BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 100

Photo taken in 2011

PW bhc tribute new

The 100th BHC Pic of the Week pays tribute to the family of George Floyd, a person who died of injuries sustained when he was wongfully aprehended by four Minneapolis Police Officers. While one of them has been formally charged for the murder, it has not been enough to quell the demonstrations which could potentially result in another civil war in America, its first since 1865. For those who demand justice and equality among all races, socio-economic background and the like, we hear you and you have our support. It is time for radical and thorough changes for the USA on all fronts. 

The Pic of the Week takes us north of Minneapolis to this crossing. The Anoka-Champlain Bridgespans the Mississippi River at the Hennepin-Anoka County border.  This 10-span, open spandrel arch bridge was built in 1929, replacing a two-span Camelback through truss bridge that eventually was relocated upriver to Clearwater. The structure was rehabilitated in 1990 in which the arches were reinforced and the roadway was widened to accomodate increasing traffic on Ferry Street and US Highway 169 as it heads to the Boundary Waters area. The bridge is located near a natural preserve and some park areas along the river.

I had a chance to photograph this structure in August 2011, as I was returning from my trip in the lakes area near Little Falls and making my way back to the airport for my flight home. There are many angles to photograph the structure but I found this one to be the best- a unique bridge stretching across the water, surrounded by branches of greenery  on a beautiful sunny afternoon. I won’t go into any further details here and let you analyse it yourself. But the bridge represents a symbol for unity both among humanity as well as between humanity and a beautiful green environment- something we all need in these hard times.

BHC 10 years

Oderbrücke at Fürstenberg at the German-Polish Border

Remains of the Bridge. Source: Lechita / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Wartime Bridge Series

Our next bridge in the series keeps us in Poland but we go towards the Oder-Neisse border to Germany. Specifically, to this bridge at Fürstenberg- or what’s left of it.  This bridge spannned the River Oder at the Polish-German border near the village of Fürstenberg in the German state of Brandenburg.  The River Oder is one of the widest and most navigatable rivers in Poland for 80% of its 742 kilometers can be travelled by boat as it flows through the western part of the country. Its width of over 300 meters in areas is largely due to it confluencing with rivers, mostly from the German side as well as it flowing through a large lagoon in the northwestern part of the country before it empties into the Bay of Pommerania at Swinemünde.  Its width made it difficult to build many bridges along the river.  And this leads us to the bridge remains.

The bridge was built by August Klönne in 1914 and was the only crossing over the River Oder in Fürstenberg prior to 1945. The 600 meter bridge featured four concrete closed spandrel arch approach spans on the Polish side and a steel through arch span with Pratt truss upper chords as its main span over the river- half the length of the entire structure. The through arch span is signature of the bridges that were built by Klönne and many of these spans still exist today in Germany, including the famous Hollernzollern Bridge in Cologne.  A diagram depicting the bridge at Fürstenberg can be seen below:

fürstenberg br
Source: structurae.net

This takes us to the event where the crossing was brought down.  After a failed attempt to bring down the Jastrowie Bridge (see the article here), German soldiers fled towards the river and used it as its stopping point for advancing Soviet armies that were closing in on Berlin at an alarming rate. To buy them some time and regroup for their possibly last stand against the Soviets, Hitler ordered all the bridges along the Oder and Neisse Rivers to be blown up. One day after the Jastrowie Bridge partially collapsed, the Fürstenberg Bridge was detonated. While the steel arch span was brought down, the arch spans remained in place. Unfortunately, one person was killed in the explosion, a Justus Jürgensen, who was later given the Ritterkreuz post humously on 5 March. Still the honor would not stop the Soviets and Polish troops from occupying the town.  The bridge remains on the Polish side can be seen through a video below:

What became of Fürstenberg at the end of World War II was a totally different story.  The bridge was never rebuilt and all that remains are the arch spans on the Polish side.  Poland was freed and the border along the Oder and Neisse was reestablished. As many as 8 million Germans living east of the border were subsequentially expelled to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), which was under Soviet control until a government was established in East Berlin in 1949. The community of Fürstenberg that had existed since the 13th century folded into a newly created Communist city that became known as Stalinstadt, named after the Soviet dictator and one of the victors of the war, Josef Stalin.  The city had 15,000 inhabitants when it was established in 1951 but thanks to the industries and Communist-style apartments that were built there, the population had reached an all-time high of 53,500 people by 1988, including many displaced Germans from the Polish side.  It was renamed Eisenhüttenstadt in 1990 and at present, only 23,000 people live there. It remains the only city in Germany that has no bridge along a major river. Those wishing to cross into Poland have to through Frankfurt (Oder) or Guben; in each direction at least 30 kilometers.

While Fürstenberg became Eisenhüttenstadt and still has a predominantly Communist cityscape but without a bridge over the River Oder, much of the historic old town still remains in tact, including a large church and a former city hall. It is still considered by many to be a border town because of the Oder-Neisse boundary and its location on the river. Still there is hope that after 75 years, planners will come through with a crossing over the Oder that will eventually bring the two countries together and with that, the villages on the Poland side and Fürstenberg on the western side. Whether this will happen depends not just on the finances but also the will of the people to make it happen.

BHC 10th anniversary logo1

Wartime Bridge Story Nr. 1: The Tangermünde Crossing

2001 Tangermünde Bridge. Photo: Mazbln assumed (based on copyright claims). / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Film clip

Wartime Bridge Series

Located in the southern part of the district of Stendal, the city of Tangermünde is located on the River Elbe in the northern part of the German state of Saxony Anhalt. The city has over 10,400 inhabitants and is famous for its historic architecture dating back to the Medieval period. It’s one of only a handful of walled cities left in Germany that is in tact and one can find many historic places within the walls of the city, such as the towers, St. Stephan’s Church, Elbe Gate, and the historic city hall.  The hanseatic city survived almost unscathed during World War II, for only a few trussed houses (Fachwerkhäuser) were destroyed.

Yet one of the city’s prized historic works, the Elbe River Crossing, was destroyed, leaving a scar on the city.

The Tangermünde Bridge was built in 1933, after taking two years of construction. The 833-meter long bridge features a steel through arch main span (at 115 meters) with a height of 15 meters and a vertical clearance of 9 meters. There were a total of 24 spans featuring many forms of steel girders, through and pony alike.  The bridge remained in service for only 12 years. On 12 April, 1945, in an attempt to hinder the advancing American army, Nazi soldiers blew up the crossing while retreating towards Berlin. Nevertheless, to avoid being sent to Soviet camps,  sections of the 9th and 12th Wehrmacht armies (Germany) surrendered to the Americans. They had used the destroyed spans to help residents fleeing the advancing Soviet army. A temporary crossing was constructed afterwards.

Here are some videos of the Tangermünde Crossing after it was destroyed by explosives. This was filmed after the Nazis surrendered to American troops. The gravity of the destruction of the bridge was huge and was a symbol of the destruction that would be bestowed upon in all of Germany.

 

Aftermath:

The Tangermünde Crossing was rebuilt by the Soviets and the East Germans after Tangermünde became part of East Germany in 1950. They recycled the bridge parts and rebuilt a multiple-span crossing that featured as a main span a curved Pratt through truss with welded connections. Ist portal was I-beam with 45° angle heels. The remaining spans featured Bailey trusses, both pony as well as through truss. A tunnel view oft he Bailey through truss can be found in a blog which you can read here.

Ulamm / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

The structure lasted through the Fall of the Wall before it was replaced with the current structure, a steel through arch that mimicks that of the 1933 span. The bridge itself is almost twice as long as the original span, having a total length of nearly 1.5 km. It was built nearly two kilometers to the north of the old span, which remained in use until it was closed to all traffic in 2001 when the new bridge opened to traffic. The old structure was removed two years later. At the same time, the main highway, B-188, was rerouted, thus bypassing much of the city and having only local traffic going through town.

Today, the Tangermünde Crossing still serves local traffic. Its design has fit into the rest of the city’s historic landscape, much of which has been restored since 1990. Yet as we celebrate the end of World War II, many people remember how their prized work was destroyed towards the end of the war in a cowardly attempt to prevent the inevitable. And because the city was for the most part spared, Tangermünde has continued to become a tourist attraction. People can go back to the Medieval times and enjoy the architecture, before heading to the River Elbe to see the structural beauty. Despite being one of the youngest crossings along the Elbe, it is one with a story to tell to children and grandchildren alike.

BHC 10 years

FlFi10

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

Bridgehunter Awards for Lifetime Legacy Post Humous: John F. Graham

John F Graham
John F. Graham lecturing at the 2010 HB Conference in Pittsburgh. Photo taken in August 2010

When I first met John Graham at the 2nd annual Historic Bridge Conference in Pittsburgh in 2010, my first impression of him was that he was a conservative, dressed up as white collar worker, but a man of detail and experience.  It was John F. Graham who came up with a concept of augmented reality for structural analysis of bridges.

Augmented reality is a computer term that I had recently collected some general information on through a pair of presentations in an English for IT class at the Erfurt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. It basically analyses the inner portion of structures to analyze problems and find solutions. It had been introduced for medicine for identifying tissue damage in humans, making a precise diagnostic and recommendations for improving the body damage where the damage occurred.  Yet could Augmented Reality work for infrastructure, such as bridges?

Red Jacket Trestle after its reconstruction. Photo taken in 2012 by John Marvig

Apparently according to Graham, it does. In theory based on trial and error combined with experience, Mr. Graham at the conference showed that augmented reality can identify structural deficiencies inside bridge structures, through the use of special sensors, and make recommendations for fixing them. This latest technology would save money and prolong the life of the bridge, especially after the structure is rehabilitated. Evidence in praxis was shown with the Red Jacket Railroad Trestle south of Mankato, Minnesota later that year, for the Minnesota DOT was in charge of rebuilding the trestle after floodwaters undermined one of the piers, forcing officials to remove the deck plate girders while watching the stone pier collapse. In the other piers, structural weaknesses were identified to a point where the piers were reconstructed to resemble the original. The restoration ended in 2011.  Other rehabilitation projects involved this type of technology which saved costs and opened the doors for reusing historic bridges.

Hot Metal Bridges in Pittsburgh. Photo taken in 2010

Mr. Graham’s presentation based on this concept was one of many aspects that will make him a person who was conservative but reasonable when it came to the decision of rehabilitating bridges that were an asset to the area and replacing those that deteriorated beyond repair. He was a true Pittsburghese, having been born in the Steel City on 2 April, 1936 and studied civil engineering at Carnegie Tech (today known as Carnegie Mellon University. For most of his career, he was Director for Engineering and Construction for Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, a position he held until 1989. During his time, he was responsible for the rehabilitation of hundreds of bridges in and around Pittsburgh, including the Sister Bridges, Sixteenth Street and the arch bridges at Fort Pitt and Fort Dusquene, just to name a few. He also had to replace some, like at Sutersville and Coraopolis, according to Todd Wilson, a civil engineer who knew him well during his days at Carnegie Mellon. Mr. Graham in 1978 pushed for and supported legislation that would allow the Federal Highway Administration to allocate the 90:10 funding ratio, whereby state and local governments would only bear 10% of the cost for rehabilitating or replacing the bridge, the former Graham championed and led to the prolongation of the lives of several of Pittsburgh’s bridges. Legislation continued this 90:10 ratio and prioritized rehabilitation until the Minneapolis Bridge collapse in 2007, which resulted in more radical measures to replace bridges. To the end, Mr. Graham continued advocating for identifying and fixing deficiencies in the structures, claiming that they were cost effective and would save on the use of materials needed for new bridges. Indirectly, it was a plus when identifying the historic significance of the bridges.

In 1989, Mr. Graham became the Director of Capital Projects for the City of Pittsburgh, where he oversaw the construction of the Pittsburgh International Airport and other related construction projects, including the Southern Beltway. He later worked for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and later taught engineering classes at Carnegie Mellon. He even operated his own civil engineering firm, where he was responsible for several projects, including the infrastructure for Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers American Football team. Much of the work in the greater Pittsburgh area has Mr. Graham’s name on it, and his unique conservative approach to bridge engineering will be remembered, even as people cross several of Pittsburgh’s restored historic bridges, of which he’s left a mark in at least half of them.

John F. Graham died peacefully on 14 March, 2019 with his daughter Wendy and her husband Marc by his side. In the last two years of his life he lived with her and her family in Philadelphia, which included her two sons. He was preceded in death by his wife, Kay.  Mr. Graham was a true Pittsburghese and one who left a mark in Pittsburgh, the US and beyond, especially for his work in the field of civil engineering. Therefore, for his work, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is awarding him and his family Lifetime Legacy Post Humus with a big thanks for his contributions. Because of him, we have found many creative ways to make bridges safe and maintain its integrity instead of replacing them outright, a concept that does more than waste money. It impacts the environment negatively because of materials used that are dwindling and non-renewable.

bhc logo newest form

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……. =>

 

 

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

Newsflyer: 9 September, 2019

 

bhc newsflyer new

Click here to listen to the Podcast. The links and photos of the bridges in detail are below:

 

Links:

Historic Staffeler Bridge in Limburg to be replaced. Old bridge to be repurposed for recreational use:

https://www.fnp.de/lokales/limburg-weilburg/limburg-hessen-staffeler-bruecke-soll-bleiben-12947468.html

 

Gänsetorbrücke spanning the River Danube at Ulm. Photo taken by AHert [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D
Historic Gänsetorbrücke in Ulm/ Neu-Ulm to be torn down and replaced after losing its historic status:

https://www.swp.de/suedwesten/staedte/ulm/gaenstorbruecke-denkmalschutz-ist-vom-tisch-33019623.html

The Bridges of Ulm: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/the-bridges-of-ulm-germany/

Ulrich Finsterwalder Biography: https://www.b-tu.de/great-engineers-lexikon/ingenieure/finsterwalder-ulrich-1897-1988

King William Road with the Towers of the Bridge in the Background. Photo taken by Adam J.W.C (wikiCommons)

Historic King William Bridge in Adelaide, Australia to either close or be replaced by 2030:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-04/king-william-road-adelaide-bridge-might-need-to-be-replaced/11476978

 

Historic Bridge Stones stolen by vandals at historic bridge in Yorkshire. Police investigating:

https://www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk/news/crime/yorkshire-stone-stolen-from-200-year-old-grade-1-listed-bridge-at-ferrybridge-1-9969320

Hammersmith Bridge in London. Source: “Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0”

Historic Hammersmith Bridge in London to be Rehabilitated. Closed for three years.

https://www.taxi-point.co.uk/single-post/2019/09/03/Hammersmith-Bridge-repair-work-starts-and-expected-to-last-THREE-YEARS

Mangaweka Bridge in New Zealand spared demolition- will remain as a pedestrian/ bike crossing:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=12264113

 

Brunel’s historic bridge in Bristol celebrating its birthday milestone (not the suspension bridge though):

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/whats-on/huge-birthday-celebrations-brunels-bridge-3277964

 

And Information on preservation and fundraising efforts (Contact Details included):

https://www.brunelsotherbridge.org.uk/

 

Historic drawbridge in Florida rehabbed and reopened to traffic:

http://bocanewspaper.com/camino-bridge-finally-reopens-after-renovations-28231

Historic bridge in Costa Rica faces unknown future as community mulls at replacement:

https://vozdeguanacaste.com/en/historic-bridge-in-liberia-faces-uncertain-future/

 

bhc-logo-newest1

Pont de Trous: The Bridge of Tears

Pont des Trous over the River Scheldt. Photo taken by Jean-Pol Grandmont via wikiCommons

bhc newsflyer new

bhc history

bhc tribute new

TOURNAIS, BELGIUM- This article pays a tribute to the Pont de Trous, a bridge spanning the River Scheldt in the City of Tournai in Belgium. At the time of this posting, this bridge is all but a memory as it was pushed aside in the name of progress. The project to demolish the bridge started on August 9th as part of the project to deepen and widen the River Scheldt to allow ships to sail through France to join the Seine, which flows into the Atlantic.  The bridge was built in 1290 to replace a wooden crossing and was the last of the military crossings of its kind in the world.  However, as the city claimed the bridge is being rebuilt with the stones being saved for reuse, this was the scene of this “reconstruction project:”

A news report shows the details of this senseless destruction:

A new bridge mimicking the original historic character of the crossing is expected to be in place by the end of 2020. However, despite its McDonald’s arches that are being proposed, one has to ask if this was really necessary, given the fact that the bridge was part of Tournai’s old town. Featuring historic buildings, inside the fort and a cathedral, all from the same era as the bridge, the old town of Tournai has been a UNSESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. With the proposed rebuilding of the bridge, one has to ask himself if this was really a necessity. Do we need larger ships to pass through or if it makes sense to transport by land, which has enough highways and railways taking goods and persons to ports in the areas mentioned? Is it really necessary to have the bigger is better mentality or is less really more? And lastly, how much do we care about history in general?

With this demolition of one of the most historic bridges in the world, I’m reminded of a comment one of my students mentioned about history in class: “History is history. We need to worry about the future.” Yet history is important to understand the present and change it for our future and that of the next generation. Without history we will never know how we got to where we are now and what is expected to come.  We will never know how we progressed with our infrastructure and how it contributed to forming a nation, partnerships with other nations and society that we have today. It’s like the environment we fighting to save: We’ll never know until there’s nothing left…….

……but a memory. If we even remember this bridge a generation later, or if all that is left in memory are Ronald’s Golden Arches…….

 

bhc est 2010b

 

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 49

59655835_2414395578591077_246195518340857856_o

Author’s note: The Pic of the Week and the Weekly Newsflyer will trade places from now on due to time constraints. That means the Pic of the Week will be held Mondays, instead of Fridays and Newsflyer vice versa.

This week’s Pic of the Week is also a candidate for Best Kept Secret in the category Individual Bridges International. With this bridge located in the Thuringian part of the Vogtland region (not far from the borders of Saxony and Bavaria), it is one of the most forgotten because of other, more famous bridges in the region, such as the Göltzschtal Viaduct, Elstertal Viaduct near Plauen, or the most recent posting of the Border Viaduct near Hof, a mystery bridge located in a mysterious region.

Yet looking at the bridge more closely, one will find some facts right in front of you that has a connection with another region that is closer to home than you think.  This bridge alone is located over the River Saale in the village of Harra, which is five kilometers northwest of Bad Lobenstein and 10 km north of the Thuringian-Bavarian border, where the border between West and East Germany once stood. The bridge itself is a combination Parker pony truss and a polygonal Whipple through truss. Its connections are both welded and pin-connected- the former being found in the lower chords; the latter with the truss paneling. Its portal bracing is bedstead with art-greco design.

59614541_2414401211923847_2311171259741765632_o(1)

The bridge was originally built in 1898 in Großheringen, spanning the same river but providing a connection to Bad Kösen. Großheringen is between Naumburg and Jena, the latter is the birthplace of the optics industry and was where I spent the first eight years after arriving as an exchange student in 1999. The bridge was then relocated to its current spot in Harra in 1951, to replace a bridge destroyed in World War II that was built in 1932. It was later rehabilitated in 2000, which included new paint for the trusses and a new decking. It still provides access to the campgrounds to this day. As for the crossing at Großheringen, a through arch bridge was built in 1951 and served traffic until 2011, when another arch bridge replaced that span.

The bridge’s setting makes photographing it a paradise, as it fits nicely into the landscape featuring the steep bluffs and forest-covered hills of the Saale and the landscape of the small village of 700 inhabitants. Its quiet setting makes for a day of advantures on and at the bridge itself. One can enjoy a meal at the restaurant nearby, boat along the river or even hike the hills. In either case, the Harra Bridge is a treat for anyone with an interest….

……even as a photographer, who has an album with more bridge pics which you can click here to view. 🙂

bhc-logo-newest1