BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 92

Vessy Bridge

PW

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

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

Vessy Bridge

Vessy Bridge

Stay healthy and stay safe. Happy Bridgehunting! 🙂

BHC 10 years

The Bridges of Connersville, Indiana

Willowbrook Country Club Bridge. Photo taken by Ed Hollowell in 2018

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Film clip

Located on the Whitewater River in southeastern Indiana, Connersville, with a population of 13,200 inhabitants, may be considered a county seat of Fayette County and a typical community located deep in the plains of Indiana. The town was founded by and named after John Conner in 1813 and much of the historic downtown remains in tact to this day.

Yet little do many realize is Connersville was once home to one of the longest covered bridges in the state, a Burr Arch Covered Bridge that had once spanned the Whitewater. It has a restored covered bridge at Roberts Park and an aqueduct that had once provided water to the community.

Lastly, it had been served by a passenger railroad company, the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Traction Company (ICT), whose existence lasted for only three decades due to financial issues, but whose bridges still exist in and around Connersville.

This tour guide shows you which bridges you can see while visiting Connersville. It features a film from HYB on the bridges by ICT which includes the railroad’s history.  It also includes a tour guide of the other bridges, courtesy of bridgehunter.com.

So sit back and enjoy this film clip. 🙂

 

You can click onto the link which will take you to the bridges of Connersville below:

http://bridgehunter.com/category/city/connersville-indiana/

Information on the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Traction Line bridges are here and the company itself here.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 89

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PW

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

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

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

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

 

BHC 10 years

Castlewood Bridge in a new home- On the Threshing Grounds

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Photo from City of Castlewood

BHC Mystery Bridge

Approximately two weeks ago, I did a write-up on the Castlewood Thacher Truss Bridge, which had once spanned the Big Sioux River just outside Castlewood in Hamlin County, South Dakota. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 but not before it was bypassed by a low-water crossing. On GoogleMaps, one can only see the lally columns and the wing-walls but no truss structure. My question was “Where’s the Bridge?”

Many people thought the bridge was long gone, however…….

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The bridge is still alive and well- but in a new home! 🙂 ❤

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Jennifer Heath made a stop at the Threshing Grounds located outside Twin Brooks in Grant County and found the Thacher structure in use. Thanks to Don Morrison, who added the coordinates in my article from 20 February, she took a brief stop at the bridge a couple days ago to cofirm the bridge’s existence.

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According to the information posted on the sign, the bridge was re-erected at the site in 1998, which meant that it had been taken off its original piers at Castlewood prior to 1997 and moved to this site. The bridge still serves traffic and is one of key features of the Twin Brooks Threshing Show Grounds. Featuring historic buildings (relocated here), farm exhibitions and a flea market, the Grounds hosts the annual threshing show in August, featuring antique tractor pulls and other forms of entertainment. It’s unclear how long they’ve been hosting the event or what the motive behind purchasing this historic bridge was. However it is clear that this bridge is the second of three hybrid Thacher structures that was relocated to a historic town setting to be used for exhibits and entertainment. The Yellow Bank Church Bridge in Laq Qui Parle County, Minnesota made its home at the Little Log House Pioneer Village, south of Hastings in Dakota County, Minnesota, when it was relocated there in 1989 and serves as a replica of the city’s beloved Spiral Bridge. The Castlewood Bridge sits over the creek and on concrete shows; its decking appears to be concrete, which makes carrying tractors and trucks a possibility.

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While more information on the creation of the Grounds and the relocation of the bridge is needed (and will require a few e-mails and phone calls to find out -stay tuned), the bottom line is that the Castlewood Bridge has been found and is still serving traffic- 22 years after its relocation from its Big Sioux crossing. And it appears that with as much care as it has been taken, this bridge will remain a key ornament for the Grounds for many years and generations to come. For Twin Brooks, as well as Grant County and the state of South Dakota, it is a win-win situation, when someone preserves a key piece of history and uses it for a tourist attraction. 🙂

Which makes me wonder whether the Ellsworth Ranch Bridge in Emmet County, Iowa will be the next candidate to make such a move….. And if so, where to? 😉

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Many thanks to Jennifer Heath for the wonderful photos of the bridge and to Don Morrison for providing the coordinates. You can find the new bridge via bridgehunter.com here.

BHC 10 years

Mystery Bridge Nr. 129: The Phantom Bridge at Moss Run

Film clip

BHC Mystery Bridge

In the second film from History in Your Backyard (HYB), we stay in Alleghany County, Virginia but look at one of six phantom bridges along the original route VA Hwy. 159. The highway was rerouted in 1928 leaving the original road, plus its bridges abandoned. The culvert found in this clip dates back to 1920. Satolli Glassmeyer explains more about this bridge and highway, but most importantly, the definition and characteristics of a “Phantom Road” and a “Phantom Bridge”

To view the bridges of Alleghany County and two of the bridge replacements on the present alignment of Hwy. 159, click here.

 

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HYB: Humpback Covered Bridge

Film clip

The next two entries are film clips from History in Your Backyard, a film series produced by Satolli Glassmeyer and Co.  Our first one looks at the Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington, Virginia. This bridge was built in 1856 and is the oldest covered bridge in Virginia, let alone one of the oldest in the country.  The bridge was one of the first to have been rehabilitated and repurposed for pedestrians, as this was done in 1957, almost 30 years since it was replaced by a truss bridge on a new alignment and later abandoned. And lastly, it was one of the first that was nominated to the National Register, as it was listed in 1969.  Take a look at the video about the bridge’s history, which includes photos and some other facts. The engineering details can be found here.

BHC 10 years

Two changes to Facebook Pages

 

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

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

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The Bridges of Saxony (Die Brücken Sachsens)

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

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

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

The Historic Bridges of Iowa:

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

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

Both pages have the same mission:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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