Mystery Bridge Nr. 157: The Oldest (and Unusual) Bridge in Husum, Germany

In Schleswig-Holstein, the oldest known bridge in the state can be found in the town of Schmalfeld in the district of Segeberg, located in the eastern part of the state. It was built in 1785 and was in service for 198 years before it was bypassed and converted into a bike trail crossing. It is one of only a handful of arch bridges that are known to exist in the northernmost state in Germany.

Source: Holger.Ellgaard, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Many arch bridges have gone unnoticed during the surveys of historic bridges in the last half decade, some of which deserve some sort of recognition.

The Schiffsbrücke in Husum is one of them. The bridge spans the Mühlenau at Zingeldamm near the Schiffsfahrtsmuseum (Museum of Shipping) and is the last crossing before the river empties into the harbor- right after the crossing. There’s next to no information on the bridge except for a couple dates to pass along to it. The first is in the picture above, which has a date of 1858 with the letter F on it.

Husum was part of the kingdom of Frisia, a region which stretched from southern Denmark, all the way to northeastern Netherlands, all along the North Sea coast and includes the islands in the Halligen region. The first known existence came in during the Roman Empire and it was once a regional powerhouse until the 16th Century, when it was split up. The German portion of Frisia, including Husum, became Uthlande, which later became part of Denmark until after the War of 1864, which resulted in German annexation. It is possible that given the Danish crown on the insignia, that Denmark had recognized Husum as Frisian, thus allowing for the language and culture to continue thriving. Yet we need more information to confirm these facts and to answer the question of why we have this insignia.

While the insignia states it was built in 1858, the informational board located on Zingeldamm stated otherwise, as it claimed that the bridge was built in 1871. Where the information came from is unknown but as original insignias on bridges are known to be the most reliable source of information to determine its construction date, there are two possibilities behind these two conflicting dates:

  1. The information is proven false because of a lack of records and thus historians may have assumed the date without taking a closer look at the bridge.
  2. The bridge may have been rebuilt after it was destroyed but the original brick railings, arch and insignia were retained and restored to provide a historic taste and conformity to Husum’s thriving city center and adjacent harbor.

Much of Husum survived unscathed during World War II as it used to serve as a naval port for the Nazis until its relocation to Flensburg in the district of Mürwik in 1943. Its only scar was a concentration camp near the town of Schwesing, where prisoners were used to build a wall to keep the waters of the North Sea out. The camp only existed for a few months in 1944, yet atrocities committed there could not be ignored and even an investigation into the camp took place in the 1960s. The city center, with its historic brick buildings dating back to the 17th century, has mainly remained in tact with only a couple minor alterations over the past 75 years, which means Husum has retained its historic architecture making it an attractive place to visit. The Schiffsbrücke represents that historic character that belongs to Husum’s past.

Unique feature of Schiffsbrücke is its wall. Husum lies on the North Sea coast and has its Flut and Ebbe (high and low tide). To keep the waters of the North Sea out of the Mühlenau, the wall is hoisted up to the keystone of the arch span. Because the Mühlenau is a “sweet water” river, this is done to protect the flora and fauna that exists in the river and are reliant on fresh water. Other than that feature, the bridge and its unique brick railings and insignia is one of the most unique and ornamental arch bridges in the state. Yet its mystery behind the construction date and the engineer behind the bridge and wall system makes it a bridge that one should research more on to find out its history.

And with that, it is your turn. What do you known about the Schiffsbrücke regarding its history, and which date would you lean towards- 1858 or 1871?

Feel free to place your comments on the Chronicles, either directly or via social media.

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Author’s Note:

This bridge article is in connection with a book project on the Bridges of Schleswig-Holstein that has restarted since the author’s return. Click here to look at the details and feel free to contribute some information on the project. Happy bridgehunting, folks. 🙂 ❤

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 143

Our first Mystery Bridge of 2021 takes us to California, to the town of Brookdale. It’s located in Santa Cruz County towards the Pacific Coastal area, and the San Lorenzo River snakes through the community with almost 2000 inhabitants in the heavily forested hills located southwest of San Jose along Highway 9.

There are several bridges located along the San Lorenzo in and around Brookdale, many of them arch structures. But this bridge, a postcard by John Smeaton, is not on any of the list of bridges in the Santa Cruz section in bridgehunter.com. The bridge is a pony arch with lattice features and judging by the photo, the structure is no longer than 90 feet long. It sits on a high cliff which is 30-40 feet above the San Lorenzo River. There is no information on its consturction, its history, its location and whether it still exists. A couple hints of where it could be is behind Pike Street as well as around Huckleberry Island but even then, there’s no guarantee that it’s there, we just know it was one of the San Lorenzo River crossings that deserves to be recogized and listed.

If you have any information on this bridge please contact Mr. Smeaton using the contact information in the Bridgehunter.com website. You can also provide information here at the Chronicles using the contact information found in the About page.

Many thanks and best of luck in the research. Happy Bridgehunting until we meet again! 🙂

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 135: The Bridge at Zentendorf

Photo taken by Frank Vincentz (wikiCommons)

Our next mystery bridge takes us to the Lausitz (Lusatia) region of eastern Saxony and the remains of this bridge.  The bridge is located in the village of Zentendorf, located along the River Neisse at the German-Polish border. It approximately a kilometer north of the easternmost point in Germany and another kilometer south of the railroad bridge that connects Niesky and Weglieniec. It’s 20 kilometers south of the nearest city of Rothenburg (Lausitz/Lusatia), which is home of the Saxony Police University.

The bridge remains is on the Saxony side of the River Neisse, yet its mystery remains completely open for research and interpretation. It features a single span closed spandrel concrete arch span, yet the rest of the bridge has long since disappeared. Furthermore, there’s absolutely no information on the bridge’s history anywhere to be found- not even on a bridge website, like brueckenweb.de or structurae.net.  Therefore we have no idea what the bridge looked like, let alone when it was built and who was responsible for it.

We do have speculation that this bridge was one of many along the Neisse to have been imploded towards the end of World War II, as Nazi troops were ordered to detonate every bridge to slow the advances of Soviet troops, an act that was considered futile as Allied troops were already inside Germany in March, liberating every village and region in its path enroute to Berlin, where Hitler was holed up and eventually committed suicide on May 1st. Germany surrendered six days later.  Ironically, the railroad bridge, a Warren deck truss span, survived the war and remained in service until 2015, when it was replaced. Like the bridge in Fürstenberg (near Eisenhüttenstadt), the structure was never replaced but that was mainly due to another crossing at Deschka, only a few kilometers to the south, that is still open. Because of its dwindling population of close to 300 people plus financial constraints, the villagers of Zentendorf find it unnnecessary to replace the structure in their village.

Still, to close the book on the bridge’s history, we should solve it first. Therefore, any information on the bridge’s history is more than welcomed. You can find more pics of the bridge in another website; the link is found at the end of this article.

Good luck in the research and happy bridgehunting until we meet again. 🙂

 

Portal View on the German Side. The German border marker is in front of the bridge ruins

A link where you can see more bridge photos can be found here: http://b.mtbb.de/2012/08/23/strasenbrucke-in-zentendorf/

 

bhc george floyd

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 100

Photo taken in 2011

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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

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 93

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This Pic of the Week takes us back to Glauchau and a site where no one really expected this- a work of art that doesn’t need any type of bracing for support. This photo was taken during our walk on Easter Sunday and is that of the Hirschgrundbrücke at the Castle Complex. Since October 2018, the bridge had been rebuilt, piece by piece under a coat of steel scaffolding. Since the beginning of April, the cranes have disappeared and it was only the decking that needs to be finished on the bridge. Still, the scaffolding was covering the bridge for many days.

On this day, the bridge was presented in its former glory- stone bridge with its four arches; the photo taken just as the trees were about to blossom with flowers and leaves and the ground was about to become greener.  It looked like the bridge has arisen, as much as Jesus had arisen from the dead- both coming back to life to bring good tidings and love to the people. The difference, the bridge is here to stay while Jesus blessed it because of its beauty and its attachment to the castle and the nature that surrounds it. It was a real treat to see the bridge again after almost two years of absence.  And while the old structure could’ve been a great bridge of vegetation, like the one in Massachusetts, this structure will again connect history with nature- the castle and the park will again be one. And one that can be seen from the main street heading into the city center. ❤ 🙂

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UPDATE:

The decking is almost finished and work will then include the south approach, which is a meter higher than the bridge itself. The plan is to make a ramp to allow for pedestrians and the handicapped to cross the structure. At the same time, a new park south of the bridge is being constructed to provide visitors with some nature and recreation. That area used to have garden houses before the property was completely razed in December, last year.  While CoVid 19 has delayed numerous construction projects globally, this project, weather permitting, is expected to be finished well before the deadline of the end of June. The reason:  Despite the lockdown in the state of Saxony, some construction projects were allowed to continue but using safety guidelines to ensure nobody was infected with the virus.

 

The Chronicles will keep you updated on the latest with this project, including the grand opening of the bridge and park complex. Stay tuned. 🙂

 

BHC 10 years

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 89

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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

The Bridges of Silberstrasse to Get a Makeover

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Three bridges to go “under the knife” beginning in March. One of them is scheduled to be removed. Fourth one may follow pending on approval. Projects to end by December.

ZWICKAU/ WILKAU-HASSLAU/ SILBERSTRASSE, GERMANY- Travellers going to the Ore Mountains from Zwickau will have to consider alternatives to travelling- at least by car- in the next nine months. Beginning in March, the main Highway B93 from Zwickau to Schneeberg will have two bridges be rehabilitated. A third one nearby is scheduled to be demolished after being abandoned for decades. A project involving the fourth one may be underway soon, pending on approval. All four have been in service for over a century and have historic significance. To determine which ones, here are the details.

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Highway B 93 Bahnhofsbrücke- A one-span arch bridge with a length of 80 meters, this bridge spans the rail tracks of the Zwickau-Aue line, 30 meters south of the train station, Silberstrasse. It is the main artery going through the village as the highway connects Wilkau-Hasslau with Wiesenburg for thousands of cars use this bridge in both directions daily. It is also the primary crossing for local busses. As part of the plan to widen the highway, the decking will be replaced with a new, widen one, but not before the stone arch is strengthened. It is hoped that an additional lane is built as the highway makes a sharp, uphill curve to the right, which is dangerous even for truckers. If not, at least the curve can be straightened out. Pedestrians can still use the bridge during the rehabilitation project but access will be restricted.

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Heubrücke– Located 100 meters south of the Bahnhofsbrücke is another arch structure made of stone. The 90 meter span is over 150 years old but has been closed to traffic for decades- to pedestrians a few years ago. For safety reasons and because of its uselessness, the local town council is looking into tearing down the span and not replacing it. No replacement structure is expected here. What’s holding the council back is the funding for the bridge removal, which is expected to be approved at the time of the rehab project.

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Muldenbrücke in Wilkau-Hasslau- The rehab of the B93 bridge may be more of a blessing for the eight-span Luten arch bridge spanning the Zwickau Mulde. The 1867 span connects B93 on the east end with the town center on the right, carrying the road going to Cunnersdorf and Kirchberg. Inspections revealed moisture going into the arches and damage to the decking and the arches. Because the arches are still useable, the bridge will not be torn down. Instead the arches will be repaired and new decking will replace the old one. New lighting will replace those from 40 years ago. The bridge is a major sticking point for many cars have to wait on the structure because of the traffic light on the east end, where the main highway is located. Yet the bridge has connected both sides of Wilkau-Hasslau for almost 150 years and the rehab project will be a first where this key connection will be lost- at least for drivers.

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Cainsdorf Bridge- The wild card in the project is the Cainsdorf Bridge, a two-span steel girder bridge spanning the Zwickau Mulde between the rail line and Highway B93. The 1929 bridge was scheduled to be replaced last year but the details of the replacement span and the costs for the variants have still yet to be determined. It is hoped that the plans can be finalized this year and the project can proceed. Most of the variants point to the historic bridge being reused for bikes and pedestrians.

According to the Free Press, the B 93 will be open to local traffic only, which will help businesses affected by the projects- in particular, in Wilkau-Hasslau as there are many eateries and supermarkets along the highway.  Yet for those wishing to go to Schneeberg and all points in the Ore Mountains, there are detours available which will relieve the stretch of all inner-city traffic for much of the time of the project. Here are the alternatives:

  1. At the traffic light before the Schedewitz Bridge, turn right onto Bahnstrasse. Follow it to Lengenfelder Strasse and turn left. Follow Lengenfelder Strasse through Schedewitz and Planitz until it joins state highway 293, the bypass that goes around Zwickau and connects Werdau with Schneeberg and Lengenfeld/Schneeberg. Take the route going to the latter and follow that to the Motorway 72 exit Zwickau-West. Continue straight on the bypass, which passes Kirchberg and other villages before it joins B93 just north of Schneeberg.
  2. At the traffic light before the Schedewitz Bridge, go straight and cross the bridge. At the next traffic light, the road makes a curve to the left. Stay on that road and continue, going past Reinsdorf. At the Motorway 72, turn left and take the route going to Hof. Continue for 13 km until exiting at Zwickau West. At the traffic light, turn right and continue on the bypass which passes Kirchberg and joins B93 north of Schneeberg.
  3. At the traffic light before the Schedewitz Bridge, go straight and cross the bridge. At the next traffic light, the road makes a curve to the left. Stay on that road and continue, going past Reinsdorf and the Motorway (72) exit, Zwickau-Ost. You will drive through Wildenfels before entering Hartenstein. There, turn right and follow the street to Burg Stein (Stein Castle), before taking the road to Wildbach. That road cuts through vast forests before it enters Schneeberg from the east.

 

Map:

 

When using the detours, there will be a high risk of traffic jams and other congestion because of the high volume of regular traffic that uses these routes. Each one will add at least 30 kilometers and 30 minutes to your estimated travel time.

There will be no changes in rail plans, but delays are expected as the two-track line at Silberstrasse will be reduced to one during the project. Travelers will need to plan ahead and be patient.

The Chronicles will keep you posted on the latest developments. Information on the Muldenbrücke at Wilkau-Hasslau and the Cainsdorf Bridge south of Zwickau can be found in the tour guide on Zwickau’s bridges, which you can access here.

BHC 10 years

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 84

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BHC Mystery Bridge

This week’s pic of the week is also the 127th mystery bridge, both of which keeps us in Dresden. I happened to pass through this skyway while taking a group of students to the Church of our Lady (Frauenkirche) and to a popular Italian restaurant nearby. It was one I founded by chance and like in last week’s pic, this one also is a relict from the Baroque period, which survived the second World War. The question is where exactly is this bridge located? It’s near the newly rebuilt church, which means there’s a choice between Schlossstrasse and Brühlergasse, both of which are near the Dresden Castle and Semper Opera, where the skyways had been built to connect them and the cathedral. However, I’m not quite sure if this is the place.

Can somebody help, who’s from Dresden? Also nice to know of its history, if there is some available.

BHC 10 years

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 81

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During my recent field trip with some students to visit the Saxony Parliament in Dresden, one of my students found a good vantage point worth getting a photo. It was the view of the River Elbe and the Augustus Bridge, with the historic Old Town, featuring the Church of Our Lady, the Semper Opera and the Zwinger in the background and all towards the right. As a bonus, this was taken in the morning. As we were walking along the river towards the Parliament, I took a few shots of other bridges along the way before she pointed this one out. Needless to say it was a vantage point not to be missed….. 🙂

……in addition to a day trip through the Old Town, a good meal and some entertainment with some others…… 😉

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 79

Our first pic of the new year- let alone the new decade- takes us home. Home where one will find a historic bridge where you at least expect it. This was the case with this railroad bridge, the Schafteich Bridge. Spanning the River Zwickau Mulde, the bridge is located only two kilometers west of the train station in Glauchau. It serves the Dresden-Hof-Nuremberg Magristal Route and was one of the original structures that still serves traffic to this day, having been built in the 1860s and rehabilitated a couple of times in its lifetime. Speaking from experience (as you can see in the tour guide of Glauchau), the Schafteich Bridge is one of the most difficult to photograph, for the best photo can be taken from the north side, where the trucking firm is located, but only with a good camera and a good height over the fence. Yet when winter sets in and the leaves are all from the tree, one could sneak a shot from the southern side, where the textile factory is located. There one can photograph the structure either through the trees, like in this pic, or by climbing down towards the river. Because of the cold, I chose the first option and it made a world of difference.

 

Reminder: You still have time to vote for the 2019 Bridgehunter’s Awards. Deadline for voting is January 10th at 11:59pm, your local time. You can click here to go to the ballot. Reminder, there are two parts. The votes will then be tallied and the results will follow. The Author’s Choice Awards, where the author chooses his best and worst bridge stories is being put together and will be presented before the winners of the Bridgehunter’s Awards are announced on January 12th. Stay tuned.

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