2019 BHC Bridgehunter Awards- Final Results

harrisburg
Harrisburg Covered Bridge in South Carolina: Winner of the Jet Lowe Awards   Photo taken by Darlene Hunter

 

bhc newsflyer new

After revealing the author’s pics through the Author’s Choice Awards yesterday, here are the final results of the 2019 Bridgehunter Awards. I’m doing things a bit differently this year. The results will be posted including some highlights. Yet the details of this award and the Author’s Choice Awards will be posted as a podcast, to enable readers to get to the point in terms of results but also listen to the details. The podcast will appear in the next post.

Best Photo

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Highlights: 

Top Four photos taken by two photographers.

New records set in this category including highest number of votes in one category.

Not one candidate had less than 200 votes

 

Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge International

BHA 19 Best Kept Ind Int

Highlights:

Brunel Swivel and Rosenstein also share the Author’s Choice Award title for best Bridge Find.

Top Six finishers either from Germany or the UK.

Blow-out finish for the Swivel.

 

Tour Guide International

BHA 19 Tour Guide International

Highlights:

Title stays in Germany but going west for the first time

Big day for the Bridges of Edersee in this and the category Mystery Bridge (finishing second)

 

Lifetime Achievement

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Highlights:

Tight race especially in the top three

Winner, who has been the webmaster of Bridgehunter.com, will be interviewed later in the year. Congratulations to James Baughn on his 20 years experience.

 

Bridge of the Year

BHA 19 Bridge of the Year

Highlights:

Two Iowa Bridges finish in the top 2 outdoing the international competition. This despite their uncertain futures

Tight finish between the second and fifth place finishers.

 

Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge US/Canada:

BHA 19 Best Kept Ind US

Highlights:

Top two finishers are scheduled to be renovated.

Bronze medalist’s future unclear

Royal Springs Bridge oldest in Kentucky.

 

Bridge Tour Guide USA

BHA 19 Bridge Tour Guide USA

Highlights:

Winner has several restored historic truss bridges including the lone remaining Stearns through truss span (Gilmore Bridge)

Book on the Bridges along Route 66 to be presented plus interview later in the Chronicles

Madison County includes the freshly rebuilt Cedar Covered Bridge plus five other original covered bridges.

 

Mystery Bridge

BHA 19 Mystery

Highlights:

Top eight finishers received more than 100 votes each. 7th place finisher (Rosenstein) received 120 votes. 8th place finisher (Wichert Viaduct) received 100 votes.

Tight finish among the top six finishers.

Third and fourth place finishers are no longer extant- Buckatunna collapsed in January ’19; Dale Bend was destroyed in an accident on January 30th, ’19

 

Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge

BHA 19 Delony Awards

Highlights:

Third Award in a row in this category for the crew of Julie Bowers, Nels Raynor and crew at Workin Bridges and BACH Steel.

Longfellow and Winona Bridges Awarded Author’s Choice for their work.

Second place finisher is first bridge in the world made of cast iron. Delicate restoration needed.

Several lead changes in this category.

 

Last but not least, the following announcements:

This year’s Bridgehunter Awards will be its 10th, which coincides with the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ 10th anniversary. Therefore, entries are being taken now and until December 1st for the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards. They include two new categories which will be presented in detail in a later article. Details on how to enter is found here. 

The top four finishers in the category Best Bridge Photo will have their photos displayed on the Chronicles’ website and its facebook and twitter pages between the middle of January and the end of July this year. Details in the podcast.

The 2019 Bridgehunter Awards will include a tribute to a former bridge engineer from Pittsburgh, whose invention has made inspecting bridges and diagnosting deficiencies requiring repairs instead of replacement much more advanced. More on him after the podcast.

Congratulations to all the candidates on their bridge entries and voters like you for supporting them in the 2019 Awards. And a big honor to the top finishers in each category! You deserve it! 🙂

BHC 10th anniversary logo1

 

2019 Author’s Choice Awards: Mr. Smith Picks Out His Best Ones

bhc newsflyer new

GLAUCHAU (SAXONY), GERMANY-

With 2019 and the second decade of the third millennium over and done, we’re now going to reflect on the key events in the area of historic bridges and feature some head-shakers, prayers, but also some Oohs and Aahs, jumps of joy and sometimes relief. Since 2011, I’ve presented the Author’s Choice Awards to some of the bridges and bridge stories that deserve at least some recognition from yours truly directly. Some of the bridges from this edition are also candidates in their respective categories for the Bridgehunter Awards.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the winners of the Author’s Choice Awards in their respective categories starting with the unexpected finds:

 

Best Historic Bridge Find (International): 

2019 was the year of unique bridge finds around the globe, and it was very difficult to determine which bridge should receive the Author’s Choice Prize. Therefore the prize is being shared by two bridges- one in Germany in the state of Saxony and one in Great Britain in the city of Bristol.

img_20190320_181255445

Rosenstein Bridge in Zwickau (Saxony), Germany:

Our first best historic bridge find takes us to the city of Zwickau and an unknown historic bridge that had been sitting abandoned for decades but was discovered in 2019. The Rosenstein Bridge spans a small creek between the suburb of Oberplanitz and the bypass that encircles Zwickau on the west side and connects Werdau with Schneeberg. The bridge is a stone arch design and is around 200 years old. It used to serve a key highway between the Vogtland area to the west and the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) to the south and east, transporting minerals and wood along the main road. It later served street traffic until its abandonment. The name Rosenstein comes from the rock that was used for the bridge. The rock changes the color to red and features its rose-shaped design. A perfect gift that is inexpensive but a keeper for your loved one.

Link for more on the bridge:  https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/what-to-do-with-a-hb-rosenstein-brucke-in-oberplanitz-zwickau/

 

Close-up of the bridge’s tubular railings. Photo taken by Nathan Holth

Brunel Swivel Bridge in Bristol, UK:

The other bridge that shares this honor is That Other Bridge. Located in Bristol, England, the Swivel Bridge is very hard to find, for the structure is underneath the Plimsol Bridge, both spanning the River Avon. While Bristol is well known for its chain suspension bridge, built over 150 years ago and spans the deep gorge of the Avon, the Swivel Bridge, a cast iron girder swing span,  is the oldest known bridge in the city and one of the oldest swing bridges remaining in the world, for it is 170 years old and one of the first built by I.K. Brunel- the suspension bridge was the last built by the same engineer before his death. Therefore, the Swivel Bridge is known as Brunel’s Other (Significant) Bridge.  The Swivel is currently being renovated.

Link on the Bridge and its Restoration Project:  https://www.brunelsotherbridge.org.uk/

 

 

Best Historic Bridge Find (US/Canada):

Fox Run “S” Bridge in New Concord, Ohio:

“S-Bridges” were one of the oldest bridge types built in the US, featuring multiple spans of stone or concrete arches that are put together in an S-shape. It was good for horse and buggy 200-years ago, especially as many existed along the National Road. They are however not suitable for today’s traffic, which is why there are only a handful left. The Fox Run Bridge in Ohio, as documented by Satolli Glassmeyer of History in Your Backyard, is one of the best examples of only a few of these S-bridges left in the country.

 

Royal Springs Bridge in Kentucky:

The runner-up in this category goes to the oldest and most forgotten bridge in Kentucky, the Royal Springs Bridge. While one may not pay attention to it because of its design, plus it carries a busy federal highway, one may forget the fact that it was built in 1789, which makes it the oldest bridge in the state. It was built when George Washington became president and three years before it even became a state.  That in itself puts it up with the likes of some of Europe’s finest bridges.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/royal-springs-bridge-in-kentucky-the-oldest-the-most-forgotten-of-historic-bridges/

 

Biggest Bonehead Story:

We had just as many bonehead stories as bridge finds this year. But a couple of stories do indeed stand out for these awards. Especially on the international level for they are all but a travesty, to put it mildly.

 

International:

The Pont des Trous before its demolition of the arch spans. Jean-Pol Grandmont (Collection personnelle/Private collection). [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D
Tournai Bridge in Belgium: 

Sometimes, bigger is better. Other times less means more. In the case of the senseless demolition of the Pont des Trours (Bridge of Tears) spanning the River Scheldt in Tournai, Belgium for the purpose of widening and deepening the river to allow for ships to sail to the River Sienne from the Atlantic, one has to question the economic impact of using the boat to get to Paris, let alone the cultural impact the demolition had on the historic old town. The bridge was built in 1290 and was the only bridge of its kind in the world. Its replacement span will resemble an McDonald’s M-shape pattern. In this case, less means more. Smaller ships or more trains to ship goods means better for the river (and its historic crossings) as well as the historic city. In short: Less means more.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/08/17/pont-de-trous-the-bridge-of-tears/

 

Runner-up: Bockau Arch Bridge (Rechenhausbrücke) in Saxony.  

Residents wanted to save the bridge. There was even a group wanting to save the bridge. The politicians and in particular, the Saxony Ministry of Transportation and Commerce (LASUV) didn’t. While the 150-year old stone arch bridge over the Zwickau Mulde near Aue was the largest and oldest standing in western Saxony and was not in the way of its replacement- making it a candidate for a bike and pedestrian crossing, LASUV and the politicians saw it as an eyesore.  While those interested wanted to buy the bridge at 150,000 Euros. Dresden wanted 1.7 million Euros– something even my uncle from Texas, a millionaire himself, would find as a rip-off.  Supporters of the demolition are lucky that the bridge is not in Texas, for they would’ve faced a hefty legal battle that would’ve gone to the conservative-laden Supreme Court. The bridge would’ve been left as is. But it’s Saxony and many are scratching their heads as to why the demo against the will of the people- without even putting it to a referendum- happened in the first place. As a former member of the Friends of the Rechenhausbrücke, I’m still shaking my head and asking “Why?”

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/tearing-down-the-bockau-arch-bridge-lessons-learned-from-the-loss/

 

USA/Canada:

The “Truck-Eating” Bridge at Gregson Street before its raise to 12′-4″ in October 2019 Washuotaku [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D
Gregson Street Overpass in Durham, NC:

This story brings out the true meaning of “Half-ass”. The Gregon Street Overpass, which carries the Norfolk and Southern Railroad (NSR) is an 80-year old stringer bridge that has a rather unique characteristic: Its vertical clearance is 11 feet 8 inches (3.56 meters).  It’s notorious for ripping off truck trailers, driven by truck drivers who either didn’t see the restriction signs, traffic lights and other barriers or were unwilling to heed to the restrictions because of their dependency on their GPS device (Navi) or their simple ignorance.  In October 2019, NSR wanted to raise the bridge to 12 feet 4 inches (3.76 meters) to reduce the collisions. The standard height of underpasses since 1973 have been 14 feet (4.3 meters). End result: the collisions have NOT decreased.  Epic fail on all counts!

My suggestion to NSR and the NCDOT: If you don’t want your bridge to be a truck-eater, like with some other bridges that exist in the US, like in Davenport and Northhampton, make the area an at-grade crossing. You will do yourselves and the truck drivers a big favor.

Evidence of the Durham’s Truck Eater’s carnage: http://11foot8.com/

 

Northwood Truss Bridge in Grand Forks County, ND:

Not far behind the winner is this runner-up.  A truck driver carrying 42 tons of beans tries crossing a century-old pony truss bridge, which spans the Goose River and has a weight limit of three tons.  Guess what happens next and who got short-changed?   The bridge had been listed on the National Register because of its association with Fargo Bridge and Iron and it was the oldest extant in the county. Luckily the driver wasn’t hurt but it shows that he, like others, should really take a math course before going on the road again.

Links: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/too-heavy-big-rig-collapses-100-year-old-bridge-north-n1032676

Bridge info and comments: http://bridgehunter.com/nd/grand-forks/18114330/

 

Spectacular Bridge Disaster (International):

Waiho Bridge near Franz Josef, NZ before its destruction. A new bridge mimicks this span. Walter Rumsby [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D
Waiho Bridge Disaster and Rebuild in New Zealand

This one gets an award for not only a spectacular disaster that destroyed a multiple Bailey Truss- as filmed in its entirety- but also for the swiftest reply in rebuilding the bridge in order to reopen a key highway. Bailey trusses have known to be easily assembled, regardless of whether it’s for temporary purposes or permanent.  Cheers to the inventor of the truss as well as the New Zealand National Guard for putting the bridge back together in a hurry.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/waiho-bridge-reopens/

 

Destruction of the Chania Bridge in Greece

No bridge is safe when it comes to flash flooding. Not even concrete arch bridges, as seen in this film on the century-old Chania Bridge in Greece. Flash floods undermined the bridge’s piers and subsequentially took out the multiple-span closed spandrel arch bridge in front of the eyes of onlookers. The photos of the destroyed bridge after the flooding was even more tragic. Good news is that the bridge is being rebuilt to match that of the original span destroyed. But it will never fully replace the original, period.

Link: https://greece.greekreporter.com/2019/03/02/heartbreaking-video-of-historic-greek-bridge-in-ruins/

 

Spectacular Bridge Disaster (US):

The Great Ice Jam/Flood 2019:

Sargent Bridge in Custer County, Nebraska: One of many victims of the Great Ice Jam/Flood 2019.

This category was a real toss-up, for the US went through a series of what is considered one of the biggest wrath of natural disasters on record. In particular, massive amounts of snowfall, combined with extreme temperatures resulted in massive flooding which devastated much of the Midwest during the first five months of the year. The hardest hit areas were in Nebraska, Iowa and large parts of Missouri. There, large chunks of ice took out even the strongest and youngest of bridges along major highways- the most viewed was the bridge near Spencer, Nebraska, where ice jams combined with flooding caused both the highway bridge as well as the dam nearby to collapse. The highway bridge was only three decades old. Even historic truss bridges, like the Sargent Bridge in Custer County were no match for the destruction caused by water and ice.  While the region has dried up, it will take months, if not years for communities and the infrastructure to rebuild to its normal form. Therefore this award goes out to the people affected in the region.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/apocalyptic-floods-destroys-bridges-in-midwest/

 

Runner-up: Close-up footage of the destruction of the Brunswick Railroad Bridge.

Railroad officials watched helplessly, as floodwaters and fallen trees took out a major railroad bridge spanning the Grand River near Brunswick, Kansas. The railroad line is owned by Norfolk and Southern. The bridge was built in 1916 replacing a series of Whipple truss spans that were later shipped to Iowa for use on railroad lines and later roads. One of them still remains. The bridge has since been rebuilt; the line in use again.

Link: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/brunswick-railroad-bridge-washes-away/

 

Best Example of Restored Historic Bridge:

 

International:

The Coalbrookdale Iron Bridge after restoration: Tk420 [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D
Coalbrookdale Bridge in the UK: 

The world’s first cast iron bridge got an extensive makeover in a two-year span, where the cast iron parts were repaired and conserved, new decking was put in and the entire bridge was painted red, which had been the original color when the bridge was completed in 1791. The jewel of Shropshire, England is back in business and looks just like new.

King Ludwig Railroad Bridge in Kempten, Germany:

The world’s lone double-decker truss bridge made of wood, received an extensive rehabilitation, where the spans were taken off its piers, the wooden parts repaired and/or replaced before being repainted, the piers were rebuilt and then the spans were put back on and encased with a wooden façade. A bit different than in its original form, the restored structure features LED lighting which shows the truss work through the façade at night.

 

 

US/Canada:

Longfellow Bridge: Lstrong2k [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)%5D
Longfellow Bridge in Boston:

This multiple-span arch bridge with a draw bridge span underwent a five-year reconstruction project where every aspect of the bridge was restored to its former glory, including the steel arches, the 11 masonry piers, the abutments, the four tall towers at the main span and lastly the sculptures on the bridge. Even the trophy room underneath the bridge was rebuilt. All at a whopping cost of $306 million! It has already received numerous accolades including one on the national level. This one was worth the international recognition because of the hours of toil needed to make the structure new again.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longfellow_Bridge

Winona Bridge in Winona, MN:

The runner-up is a local favorite but one that sets an example of how truss bridge restoration can work. The Winona Bridge went through an eight-year project where a new span carrying westbound traffic was built. The cantilever truss span was then covered as it went through a makeover that featured new decking, sandblasting and repairing the trusses and lastly, painting it. To put the icing on the cake, new LED lighting was added. The bridge now serves eastbound traffic and may be worth considering as a playboy for other restorations of bridges of its kind, including the Black Hawk Bridge, located down the Mississippi.

Link:  http://bridgehunter.com/mn/winona/winona/

And with that, we wrap up the Author’s Choice Awards for 2019. Now comes the fun part, which is finding out which bridges deserve international honors in the eyes of the voters. Hence, the Bridgehunter’s Awards both in written form as well as in podcast. Stay tuned! 🙂

 

bhc est 2010b

 

2019 Bridgehunter Awards Voting Ballot Part 1

The QEII Bridge at Dartford, east of London. It has extremely long approach ramps to get the roadway high enough to cross the River Thames while still leaving sufficient clearance for ships to pass underneath. This is the problem that a transporter bridge aims to solve. Photo by Nico Hogg [CC BY 2.0] via this flickr page

BHC FORUM

After processing the candidates and adding some information to some of them, the time has come to vote for our favorite candidates in nine categories for the 2019 Bridgehunter Awards, powered by the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles. As mentioned earlier in the year, the Ammann Awards were changed to this name to honor some of the pontists, whose category and prizes have been named in their honor. Nevertheless though, the format is the same as in the previous awards. There are two voting ballots- one here and one on the next page (which you can click here). With the exception of the category Best Photo, each candidate has a link which you can access so that you can look at them more closely in terms of photos and information.

For Best Photo, I’ve decided to do it differently. One simply looks at the photos and votes. The names of the top six (including the winner) will be announced.

Voting is unlimited due to the high number of candidates in each of the categories- both on the US level as well as on the international level- and because many of us have multiple preferences than just one. 😉

Without further ado, here’s part I of the voting ballot and have fun voting. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Part II is on the next page……. =>

 

 

2019 Bridgehunter Awards Voting Ballot Part 2

75424597_2800266823337282_4814219354503643136_o

BHC FORUM

<=  Part One

After voting in the first part of the ballot, here is the second part and the same procedure as in the first. Information on the Lifetime Achievement Candidates you will find at the end of the ballot, including links.  The deadline to vote is 11:59pm your local time on 10th January, 2020. The winners will be announced two days later. Good luck with the voting! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information on the Lifetime Achievement Candidates:

Satolli Glassmeyer: An interview with him and how he created History in Your Own Backyard can be found here: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/12/04/finding-history-in-your-backyard-an-interview-with-satolli-glassmeyer/ 

Workin Bridges:  In business since 2009, Workin Bridges has been the leader in restoring historic bridges in the United States, both big and small. Consisting of a crew of bridge restoration experts, the company has garnered up lots of awards for bridge restoration, plus documentaries on a couple key historic bridges. Link: https://www.workinbridges.org/

Dan McCain: Chairman of the Wabash Canal Trails Association in Indiana, Mr. McCain spearheaded efforts to relocate several historic truss bridges to the Delphi area to be erected along the canal as bike and pedestrian crossings. This includes the Gilmore Bridge, the last of the Stearns through truss bridge in the country. Link: http://www.huntingtoncountytab.com/community/52080/mccain-discuss-wabash-and-erie-canal-march-20-history-museum

James Schiffer: Founder of Schiffer Group, based in Michigan, Mr. Schiffer brings over 30 years of experience in the world of civil engineering and has worked with several preservation groups in restoring some historic bridges; among them the Paper Mill Bridge, now in Delaware. Link:http://www.schiffergroup.com/

John Marvig: Mr. Marvig brings over a decade of experience in historic railroad bridges in the upper half of the United States. You can find them on his website: http://johnmarvigbridges.org/

Friends of Brunel’s Swivel Bridge in Bristol, England: This bridge celebrated its 170th birthday this year and the group has been working to restore and reactivate I.K. Brunel’s bridge over the canal and River Avon for almost a decade. This features bridge (preservation) experts, historians, welders, city officials and the like- both past and present. Link: https://www.brunelsotherbridge.org.uk/

James Baughn of bridgehunter.com: For almost two decades, Mr. Baughn has run Bridgehunter.com, a database containing millions of historic bridges in the United States and Puerto Rico, both past and present. It still is active in collecting and storing information for people to use. Link: http://bridgehunter.com/

Organization to Save the Chemnitz Viaduct: Since the announcement to tear down the railroad viaduct in the third largest city in Saxony in 2002, this organization worked tirelessly to convince the German Railways to change its mind and counter it with restoring the bridge instead. This turned out to be successful this year:https://viadukt-chemnitz.de/and https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/chemnitz-viaduct-spared-demolition/

 

Author’s Note: Should you have problems accessing the links in the different categories, highlight and copy (Ctrl. + C) the link you want to open, then paste (Ctrl. + V)  it onto the bar of a new window. In case of further problems with the ballot, feel free to contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles, using the contact form here. 

 

BHC 10th anniversary logo1

Finding History in Your Backyard: An Interview with Satolli Glassmeyer

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.32.08 PM
Satolli Glassmeyer doing a segment at one of the stone arch bridges for HYB. 

bhc interview new

Have you found something that was small and unnoticeable from the outside but you find high historic value in that you want to document on it? It could be a ghost town, abandoned church, a historic bridge that is closed or even a historic site that is open but doesn’t receive enough attention to get any notice?  How would you document it: in print form, video, online, or a combination of the mentioned items?  History is an underrated commodity where even the most popular places are sometimes ignored and hidden jewels that have high historic value are forgotten- buried under a pile of dirt representing time, until someone discovers it and want to talk about it.

Someone like Satolli Glassmeyer, the creator of History in Your Backyard (HYB).  Launched in 2014, HYB is an online portal where videos on artefacts of the past can be found, be it abandoned school houses and churches, memorials commemorating history or in this case, historic bridges, which are disappearing in vast numbers every year.  Much of the coverage has been between Chicago and Cleveland, for Mr. Glassmeyer originates from Cincinnati, Ohio and spent much of his childhood visiting many spots in the vicinity (and later beyond).

But how was HYB conceived and how successful has it been since its launch?  The Chronicles did an interview with Mr. Glassmeyer and found out some interesting details about HYB and the direction it’s going in the future.  Here’s what I found out about him and HYB’s successes. Please note that some video examples from HYB are included for you to watch.

 

  1. I wanted to start off by asking you what motivated you to starting this video program?

This  is  kind  of  a  long  story  but  here  we  go….When  I  was  a  teenager  back  in  the  mid  1970s  I  had  zero  interest  in  history  such  as  the  War  of  1812  or  the  Magna  Carta.  However  I  was  a  huge  bicycle  enthusiast  riding  my  bike  at  least  10 miles  a  day  and  then  typically  doing  75-100  mile  bike  rides  on  a  Saturday  or  Sunday.  My  longer  weekend  trips  would  take  me  through  small  towns  where  I  began  to  fall  in  love  with  the  buildings  and  bridges  constructed  in  the  late  1800s  and  early  1900s.  I  was  fascinated  with  what  was  built  back  then  and  with  what  little  they  had  to  work  with  compared  to  the  modern  construction  equipment  that  we  have  today.

 

When  I  was  18  I  bought  my  first  car,  a  1970  AMX  which  was  also  another  passion  of  mine.  About  a  year  later  I  formed  an  AMX  club  in  the  greater  Cincinnati  area  which  eventually  included  20-25 owners  of  these  unique  automobiles.  We  would  get  together  once  a  month  and  have  events  for  the  club.  Some  of  the  “older  guys”  in  their  30s  and  40s  taught  us  younger  guys  how  to  do  “road  rallies”  which  is  basically  a  scavenger  hunt  using  an  automobile.  Once  again  I  fell  in  love  with  the  road  rally  concept  and  did  quite  a  few  for  the  club  as  a  hobby  until  I  turned  it  into  a  business  in  the  late  1990s  called  Scenic  Road  Rallies.  With  the  rallies,  I  found  that  I  was  able  to  take  my  passion  for  fast  automobiles  and  combine  it  with  my  passion  for  historic  structures.  In  the  direction  packets  that  I  handed  out  for  each  road  rally  event  I  included  a  few  short  lines  about  each  historic  building  the  teams  would  pass  or  each  bridge  they  would  cross  over.

 

The  teams  enjoyed  the  short  history  lessons  but  asked  for  more  information  on  these  sites.  Information  that  they  could  use  on  their  own  time  without  having  to  do  a  road  rally  event.  So  in  2011  I  began  producing  driving  booklets  that  I  sold  which  were  basically  guided  road  tours  spelling  out  in  detail  (With  pictures)  all  of  the  historic  buildings  and  bridges  along  the  route.  I  put  myself  on  a  strict  schedule  of  producing  one  driving  tour  booklet  a  month  until  after  2  years  I  had  accumulated  a  small  24  volume  library  of  tour  guides.

 

Unfortunately  the  booklets  didn’t  sell  as  expected.  A  couple  of  friends  pointed  out  that  people  don’t  read  much  anymore  and  videos  now  seem  to  be  the  way  most  people  get  their  information.  I  gave  it  some  thought,  then  when  out  and  bought  a  cheap  video  camera,  named  my  new  company  History  In  Your  Own  Backyard  and  went  off  to  document  the  forgotten  historic  structures  in  the  region.  That’s  basically  how  we  arrived  at  this  point  in  time.

 

  1. How are your historic places selected? Based on personal visit, personal request or both?

Since  this  is  a  business,  I  typically  don’t  choose  the  site,  the  client  makes  the  selection  be  it  a  church,  a  bridge  or  a  cemetery.  If  I  have  time  after  the  clients  shoot,  I  will  go  out  and  film  other  obscure  sites  such  as  bridges  that  I’m  sure  no  client  will  pay  for  yet  needs  to  be  documented  for  future  generations.

 

  1. What is all involved in the filming process?

 

It’s  a  fairly  involved  process  to  film  a  site.  I  have  a  check  list  of  29  points  that  need  to  be  addressed  to  get  a  video  from  start  to  finish.  Beginning  with  discussing  the  potential  project  with  the  sponsor  to  contacting  the  local  newspaper  after  the  video  is  released  so  that  they  can  write  a  story  about  the  video  project.

 

 

  1. How do you collect the information on your historic artifact?

 

This  is  basically  the  sponsors  responsibility.  However  if  I  am  doing  a  video  on  a  site  of  my  choosing,  the  research  process  can  entail  online  searches,  books,  personal  interviews,  etc.  Each  project  is  different  when  it  comes  to  an  information  source  and  history  is  always  muddy.  No  matter  how  much  research  you  do,  once  the  video  is  produced,  someone  will  say  “you’re  wrong”.  So  you  just  have  to  do  your  best  and  keep  an  open  mind  that  not  everything  you  read  or  see  is  accurate.

 

  1. Many videos on bridges are between a half hour and an hour. Yours are between 3-5 minutes on average, with some being only 10 minutes.  Why so short?

 

Good  question!  My  video  style  is  much  different  from  traditional  videos.

Everyday  around  the  world  we  lose  historic  buildings  and  bridges  to  fire,  flood,  storms,  neglect,  progress,  civil  unrest,  war,  earthquakes,  etc.  Nothing  lasts  forever  and  it’s  important  to  me  to  document  these  structures  as  quickly  as  possible  before  they  are  lost  forever.  My  goal  is  to  produce  10,000  documentaries  before  I  die.  Right  now  I  have  about  420  documentaries  completed  which  means  even  if  I  produce  a  documentary  every  day  from  here  on  out,  I  still  have  over  26  years  of  work  ahead  of  me.  I’m  62  now  so  I’m  basically  running  out  of  time  here.

 

I  produce  short  documentaries  for  a  couple  of  reasons:

One  is  that  statistically  speaking  most  people  who  watch  a  video  on  YouTube  (Where  all  of  my  videos  are  featured)  only  watch  about  4  minutes  of  a  video  before  they  click  off  and  move  on  to  the  next  selection.  If  you  produce  a  relatively  short  video  you  have  a  better  chance  of  having  the  video  completely  viewed  to  the  end  and  a  better  chance  of  having  the  viewer  share  that  video  with  their  friends  and  family.  Longer  videos  are  rarely  watched  completely  and  it’s  even  rarer  for  them  to  be  shared.  The  whole  idea  behind  my  project  is  to  get  as  many  eyes  on  these  videos  as  possible  so  that  people  will  sit  up  and  take  notice  of  these  structures  and  possibly  save  them  for  future  generations.  My  videos  are  not  designed  to  be  entertainment  but  rather  peak  peoples  interest  so  that  they  get  in  their  car  and  go  out  to  look  at  the  site.

Video  production  isn’t  cheap  and  is  very  time  consuming.  When  it  comes  to  my  videos,  for  every  one  minute  of  video  you  see,  it  takes  about  1  hour  of  research,  shooting  video  and  editing  to  complete  the  job.  So  a  5  minute  video  may  take  about  5  hours  while  a  30  minute  video  could  take  30  hours  or  more.

 

Secondly,  I’m  trying  to  do  this  project  as  cheaply  as  possible  so  that  anyone  who  wants  a  video  can  afford  it.  I  produce  these  videos  at  about  1/3  the  going  rate  of  a  typical  video  production  company.  Mainly  because  I  have  very  little  overhead,  a  small  crew  and  I’m  pretty  damn  good  at  keeping  costs  down. I  charge  between  $399.00  and  $1899.00  to  produce  a  video  depending  on  the  site,  location  and  needs  of  the  client.

A  50  minute  long  documentary  you  might  see  on  PBS  can  take  years  to  produce  using  an  army  of  people  and  hundreds  of  thousands  of  dollars. I  know  someone  that  produced  a  documentary  for  PBS  using  just  grants.  The  documentary  turned  out  great  but  took  5  years  to  make  and  over  $120,000.00.  I  personally  don’t  have  the  time  to  mess  around  for  3,  4  or  5  years  to  produce  one  indepth  video.

 

I  know  of  a  tourism  bureau  who  had  a  local  TV  station  produce  a  60  second  video  on  the  sights  and  sounds  of  their  town.  The  project  cost  them  $6,000.00  ($100.00  per  second)  and  all  they  received  was  a  DVD  of  the  project.  It  was  never  shown  on  TV.  It  was  for  their  own  personal  use.  Not  many  of  my  clients  have  $6,000.00  to  spend  on  a  60  second  video  so  that’s  where  I  come  into  play  with  a  decent  quality  video  at  a  very  reasonable  price  which  will  be  viewed  by  thousands  of  people.

 

  1. Aside from Youtube, how are your videos published?

 

Yes,  my  videos  can  be  found  on  YouTube  under  the  History  In  Your  Own  Backyard  channel.  All  of  those  videos  are  linked  to  my website  database  where  the  videos  are  broken  down  by  State/County/Town  and  also  include  a  map  to  show  the  location  of  the  site.  (By clicking onto the two highlighted links, you will be redirected to their respective sites) All  of  the  schools  in  the  county  where  the  video  was  shot  and  all  of  the  schools  in  the  surrounding  counties  are  sent  a  link  to  the  video  so  that  the  history  teachers  can  share  it  with  their  students.  All  of  the  mayors  and  council  members  in  the  county  where  the  video  was  shot  and  all  of  the  council  members  in  the  surrounding  counties  are  sent  a  link  to  the  video  so  that  they  can  share  it  with  their  residents.  The  video  is  placed  on  a  Google  Maps  page  where  you  can  click  on  any  of  the  420+  pinpoints  to  see  a  video  in  that  exact  location.  Eventually  all  of  the  videos  will  be  archived  in  the  state  libraries  where  they  were  shot  so  that  future  generations  can  look  back  to  see  what  existed  in  2019.  I  did  contact  the  Library  of  Congress  regarding  these  videos  being  archived  but  that  was  very  early  on  in  the  project.  I  was  asked  to  contact  the  department  later  after  I  had  a substantial  number  of  videos  produced.  When  I  hit  the  500  mark  next  year,  I’ll  reach  back  out  to  them.

 

  1. How many  people  are  on  your  staff?

 

My  direct  staff  is  just  me  and  the  two  cats.  However  I  do  have  a  couple  of  interviewers  that  work  for  me  directly  on  the  videos  shoots.  So  in  a  nutshell,  I  do  just  about  everything,  sales,  research,  shooting  video,  editing  video  and  the  archiving  process.

 

 

 

  1. Give me your top three favorite historic bridges that you’ve filmed?

 

Tough  question  Jason!  In  no  particular  order:

 

The  Triple  Whipple  Bridge  near  Aurora,  Indiana  is  high  on  my  list.  As  someone  else  said,  she’s  the  Queen  Mary  of  all  bridges!  Beautiful,  tall,  restored  and  the  only  one  of  it’s  kind  still  standing.  The  bridge  is  only  about  15  miles  from  my  home  so  I  get  to  see  her  fairly  often.

Film on the bridge:

The  Dresden  Suspension  Bridge  in  Dresden,  Ohio  is  a  favorite  that  we  just  covered  this  year  with  the  Ohio  Historic  Bridge  Association.  A  beautiful  bridge  that  is  easily  viewed.

Film on the bridge:

Finally  the  Crosley  Bridge  in Jennings  County,  Indiana.  A  private  steel  truss  bridge  built  by  Powel  Crosley,  the  bridge  is  extremely  narrow  and  hidden  deep  in  the  woods  via  a  dirt  road.

Film on the bridge:

 

  1. What historic bridge do you regret seeing demolished?

 

Definitely  it  was  the  Cedar  Grove  Bridge  in  Cedar  Grove,  Indiana.  Long  story  short,  I  was  part  of  a  group  who  tried  to  save  this  bridge  from  demolition.  The  State  of  Indiana  offered  to  give  our  group  the  money  they  would  pay  for  the  demolition  if  we  could  find  a  local  government  entity  who  would  take  ownership  of  the  bridge  for  30  seconds  while  signing  the  bridge  over  to  us  where  it  would  be  refurbished  and  turned  into  a  park  for  the  locals.  Unfortunately  the  town  council  in  Cedar  Grove  and  the  Franklin  County  Commissioners  had  zero  interest  in  seeing  the  bridge  survive.  After  a  2+  year  fight  to  save  the  bridge,  when  it  became  apparent  that  all  of  the  government  entities  and  the  locals  themselves  had  zero  interest  in  the  structure,  we  abandoned  our  cause  and  the  bridge  was  demolished  via  the  State  of  Indiana  on  February  17,  2016.

Film on the bridge’s demise: 

  1. Complete this sentence: A historic bridge in your opinion……..

 

A  historic  bridge  in  my  opinion  is  a  mix  of  style,  engineering  and  quality  from  an  era  that  we  will  never  see  again.  It  was  a  different  breed  of  men  that  built  bridges  in  the  1800s  and  early  1900s.

 

 

  1. What is important for keeping the historic bridge “historic” instead of neglecting it to a point of demolition?

 

Once  these  bridges  are  gone,  they  are  gone  forever.  Bridges  are  probably  the  most  used  structure  no  matter  where  they  were  built.  Some  bridges  only  see  5  or  10  crossing  per  day  while  others  literally  see  tens  of  thousands  of  crossings  if  not  more.  It’s  hard  to  think  of  another  item  produced  by  man  that  gets  this  much  usage  and    can  last  for  100  or  more  years.  Holding  on  to  these  structures  for  future  generations  is  important  not  only  for  educational  purposes  but  for  general  enjoyment  as  well.

 

  1. What are your future plans for HYB? What bridges are on your agenda?

 

Right  now  as  I  think  I  mentioned  earlier,  I  have  over  420  videos  produced  and  hope  to  add  at  least  100  more  documentary  videos  in  2020.  I  have  about  20  bridge  videos  that  have  been  shot  and  are  awaiting  the  editing  process.  They  are  scattered  throughout  Ohio,  Indiana,  Kentucky,  Virginia  &  West  Virginia.  Hopefully  I  can  get  those  finished  over  the  Winter.

 

 

  1. If a person has a historic bridge that needs to be filmed, like for example Kern Bridge in Minnesota or the Bridgeport Bridge in Michigan, who to contact?

 

It’s  simple,  just  give  me  (Satolli  Glassmeyer)  a  call  at  812-623-5727  between  8:00 am  and  9:00 pm.  If  I  don’t  answer,  leave  a  message.  Or  if  you  like,  send  an  email  to  Info@HistoryInYourOwnBackyard.com.  We  can  discuss  your  needs  and  wants  for  the  video  project  while  I  guide  you  to  the  best  option  to  preserve  that  bridge  on  video  now  and  in  the  future.

 

A  closing  thought……Statistically  speaking,  over  the  next  100  years  we  will  lose  50%  of  the  historic  bridges  currently  standing  due  to  fire,  flood,  storms,  neglect,  progress,  civil  unrest,  war,  earthquakes,  etc.  99%  of  those  historic  bridges  will  disappear  over  the  next  200  years  for  the  same  reasons  and  eventually  all  will  disappear.  Nothing  lasts  forever.  At  some  point  down  the  road,  we’ll  no  longer  need  bridges  and  this  project  will  at  least  preserve  the  memory  of  when  we  used  these  engineering  marvels  to  cross  vast  expanses  of  water  or  terrain

 

Thank you for your time and interview at the Chronicles and wishing you all the best in your career. 

 

Just recently, HYB got its 1 millionth view on YouTube on its page. It currently has over 3900 viewers with just as many (if not more) visitors daily, which makes it one of the most popular short-film documentaries in the US. A video on that can be found here:

HYB provides people with a short glimpse of some of the historic artefacts that people can see while they are in the area, let alone should see before they are gone.  Sometimes less means more- the most basic means the more interest in seeing the places in person.  So as Satolli would say: Travel Slowly, Stop Often. 🙂

 

Author’s Note: Some of HYB’s bridges will also appear on this page from time to time, to encourage people to watch them and eventually visit them. 

 

BHC 10th anniversary logo1

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 69

glienicker 1

Co produced with sister column: flefi deutschland logo

Our next pic of the week coincides with the Flensburg Files’ series on photos of the former border crossings past and present, as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which subsequentially resulted in the Reunification of Germany, 11 months later. This pic takes us to the famous Glienicke Bridge. This cantilever truss bridge was built in 1907 and spans the River Havel, forming the border between the capital city of Berlin and the state of Brandenburg. The bridge was very popular in history and culture because it became a key patrol crossing during the Cold War. From 1952 until 6pm on the evening of November 10th, 1989, this crossing was the border that kept people from entering and leaving West Berlin from the GDR. It was an exchange point for captured spies from both sides of the border, thus it became known as the Bridge of Spies; the name was adopted in literature as well as in films, the latest of which was a combination book and film that were released in 2015. Since the evening of the 10th of November, 1989, the Glienicke Bridge has been in service as a throughfare crossing, where tens of thousands of cars cross this bridge daily.

glienicker 2

During my visit to the bridge in 2015, the first impression of the crossing was the fact that it was just a typical historic bridge that had been restored to its usual form, with no border guards, no rust and corrosion and no potholes and other issues with the decking. The only markers that existed where the borders once stood was a sign with the information of the bridge’s reopening that evening, as well as a marker on the Berlin side with information on where the border once stood. However, since the opening, the Glienicke Bridge has become a fully restored tourist attraction. Most of the historic columns, statues and buildings dating back to the Baroque period have been fully refurbished and makes the bridge appear original- as if there were no bombings or the like, as it happened in World War II. Eateries on the Potsdam side of the bridge as well as a museum devoted to the bridge’s unique history also exist. Tour guides are available to know more about the history of the structure and its key role during the dark period of time.

glienicker 4

The bridge is a major tourist attraction for those with not only an interest in architectural history in Berlin and Potsdam, but also history in general. From a photographer’s perspective, the bridge is easily photographed as there are many places available where you can get your favorite shot- whether it is a close-up as I took some on the morning of October 18th with the sunrise and all, but also from several parks and castles lining up along the Havel, many from the Berlin side. In either case, the bridge is a highly recommended stop for those visiting Berlin because of its unique style and even more unique history, something that the governments of both Berlin and Brandenburg will do all that they can to preserve it for generations to come.

glienicker 3

To learn more about the bridge, click here.

 

bhc-logo-newest1

Documentary: 15 Scariest Bridges in the World

Oresund Bridge
Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö.  Photo taken in 2011

BHC FORUM

Here’s a question for the readers: Name a bridge you crossed that was the scariest. It can be a through truss or suspension bridge; maybe even a high viaduct or those vine bridges. Where was it located and what was your experience crossing it? Would you recommend anyone trying it if the structure was still there?

This documentary features the 15 scariest bridges in the world according to the narrator. Each bridge has a story on its history and challenges that drivers face when they cross it. In some cases, they even have some effects that make it even spookier.  Have a look at the documentary and feel free to share your stories in the comment section both here as well as on the Chronicles’ facebook page.  Enjoy! 😀

Documentary:

 

 

Note:

Don’t forget to register your bridge for this year’s Bridgehunter Awards. More information can be found here.

And also the Iron and Steel Preservation Conference in Lansing, Michigan, which takes place October 18-19. Details and contact information are both here.

 

bhc est 2010