in 1981 and has since been removed. The bottom deck is still receiving rail traffic on a regional and local basis although in the future, a new bridge may be needed.

To know more about the bridge, one has to look at what the bridge was like in the pas as well as in the future. I had an opportunity to find and watch this documentary on the history of the MacArthur Bridge. Produced by Rich Dinkela (Roaming Rich), it features old photos and films as well as drone footage of the structure to present viewers with a glimpse of a historic landmark and its history. More here and enjoy the docu! 🙂

Video:

There is a link that Shows you more of the MacArthur Bridge then and now. Note the Bridge is being alterated bit by bit to a Point where only the railroad Portion of the Bridge will remain in use. And then only for a short time as talks of replacing it with a newer span at ist own expense has been underway. More here.

 

bhc-logo-newest1

Advertisements

Hopfenbrücke in Vogtland

35348039_1918103018220338_5239367940817551360_o
All photos taken in June 2018 after the rehabilitation and reopening of the bridge.

While travelling along the main artery connecting Munich with Berlin, the Motorway 9, one ought to consider turning off at Schleiz and following the Highway B 282 and E 49 in the direction of Plauen for a good 15 Kilometers to the east, heading into the small but rather active village of Mühltroff. With a population of 1800 inhabitants, Mühltroff straddles the river Wisenta and is one of the oldest villages in Saxony; it was first mentioned in 1274 and was officially declared a town by the district of Plauen in 1327. It was once a fishing community and ist shield reflects the hertitage of the community. With its historic houses lining up along the Wisenta, Mühltroff resembles Little Venice alá Vogtland, even though fishing no longer exists today, and only three bridges are known to exist.

hopfensbrücke1

One of them is the focus of the author’s stop on the journey, the Hopfenbrücke.  The structure is one of the oldest in Saxony, having been built in 1396, and was the main crossing connecting the eastern and western halves of the village until after World War II. The structure features a one-span stone-brick arch bridge, which is anchored by houses on both sides of the Wisenta. Judging by the setting of the bridge, on each corner of its abutment was a historic house, and it appeared that there was an entrance on both sides at one time, resembling the housed bridges that were built during that time- among them that exist today still are the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt and the Rathausbrücke in Bamberg. Sadly, despite its historic appeal, the houses on the western side will become history for one became a garden a couple decades ago and the other will be removed before the end of 2018, according to recent newspaper articles.

35298529_1919292191434754_6830187302854066176_o

The name Hopfenbrücke has nothing to do with the beer route nor a brewery for Mühltroff had neighter of them according to record. In fact, the community has a palace dating back to 1349, a windmill dating back to the 14th century and a textile industry that started in the 15th Century and is one of the key aspects of Mühltroff to this day.  The Hopfensbrücke was named after the Hopf Family, whose house was next to the bridge and who also owned a shop at the structure until the beginning of the 1900s. The road it carried was a main route connecting Schleiz and Plauen, where horse and buggy first crossed, followed by cars. By the end of the second World War, there was a need to realign the road, especially to accomodate the military vehicles that had to be stationed near the border that had once divided Germany until 1990 when it became Saxony and Thuringia on the northeastern edge and Bavaria to the southwest. Therefore, another arch bridge was built to the north of the bridge, but unlike its neighbor, it was a Luten arch span and was made of concrete. That structure still carries traffic, and one can see the stone arch bridge 100 meters away while crossing the Wisenta.

hopfensbrücke 3

The bridge was reopened recently after having been closed for rehabilitation. The cost for the work was 460,000 Euros and it consisted of strengthening the arches, removing the concrete facade covering the arch span and making repairs to the structure. It had been damaged by flooding in 2013 and was declared unsafe to cross. However, with the grand opening last Friday (the 7th of June), the community welcomed the bridge back with open arms. And it was good that way; despite its population and size, Mühltroff happens to be one of the livelier of the communities, with people walking the streets even in the evenings, music being played in the apartments, and apartments having colorful facades to make it look attractive to the tourists. Even the market square, which starts at the historic bridge and goes down the main street to the castle is narrow and enclosed, but lively. Next to the bridge across from the City Hall is the East German Museum, where people can visit, see the artefacts that were typical during that period before 1990 and learn about its history.

hopfensbrücke1

But inspite that, the people are happy to have their historic bridge back. After 600 years, the structure still symbolizes the community and its heritage- a former fishing community that is still today the Little Venice of the Vogtland. One can see the palace and historic windmill, but the visit is not complete without seeing the bridge, the structure that will hopefully continue its service for another 600 years. So take some time in Mühltroff and don’t forget the bridge. 😉

 

fast fact logo

Mühltroff is only three kilometers east of the Saxony/Thuringia border. It had belonged to the District of Gera and on the Thuringian side from 1949 until March 1992, two years after Germany reunited. It became part of Saxony in April 1992 and merged with neighboring Pausa to become a joint community in 2013. Today, the community belongs to the Vogtland District, whose county seat is (none other than) Plauen, which is 22 kilometers to the east.

Map of Mühltroff and Hopfenbrücke:

 

bhc-logo-newest1

Mystery Bridge Nr. 97: The Unknown Truss Bridge at Westword (Iowa)

bhc forum new

The best historic bridges are the ones that are unknown, undocumented and undiscovered, for they are the ones itching to be researched by those who are interested.

A couple weeks ago, as I was looking for some information on another bridge, I happened to stumble on this rather unknown historic bridge by accident. And while this bridge was filed by bridgehunter.com, this historic Iowa structure is very unknown. No historian, like the late James Hippen has touched it. No agency like IowaDOT and Henry County has mentioned it, yet. No information was ever recorded in any historic bridge or building survey. However when this gets out, many historians and bridge lovers will flock to it for pictures to be posted in the social media, the portal that is the most appropriate location to share information and discuss this.

The bridge at hand is a through truss bridge spanning the old channel of the Skunk River. Its exact location is in the Westwood district, a mile west of Mount Pleasant. It is a quarter mile south of the old Hwy. 34, a quarter mile east of Franklin Avenue (County Highway W55) and a half mile northwest of the Henry County Quarry. It used to carry what is now Graham Avenue, which ends 500 feet east of the bridge. Judging by the bird’s eye perspective via Google Map, the bridge appears to have 5-8 panels and pinned connections. Looking at it more closely, it appears to be a Pratt truss. It has been abandoned for many years but may have been fenced off to keep people from approaching the structure (and crossing private property), which would explain why the bridge has been untouched for that long of time.

And that is all we know of the bridge. We have no further information about its appearance up-close, meaning its portal view, truss type, its connections, builder’s plaques and even its total dimensions. Furthermore, we have no information about its history, which is very important as we would like to know whether or not it is elgible for the National Register of Historic Places. We basically know absolutely nothing about the bridge, except for its location. We just know that the river was channeled a century ago to straighten it out and protect the area from flooding. But the rest is completely open for research.

What do we know about the bridge? What does it look like? What about its history?

Comment via mail, in the comment section both here or on the Chronicles’ facebook page. A photo folder will be made for photos of this bridge should you decide to visit the bridge. The main thing is whether the bridge is historically significant to join Oakland Mills Bridge on the National Register of Historic Places.

Can you answer any of these questions and provide some stories and photos? If so, we are ready to read them. Thank you for your help. 🙂

bhc-logo-newest1

Triple Whipple Bridge in Dearborn, County, Indiana

064361pv
HABS/HAER

Our next bridge profile is a true rarity found in the US; in particular, in one of the most historic bridge-laden states in the country- Indiana. Three miles south of Aurora in Dearborn County, and a half mile west of the Ohio River is the Triple Whipple Bridge. The origin of the name comes from the fact that this 298 foot long through truss bridge is the only truss bridge of its kind left in the United States, whose diagonal beams pass through three panels instead of the two that are typical of the truss design invented by Squire Whipple. Normally, truss bridges have diagonals supporting one panel. The bridge was built in 1878 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company and used to serve a major highway until the 1950s. Restored in 2008, it still receives its lion’s share of pedestrians and cyclists today.  It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.

A while back, History in Your Backyard did a documentary on this bridge, which includes an in-depth coverage of its history, let alone a detailed view of the bridge, both ariel as well as on the ground. Before explaining further about this bridge, one should have a look at the film and plan a visit. A map with the bridge’s location is at the end of this article.  Tell us about your impressions of the structure. Recommend it to others, even if they are passing through. There you will see a prime example of how Indiana takes care of its artefacts for others to see while stopping by. Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

064367pv
HABS/HAER

 

bhc-logo-newest1

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 6

177200-l

This BHC Pic of the Week is also a throwback, going back eight years to August 2010. Here, in the Minnesota town of Wabasha, on the Mississippi River, one can get a brillant pic of this bridge with the statue of the Dakota native American chief Wabasha in the foreground. The Chief Wabasha, whom the town was named after, had signed a treaty in 1852, ceding land to the United States which is today the southern third of Minnesota. It was the same Wabasha who fought on the side of the Dakota tribe during the War of 1862, which started the process of rounding up and designating them to reservations in the western half of the country. Wabasha was exiled to Nebraska, where he died in 1876. After 28 years of warfare, the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 ended the conquest of freedom for native Americans and the closing of the American frontier. Much of the history can be found at the Native American Museum in Wabasha, where the statue stands.

The bridge itself was built in 1987, and is the youngest through truss bridge on the Mississippi. The polygonal Warren truss span connects the community of 2300 with Nelson (Wisconsin) and is a half mile long from shore to shore. It has recently been renamed in memory of Michael Duane Clickner, a local resident who fought and died in the Vietnam War.

On the day of blue skies and warm temperatures, an afternoon shot was just right for the occasion. However, sometimes morning shots are even better too, if one takes the time to do that- especially in the summer, when the days are much longer and the sun is towards the north- in the direction of the bridge and statue.  🙂

 

bhc-logo-newest1

Mystery Bridge Nr. 96: The Milford Lake Kingpost Truss Bridge in Kansas

33708916_1658463627523695_4731362705150050304_n
Photo taken by Forrest Stewart

Our 96th mystery bridge takes us to the central part of the US; specifically to Wakefield, in Clay County, Kansas. The Milford Lake Truss Bridge is one of two bridges that used to be located along a path on the western side of the lake. The truss span is a Kingpost pony truss, which features cruciform outriggers on the outer edge on the verticle post. The truss connections are riveted, however, the trusses are supported by V-laced lally columns, entrenched into the stream bed. Its decking is held by concrete wingwalls. The bridge is between 45 and 50 feet long between abutments; between 30 and 40 if focusing on the trusses. Judging by the age of the trusses and its connections, the bridge must’ve been built between 1900 and 1915 as riveted connections were being introduced at that time to replace the pinned connections. Furthermore, many of these riveted trusses included cruciform outriggers, designed to keep the trusses vertical and attached to the lower chord. Many local bridge builders used kingposts for small stream crossings, including those in Kansas, where this bridge is located. They include the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Works, Stupp Brothers (both of St. Louis), the Hewett families of bridge builders in Minneapolis (MN), RD Wheaton and Company in Chicago and Seevers Bridge Company in Oskaloosa (IA), just to name a few. This bridge was most likely built by a bridge contractor in Kansas or Missouri, given its approximate location near the border. But more information is needed to prove this.

As for Milford Lake itself, the lake was created by the US Corps. of Engineers in 1967, which included the damming of the Republican River. It was part of the project to control flooding and create recreational areas in and around Junction City. The lake has 15,700 acres of water and over 33,000 acres of land used for natural habitat. It is the largest lake in Kansas with a length of 20 miles and a width of five miles on average. When the lake was formed, this bridge was partially submerged along with a culvert, 200 feet away. Yet because of the drought, much of the lake has decreased in size and depth, thus revealing this beauty.

This presents a grand opportunity to save this bridge by restoring it, relocating it to a community that may need it and reuse it as a bike crossing.  Given its location right next to the water, leaving it as is may not be an option, for water levels may rise and the bridge may disappear- even for good. According to Forrest Stewart, who submitted this photo on Interesting Places in Kansas’ facebook site, and confirmed by many bridge enthusiasts, damage to the trusses has been reported which includes bends in the cruciform and bottom chords. Although it is not severe enough that the bridge is in immediate danger of collapse, some repairs are needed, nonetheless before it is repurposed.

To sum up: The bridge was rebuilt between 1900 and 1915 by a local bridge builder, but is in need of a new home before it is re-inundated again, possibly disappearing together. Can you help with the history and or the efforts? A map is enclosed to show its location. All you need to do is call for help.

So go help and good luck! 🙂

 

bhc-logo-newest1

Cigarette Butt Burns Historic Trestle

bhc newsflyer new

Discarded cigarette butt causes fire on and under the century-old viaduct in Canada

HOPE (BRITISH COLUMBIA), CANADA-

There are several reasons why smoking should be banned from public places. Apart from the fact that it can kill the smoker himself as well as those surrounding him through second-hand smoke, smoking can cause destruction to property if it is not put out properly. For three adventurers hiking in the mountains and having crossed the Ladner Creek Trestle near Yale and Hope in the Canadian province British Columbia, they have learned a very valuable lesson as a cigarette butt from one of the hikers set fire to the century-old viaduct on Monday. All three were going across the 300+ meter long and 30+ meter tall steel viaduct when one of them didn’t put out the cigarette butt properly. The end result is a fire on the already dilapidated wooden decking, where despite keeping its flame on a small scale, falling and burning debris set off fires deep in the forest-laden,  rocky valley. Neither the hikers were able to put out the fire and fire crews are having difficulties putting the fires out because of the steepness and depth of the Creek valley, according to Canadian news source, CBC. The dry weather may have played a role in the spreading of the fire, which has already burned more than 0.2 acres and taken down several pine trees in the process.  While the viaduct has served as an important outlook as well as a challenging crossing because of its height and curve, it is unknown how extensive the damage is as of present. However, it will be assessed once the fire is finally put out.

The viaduct itself is one of dozens of viaducts that were built in 1915-16 as part of the Kettle Valley Railroad connecting Hope and Penticton via Midway. The line, once part of Canadian Pacific Railroad, was abandoned in sections beginning in 1961 and ending in 1989.  Large portions of the line is now a rails-to-trails and part of the Trans-Canadian Bike Trail Network. Apart from this viaduct, there are dozens of bridges along this route, including 18 viaducts in the Myra Valley. 12 of them were destroyed during the 2003 forest fire but are being rebuilt. Five tunnels also served the route. All of them are considered historically significant and were declared National Historic Sites by the Canadian Government in 2002.

A pair of videos on the Ledner Creek Viaduct which includes some drone and hiking coverage can be seen below so that you can see how Long and tall the structure Looks like. Enjoy!

Video:

 

The Chronicles will keep you informed on the latest regarding Ledner Creek Viaduct and its questionable future after the most recent fire.

bhc-logo-newest1