BHC Newsflyer 4 February, 2019


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You can listen to the Podcast via Soundcloud by clicking here.

Headlines (Click on the highlighted links to read more):


Inglewood Bridge in Calgary to come down.


Demolition of the Bockau Arch Bridge (Rechenhausbrücke):

Articles on BHC*

Friends of the Bockau Arch Bridge- Photos of the demolition **

Chemnitz Free Press-  Start of the ProcessAnger from Politicians and the Like (D)***

MDR Sachsenspiegel News- 5 February 2019


Rachel Carson Bridge in Pittsburgh to be rehabilitated for 18 months


Three Historic Bridges in Ripley County, Indiana on their way to the National Register

Indiana Landmarks Article

Tour Guide via


Dale Bend Bridge in Arkansas destroyed by overweight and oversized truck- Mystery Bridge


Glendale Shoals Bridge in Arkansas wins two with a third one pending.****

Peggy Thompson Gignilliat Preservation Award 

Pinnacle Award


Farewell to Eric Delony- Tribute


*Type in under search “Bockau Arch Bridge” and you will find a list of articles already written with a couple more to be added before the series closes.  

** Available on Facebook, one can see the updates and photos of the bridge before and after its demolition.

*** Available only in German, this is a multiple article series where by typing under Search “Rechenhausbrücke Bockau Albernau” you will find the latest.

**** Glendale Shoals is nominated for the Delony Awards for Best Preserved Historic Bridge. An article is in the works and will be posted in the Chronicles soon.


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Book of the Month/ Tour Guide: The Bridges of Schwarzenberg (Saxony), Germany


Author’s Note: For the first time in four years, a literary review is being introduced in the Chronicles. Previously, we had a Book of the Week that had existed from 2013-14, but due to time constraints, it was discontinued. This time we have the Book of the Month, where each bridge piece will be introduced for people to have a look at. You will find this and future pieces on the Chronicles. A page is being created where all the bridge literary pieces will be added, past and present.  So without further ado……

Book of the Month: January 2019

The first ever book of the month takes us to the German state of Saxony, and to the community of Schwarzenberg. Located 10 kilometers east of Aue, deep in the Ore Mountains, the community of 23,300 prides itself on its traditional culture and its history for several historic landmarks are located in the old town, which features a castle and church overlooking the deep valley where the rivers Schwarzwasser and Mittweida meet. The town was one of the key hubs for railroads that met from areas high in the mountains. Today only one line exists from Johanngeorgenstadt to Zwickau, passing through this community. And while the mining industry almost no longer exists, other industries have taken over, thus making the city rather attractive.

While many cities in Saxony, such as Dresden, Leipzig and Plauen have prided themselves on their historic bridges because of popularity, no one has ever thought about the fact that a community, such as Schwarzenberg, would have an interesting set of their own.

Enter the Senior Citizens Club Haus Schlossblick in Schwarzenberg and their prized work, Schwarzenberg’s Bridges. The booklet was released in December 2018, with many copies having been sold during the Christmas markets and beyond. Even though the target language in this 53-page booklet is German, the booklet is laden with pictures of Schwarzenberg’s 44 bridges- both past and present- combined with years of research and photo collections all put together and presented in a form of a tour guide. The photos with the bare essential information is enough for people to read up before finding the bridges, especially as they are listed in the order going downstream for every river mentioned, minus the railroad crossings.

The booklet is different to another bridge booklet written in 2014 on the city of Aue. (For more, please click here to view the tour guide). While current pics of the city’s bridges were included, there was mainly text on the history of each of the bridges in the city of 16,000, located at the confluence between the Zwickau Mulde and the Schwarzwasser, as well as along the Flyover, connecting the city with the Autobahn 72. More pics on the previous structures, plus a better selection of information would have perhaps helped.

Going back to the bridges in Schwarzenberg, there are some interesting facts that are presented in the book, some of which will get the reader to visit them while in Germany. Here are the top five:


  1. The Steynerne Bridge (pictured above) is the oldest bridge stilll existing in Schwarzenberg. It is also the narrowest vehicular crossing in the Ore Mountains.
  2. The Topp-Müller-Arch Bridge was the oldest stone arch bridge ever built in Schwarzenberg, dating back to 1539.
  3. Two railroad bridges used to carry a railline through the steep hills underneath the old town. It was bypassed in 1952.
  4. The old railroad arch bridge east of the train station is one of the best examples of a restored historic bridge of its kind.
  5. Each bridge has a medaillon on the railing, signaling the build and replacement dates, plus some of the symbols of the city.

Interesting is the fact that the author included the Markersbach Viaduct in the booklet. While that bridge is only a few kilometers away, it was included in the Chronicles’ tour guide (shown here). Still, the authors believe that it belongs to the Schwarzenberg ensemble, which is considered far fetched but ok. Also included is the Hammerbrücke, a covered bridge located in Lauter, which is three kilometers away.

A map with the location of the bridges in Schwarzenberg can be found below. I did a bike tour in the region on three different occasions and have therefore included photos in all but a couple of the city’s bridges. The rest of the information is from the booklet.

The book on Schwarzenberg’s bridges, which can be bought at the tourist information center upon personal visit for only six Euros, does bring up a question with regards to writing a book on bridges in such a community. While the book with sufficient information and photos on the bridges, like in Schwarzenberg, would be appropriate especially for readers who just want to know a bit on the bridges, the question is whether this book would fit for another community.

Which town would benefit from such a “picture book” with sufficient information?

Feel free to make your top five cities you would like to see a bridge book written on, either by choosing from the Chronicles’ tour guide page or adding some of your own.

My top five cities that deserve such a bridge booklet include: Glauchau, Zwickau, Dresden, Minneapolis and Des Moines. What about yours? Add your thoughts in the comment section.


Best Kept Secret: Penstock Bridge in Leavenworth, Washington

All photos taken by Corey Pruitt, used with permission.

Recently, a fellow bridgehunter Corey Pruitt found this bridge with three of his companions. Located outside Leavenworth in Washington, the bridge looks like a typical Baltimore through truss bridge that had once carried a railroad but is now part of a hiking and biking trail. However, when looking at the bridge’s portal bracing, it looks rather different:


Looking into the bridge via tunnel-view, one can see a decking that rather looks like an aqueduct than a railroad:


As you can see, this through truss bridge is rather unusual for its use, even though the design. To find out more about this bridge, the author and another pontist did some research only to find that this structure, now a rails-to-trails crossing, was built by the railroad company but was used for another purpose, which was to provide Hydroelectric Power?!!!

Here’s a look at the history of the Historic Penstock Bridge over the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth, Washington.

The bridge is a riveted steel Baltimore Petit truss. It was built in 1907 by the Great Northern Railroad Company as part of the Tumwater Hydroelectric Plant. The hydroelectric plant was constructed in 1909 to power Great Northern trains from Leavenworth to Skykomish. The hydroelectric installation, which was an extensive system that required conductors and additional power stations, was built to power the Great Northern trains over a 57-mile mountain division from Leavenworth to Skykomish. The water, which was the power source for the electrification of the tunnel, was transported approximately two miles by a penstock from a 250-acre storage site to the powerhouse. The seven-panel bridge was constructed to carry the 8.5-foot-diameter penstock from the south bank of the river to a surge tank at the corner of the powerhouse. Most of the penstock was wood stave pipe; however, the last 952 feet of pipe, part of which passed through the bridge, was constructed of riveted steel. The penstock pipe through the bridge has been cut, to enable the bridge to be used as a pedestrian walkway. The bridge is one of the early examples of a riveted steel Baltimore Petit truss and remains as one of the few extant reminders of the early attempts to electrify the railroads through the Cascade Mountains. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 (NRHP No. 82004196)

It is highly recommended to not only see the bridge, but also take the Penstock Trail because of its gorgeous landscape and many activities you can do along the way. A link will show you the trail in its entirety. 🙂


Special thanks to Dave Denenberg for the help in the research and Corey Pruitt for the use of the photos.



Mystery Bridge Nr. 108: The Dale Bend Bridge in Arkansas

Photo courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Transportation

This 108th mystery bridge provides us with what is left of a historic bridge that should never have been destroyed. As of 30 January, 2019, this bridge is no more. During the night, a truck driver was using his GPS device which took him to this bridge: The Dale Bend Bridge.

What do we know about this bridge?

It spanned the Petit Jean River on the same road bearing the bridge’s name, approximately 12 miles north of the nearest town of Ola, in Yell County, Arkansas. The bridge was a pin-connected Pratt through truss bridge with A-frame portal bracings and V-laced vertical beams. According to the records, the 120-foot long structure was built in 1930 by the Vincennes Bridge Company in Indiana. Yet the date of 1930 seems to be a common number used to describe the bridge date, when in all reality, the structure is much older. Research has proven that pin-connected trusses, characterized by its beams being fastened by bolts, were phased out in favor of riveted or even welded truss bridges by 1915, for reasons that all state transportation departments created standardized truss designs, which were supposed to be sturdier and better able to carry increasing traffic in numbers, size and volumes. That means, truss designs with pinned connections were considered obsolete for reasons that they would no longer able to fulfilled the aforementioned standards. Yet during the 1930s, existing pinned connected truss bridges that used to serve main highways but still had some use left were relocated to secondary roads which were less traveled. There, they would serve a “second” life until they were considered obsolete and were either replaced or converted into recreational trails.

The Vincennes Bridge Company existed from 1898 until its reorganization in 1932, when the name was changed to Vincennes Steel. It continued to operate until it was folded into the Wabash Steel Corporation in 2006. The plaque on the bridge’s endpost had the following inscription: Built by the Vicennes Bridge Company, Vicennes, Ind.


That means between 1898 and 1915, the Dale Bend Bridge was built, originally. The question is where? And when was this truss bridge relocated to its current spot?

While we won’t know now because of the destruction of the bridge, it would be a benefit to provide a closure to the fallen structure so that a memorial plaque is constructed at the site where a new bridge will soon be built.

Photo by Trisha Holt/ Galla Rock Fire Department

Note: The Dale Bend Bridge collapsed on the night of 30 January, 2019 at around 8:00pm. A truck driver drove his semi-truck across the bridge until the trailer was lodged into the truss span itself and the structure collapsed completely. He escaped unhurt but was later cited for reckless driving and destruction of property. Both the truck and the bridge were considered a total loss. The bridge had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for eight years prior to the tragedy.




BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 34

The next Pic of the Week takes us back to 2010 and Minnesota. The US and Europe had been enduring one of the most brutal winters on record with cold temperatures going below zero and snowfall that was knee deep at times.  One can see it with this pic of the Gateway Trail Bridge. Located in Grant and spanning Hwy. 96, this continuous Warren through truss with welded connections was built in 2004 as part of the project to build a bike trail that connected this community with Stillwater.

This pic was a tunnel view of the bridge, and while attempts were made to dig a path along the trail, it was filled in with another snowstorm with 20 cm of new snow, thus giving this bridge a very wintry look.  It fits perfectly with winter time, especially in the northern half of the US as a polar vortex is bringing record-setting cold temperatures in the region.


Tearing Down the Bockau Arch Bridge Day 2: The (Il-)Logic behind the concrete bed in the river


Day two of the demolition brought more anger and frustration to a situation that has become more and more illogical. Let’s start with the logical portion: the concrete bed in the river.


As mentioned in August, concrete was poured into the bed of the Zwickau Mulde, causing the river flow to be reduced to the two tunnels. This caused some outbursts from the Friends of the Bockau Arch Bridge group as well as locals who claimed that this was violating the environmental laws. LASUV’s claim was that it would allow for demolition crews to get to the bridge.


Day two started to make more and more sense, but also more and more illogical at the same time.  One of the five main arches and the approach arch are now gone completely. Two diggers are at the scene, including a larger one. Yet as steep as the cliffs along the river is, many are wondering how the diggers are going to get to the bridge without tipping forward or on the side. It is just as logical as tryng to find out how to put the materials onto the truck to haul away. Just as logical as fencing off the main entrance to the houses along the river leading up to the still-existing -but-slowly-being- eaten- away- by- diggers- historic bridge.

Driveway to the bridge is completely fenced off. Drivers have to detour a couple kms just to get to their houses from the new bridge

Just as logical as the reason for tearing down the bridge in this cold: When it’s colder, it’s easier to break away at the structure.  This came after the restaurant owner was talking to the demolition crew during the day prior to my visit in the afternoon.

And we still don’t know why they didn’t start at the site of the new bridge……

Coming from Minnesota, where a polar vortex is bringing the coldest temperatures last seen in 1996, I really doubt that cold weather can break apart any structure- bridge or building alike.

Or can it?

Biggest Bonehead Story: The Rush to Tear Down a Bridge- Without Thinking


The title should have been Saving the Bockau Arch Bridge Day 12, yet there is one problem: We lost our fight to save it. As of this date, the stone arch bridge is starting to come down, one by one. Even the cold and the large amounts of snow is not stopping the Saxony Ministry of Transport (LASUV) from getting the demo-diggers to go out there and eat away at the bridge.

But there is one exception: They are eating the wrong way!

Since the end of the summer, the northern end of the bridge where Albernau is located, let alone the Rechenhaus Restaurant, has been completely blocked off by the new bridge, for it was built 2-3 meters higher than the original roadbed of the bridge. This meant that the only way onto the bridge was on the south side where Bockau is located.


Digger on this side eating up the first arch with the new bridge in the background.

And this is where the demolition has begun. A head-scratcher. If LASUV was obsessed with tearing down the Bockau Arch Bridge, would it not make sense to start on the northern side and then work their way toward the Bockau side? With a digger like this, the old bridge would still hold it. Otherwise if one easts the wrong end, it would be impossible to tear down the rest.  More ironic is the concrete bed that has been sitting in the waters of the Zwickau Mulde. It was meant to have cranes and other demolition equipment to tear the rest of the bridge down . Yet, the digger was the only one at the scene……


….tearing down the wrong side and not being able to tear down the entire bridge. The logical question is, why? Neither the journalist nor anybody else, who looked at the bridge, will understand.

To be continued…..