In connection with the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 10th anniversary of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and sister column The Flensburg Files, we’re starting a series on Wartime Bridges. In this series, we’ll look at the (historic) bridges that played a key role in World War II. They include popular and historic bridges that were destroyed in the war, like the bridges in Cologne, Frankfurt and Berlin, the third city there’s a book written on it which will be presented as a separate article later. They can also include bridges that were used for troops to cross as they march their way to victory. Two bridges have been mentioned in separate articles in the Chronicles- the Pegasus Bridge in France and the Remagen Bridge over the River Rhine in Germany. Nonetheless, the question is which other bridges played a key role in the war, regardless of outcome?
There are two ways to present your articles:
If you have a blog or other online column, you can proceed with doing a write-up on the bridge of your choice, send the link with the finished product and it will be reblogged onto the two columns.
If you don’t have a blog or online column, or you have a blog but would prefer not having it reblogged, you can write an article on it and send it directly to the Chronicles, using the contact details provided here.
The articles will be posted in both the Chronicles and the Files including whatever photos you wish to have on there. If it comes from a source other than yours, please cite the source.
We will start with the bridges in the European theater for World War II ended on 8 May, 1945 with Germany’s surrender. The series on the Bridges of World War II in Europe will continue until September. From that point on until the end of this year, we will focus on the bridges in the Pacific theater and their key roles. Japan surrendered on 2 September, 1945.
To give you an idea what’s expected, here are the two sample articles that were posted recently:
This week’s Pic of the Week takes us to Berlin and to this bridge: The Moltke Bridge. This red-colored stone arch bridge (made with Main sandstone) features three main spans over the River Spree, as seen in the picture above, and two outer arches that cross bike paths and sidewalks on each end. The bridge was built in 1891 and named after Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder (1800–1891), chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years. Moltke died just before the bridge’s completion and it was inaugurated by his funeral cortege. The bridge was one of only a few that survived World War II. The Nazis tried to detonate the structure in an attempt to stop the Soviet troops from advancing towards the Reichstag Building in the center of Berlin. Even though the detonation caused extensive damage to the bridge, it was not fully destroyed, and the Soviet troops crossed the bridge on April 28th, 1945. On May 1st, the Reichstag was captured and six days later, Germany capitulated to the allies.
The bridge was rebuilt to its original form and later rehabilitated to accommodate vehicular traffic, yet only cars and light-weight vehicles are allowed to use the crossing every day. Cyclists and pedestrians can also use the bridge, especially as there are many places of interest located between Berlin Central Station, the Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate and Alt-Moabit, one of the city’s suburbs.
This series of photos were taken in 2005, during the Open House on the grounds of the Regierungsgelände, where all of Germany’s parliamentary complex is located, including the Reichstag Building and Brandenburg Gate. The bridge was only 10 minutes’ walk from the open house, so I took a chance and photographed the structure. It appeared it had been rehabilitated at the time for the masonary red sandstones were cleaned and refurbished, there was new decking and the lighting appeared to be brand new. While the stone arches with all of the gargoyles and inscriptions were impressive, the ornamental lighting and railings were the ones that make the structure stand out the most. One could photograph them for hours, from different angles and using different experiments. Many of them survived the war and the subsequent division of Berlin that would occur until the Fall of the Wall. Judging by their texture, it appeared that they too were restored after 1990. Nevertheless, while the design and material used were impressive, this one has the “aha-“ effect for they are the first things one will see when crossing the bridge. They are also a rare breed for many modern bridges nowadays don’t feature the ornaments for they are too expensive and time-consuming. Yet sometimes a little decoration does make a bridge more attractive instead of bland.
Enjoy this series of bridge pics but keep this in mind: One wonders what the bridge looks like when photographed at night. This one is worth a shot and if so, one can capture the structure and its glowing lanterns in all of its glory. For those wanting to try it, it’s worth a shot, in my (humble) opinion.
More information, photos and data can be accessedhere.
And now, after having looked and guessed at the bridges, here are the answers to the Guessing Quiz on whether the following bridges were part of the borders or not. 🙂
Please note that information on the correct answers pertaining to the “border” bridges can be found in the links highlighted. Some of these bridges were documented by the Chronicles earlier in the year.
GUESSING QUIZ: THE BRIDGES ALONG THE BORDER
When the border and the Berlin Wall went up, many of the bridges that made up the border between the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East) were closed down or even removed. Only a handful of crossings remained open but under stringent control by the East German border guards, to ensure that no one left the country who was not supposed to.
The question is: Which bridges were affected? Look at the pictures below, determine if they were borders or not by marking Yes or No, and state your reason why by identifying where they are located. Borders meant that the bridges were either shut down to all passage or were under strict control by the East German army. The 16 German states are listed below to help you. Good luck! 🙂
Y / N
Where? This bridge spans the River Elbe near the village of Dömritz at the Lower Saxony- Mecklenburg/Pommeranian border. This used to be a railroad crossing, the longest of its kind over the River Elbe.
Y / N
Where? This is located at the border between Berlin and Brandenburg near the town of Potsdam. The Glienicke Bridge was once known as the Bridge of Spies because of the spy exchanges that happened between 1961 and 1989.
Y / N
Where? This is located in Jena in Thuringia- The Alte Burgauer Brücke spanning the River Saale
Y / N
Where? This bridge is located in Oranienburg (Brandenburg)- The Queen Luisa Bridge.
Y / N
Where? This bridge spans the River Elbe in Lauenburg (Schleswig-Holstein), located 3 km west of the three-state corner where S-H, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Pommerania are located. It connects Lower Saxony with S-H.
Where? This is the Hirschberg Bridge spanning the River Saale between the Thuringian town and Untertiefengrün (Bavaria)
Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Pommerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia
Answers will come on November 9th, the same day as the Fall of the Wall. 🙂
Check out the Flensburg Files and follow the updates pertaining to the 30th anniversary celebrations. There are lots of articles that have been written on this topic, including former border crossings and videos, just to name a few. As a hint, some of the answers to this quiz lie both there as well as here.
Our next pic of the week coincides with the Flensburg Files’ series on photos of the former border crossings past and present, as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which subsequentially resulted in the Reunification of Germany, 11 months later. This pic takes us to the famous Glienicke Bridge. This cantilever truss bridge was built in 1907 and spans the River Havel, forming the border between the capital city of Berlin and the state of Brandenburg. The bridge was very popular in history and culture because it became a key patrol crossing during the Cold War. From 1952 until 6pm on the evening of November 10th, 1989, this crossing was the border that kept people from entering and leaving West Berlin from the GDR. It was an exchange point for captured spies from both sides of the border, thus it became known as the Bridge of Spies; the name was adopted in literature as well as in films, the latest of which was a combination book and film that were released in 2015. Since the evening of the 10th of November, 1989, the Glienicke Bridge has been in service as a throughfare crossing, where tens of thousands of cars cross this bridge daily.
During my visit to the bridge in 2015, the first impression of the crossing was the fact that it was just a typical historic bridge that had been restored to its usual form, with no border guards, no rust and corrosion and no potholes and other issues with the decking. The only markers that existed where the borders once stood was a sign with the information of the bridge’s reopening that evening, as well as a marker on the Berlin side with information on where the border once stood. However, since the opening, the Glienicke Bridge has become a fully restored tourist attraction. Most of the historic columns, statues and buildings dating back to the Baroque period have been fully refurbished and makes the bridge appear original- as if there were no bombings or the like, as it happened in World War II. Eateries on the Potsdam side of the bridge as well as a museum devoted to the bridge’s unique history also exist. Tour guides are available to know more about the history of the structure and its key role during the dark period of time.
The bridge is a major tourist attraction for those with not only an interest in architectural history in Berlin and Potsdam, but also history in general. From a photographer’s perspective, the bridge is easily photographed as there are many places available where you can get your favorite shot- whether it is a close-up as I took some on the morning of October 18th with the sunrise and all, but also from several parks and castles lining up along the Havel, many from the Berlin side. In either case, the bridge is a highly recommended stop for those visiting Berlin because of its unique style and even more unique history, something that the governments of both Berlin and Brandenburg will do all that they can to preserve it for generations to come.
Call for help to save a historic bridge in Missouri; A city in Saxony to receive three new bridges; Man pees off of bridge onto ship; A historic bridge gets a new home at a park in Indiana and at a church in Massachusetts; Changes to take place for the Chronicles.
Calls to Halt MoDOT’s plan to demolish Gasconade Bridge
Hazlegreen, MO:The future of the Gasconade Bridge near Hazlegreen is in the balance. Between now and July 5th, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is collecting information from residents concerning the multiple-span through truss bridge that was built 95 years ago but has been closed to traffic since 2015. A replacement span is being constructed on a new alignment to carry a frontage road which used to be Route 66. Should the majority favor keeping the bridge, then it will be up to MoDOT, who had built the structure, to find a way to keep it out of the hands of the wrecker. Information on how you can help can be found by clicking here.
Flöha to Receive Three New Bridges
Flöha (Saxony), Germany-Eight months after a fire destroyed the Apfelsinebrücke (Orange Bridge) near the city center, the city council approved a deal to construct a new bridge that spans the River Zschopau near the City Park Baumwolle. Unlike the previous structure, which was built in the early 1980s, this one will be lower and without steps thus allowing for cyclists to cross. The cost will be 800,000 Euros. It is one of three bridges that the city is looking to replace. The others include replacing the Kirschenbrücke (Cherry Bridge) at Augustusstrasse, which spans the same river. The 120-year old two span arch bridge will be replaced with a beam structure with no center pier in the river. Originally, the arch bridge was supposed to be rehabilitated, yet floodwaters in 2013 caused extensive damage that made even rebuilding the bridge to its original form impossible due to costs deemed exorbitant. The 2.3 million Euro project includes rebuilding the street approaching the bridge. The third bridge to be replaced is a wooden through arch bridge located near Niederwiesa. Built in 2006, the bridge is deemed unsafe due to deterioration in the wood. Its replacement structure will be a steel through arch bridge with truss features. It will still carry the Zschopau Bike trail connecting Flöha and Frankenberg. All three projects are scheduled to start this fall and is expected to last a year.
Man Pees off Historic Bridge onto Tour Ship in Berlin- 4 injured
And lastly, some changes are coming to the Chronicles. After two years in Schneeberg, its main office is being moved to Glauchau, located 10 kilometers north of Zwickau in western Saxony. The city of 24,000 is the center point between the cities of Jena and Erfurt to the west and Chemnitz and Dresden to the east. The move is ongoing and is expected to last through August. The Chronicles will have some pauses in between due to the move. Furthermore, the Chronicles no longer is available on Skrive, for the platform was shut down on June 15th. However, it is pursuing other social media platforms to provide coverage, which will include the use of Spotify and other podcast apps, as well as some local platforms for better coverage in the US and Europe. The project is expected to last until the end of August. To give you an idea of the move, check out the Chronicles’ on Instagram, which has a series on Moving Art.
This year’s results of the Ammann Awards is nothing like anyone has ever seen before. A record setting number of votes were casted in eight categories, and with that, a lot of suspense that is comparable to any bowl game in college football and waiting under a Christmas tree for Santa Claus to provide gifts. It was that intense. And with that, a lot of commentary that led to making some new changes in the award format and that of the Chronicles itself.
For the first time in the history of the Ammann Awards, there will be a podcast with commentary of the Awards in all but one of the categories. This can be found here but also via SoundCloud. You can subscribe to Soundcloud by scrolling down on the left column, clicking and signing up once you arrive there. Details on how podcasts will be used for the Chronicles will be presented in the next podcast, which will also be posted here. The table with the results of the Ammann Awards are presented here but in the order of the podcast so that you can follow. As in last year, the table features the top six finishers with some honors mentioned, but color coded based on the medals received in the following order: gold, silver, bronze, turquoise, quartzite and iron ore.
And so without further ado, click here to access the podcast but keep this page open to follow. The results in Best Photo is yet to come here.
2018 Ammann Award Results:
And lastly, the results of the Ammann Awards under the category Best Bridge Photo:
Photo 5: Sigler Bridge in White County, IL by Melissa Brand-Welch
Photo 13: Trolley Bridge in Waterloo, Iowa by Diane Ebert
Photo 10: Manhattan Bridge in Riley County, Kansas by Nick Schmiedeleier
Photo 3: Chesterfield-Battleboro Bridges by Dan Murphy
Photo 11: Route 66 Gasconade Truss Bridge in Missouri by Dyuri Smith
Photo 2: Tappan Zee Bridge in New York by Dan Murphy
As mentioned in the podcast, next year’s awards will be the same but under a new name: The Bridgehunter Awards. The name Ammann will be relegated to the Tour Guide Awards for US and international bridges; whereas the Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge will be renamed the Delony Award, after the late Eric Delony. An additional category is being considered for a historic bridge threatened with demolition but has the potential to being saved and reused. The Author’s Choice Awards will remain the same as is.
While we’re talking about those awards, you can see the results and commentaries here.
To those who won in their respective categories, as well as those who finished in the top 6 or were honored, congratulations. You may now bring out the sect and champaign and celebrate. Prost! 🙂
After a very long delay due to bridge and non-bridge related commitments that needed to be address, it is long past overdue to present the Author’s Choice Awards for 2017. Normally this would have been awarded at the same time as the winners of the Ammann Awards (see the results here). However there were some developments bridgewise that kept me from posting the results. By the time the opportunity came to do that, commitments related to my other job as teacher pushed the posting back much further. Yet, better late than never to announce my pics for 2017, with a promise to be more punctual when I announce the 2018 Author’s Choice Awards in January 2019, the same time as the winners of the 2018 Ammann Awards that will be announced simultaneously.
So without further ado, here we go…..
2017 was an exceptionally hard year for historic bridges for dozens of them worldwide were destroyed either by mother nature in the form of wildfires, flash flooding and other storms or through really unintelligent people ignoring the weight and height restrictions for the purpose of convenience and shortcuts. With the second part we will get to later. Let’s look at my picks for 2017 as the bridges deserve the author choice for the following reasons:
Best Find of a Historic Bridge:
While my pics go directly to the state where the government is trying profusely to destroy every single metal truss bridge in the state- namely New Hampshire, two areas with a set of historic bridges deserve to be recognized here. The first one are the bridges of Hinsdale/ Battleboro There, we have a pair of Pennsylvania through truss spans in the Anna Hunt Marsh and the Charles Dana, the Killburn Brook Stone Arch Bridge, the Chesterfield Arch Bridges and a pair of railroad bridges. A tour guide will be made soon as two of the bridges face uncertain futures for even though a replacement bridge is being built on a new alignment downstream, the public is divided between restoring the truss spans and simply demolishing them. One of the proponents of the latter had already defaced the Anna Marsh bridge by removing the planking and appears to be grabbing the city government by the balls to have them fulfill his demands. However, that person is being held at gunpoint by others who disagree. Michael Quiet produced a pair of videos on the Anna Marsh and Charles Dana spans which you can see here:
Runner-up is a pair of former railroad truss bridges located at Pulp Mill. The older truss span is an 1868 Whipple through truss with vertical endposts featuring Phoenix columns. The 1921 truss is a pin-connected Pratt through truss bridge. While both are abandoned, they deserve a second life as a bike crossing, don’t you agree? The two bridges received the bronze medal in the Ammann Awards competition under Bridge of the Year.
Since the beginning of 2017, I had the priviledge to do a bridgehunting tour along the Zwickau Mulde River in the western part of the German state of Saxony. 200 kilometers and consisting of some of the Ammann Award winners of Zwickau, Glauchau, Aue and Rochlitz, plus some candidates in the Lunzenau area, the river region features a tall 150-year old concrete viaduct, several stone arch bridges, big and small, a handful of pre-1930s era truss bridges as well as cantilever and Suspension bridges. All of them are accessible via Mulde bike Trail and if Things go the way the Mayors of Glauchau, Rochlitz and Lunzenau want it to be, the former railroad line connecting Glauchau and Wurzen that runs parallel to the Zwickau Mulde may end up becoming either a Tourist rail line or a “rails-to-trails” route in the next five years. For that reason it deserves the Author’s Choice Awards as a way of motivating them to make this Project happen.
Best Example of Preserved and Reused Historic Bridge:
Lakewood Park Truss Bridge. Built in 1877 by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Works Company and measured at 99.1 feet Long, this pin-connected Pratt through truss Bridge with Town Lattice Portal bracings was relocated to ist present site, which is the Lakewood Middle School in Salina, Kansas, a few blocks from where it had been originally located. The Bridge serves as living history and a park area for students wishing to relax and learn some history about the structure and ist Connection with Engineering history in the US. The Bridge Looks just like new with ist decking and benches. It is definitely worth a visit and for sure receiving this Award.
While this Bridge received third place in the Ammann Awards under the category Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge, the Ponte Pensil Sao Vicente Suspension Bridge near Santos, Brazil is getting the Author’s Choice Awards for its in-kind restoration of the Suspension Bridge, with new decking and cables, but being able to retain ist structural integrity. This was a masterpiece that is worth the recognition. The Suspension Bridge can now carry vehicles and pedestrians across the river without the fear of collapse.
Most Spectacular Bridge Disasters
Mother nature has not been kind to mankind this year and has shown ist distaste because of the ignorance of the effects of industrialization, wasting non-renewable resources and too many cars and housing. This includes massive forest fires, die-offs of fish, and especially widespread flash-flooding. For this year’s most Spectacular Bridge Disaster Story, we have two examples from the US, one of which Mother Nature redid a piece of artwork that was perceived as wrong.
The James Bridge in Ozark County was one of four key bridges that were wiped out by flash-floods during the first weekend of May, which also took out the Hammond Mills and Bruns Bridges– the former of which was only 30 years old and a concrete slab bridge; the latter a 130-year-old historic truss bridge. The James Bridge featured a two-span polygonal Warren pony truss bridge with riveted connections that was built in 1958. The flood not only knocked it off ist foundations but it flipped over upside down, thus converting the span into a deck truss. Workers removing the “makeshift deck truss bridge” as well as reporters on the scene were quite impressed with the artwork Mother Nature had left behind as a result. Yet this is the second time in six years this conversion from a pony truss into a deck truss has happened- all in Missouri.
The runner-up was a tight one between another bridge collapse due to flooding and mudslides in California, and this bridge in Atlanta, the I-85 Bridge. This structure fell victim to a blazing inferno on 30 March, causing a 28 meter (92 foot) section to collapse. Investigators later concluded that a combination of improper storage of materials underneath the concrete viaduct and arson resulted in this unfortunate event. Still, this disaster became the new Minneapolis Bridge disaster, for the collapse showed that even potentially dangerous flaws in concrete beam bridges can exist.
There were over a dozen well-known bridge disasters in Europe and Africa in 2017, yet there are two stories that stand out and deserve recognition.
The first place winner goes to a bridge in the Indian state of Goa. There, a Whipple pony truss bridge spanning the River Sanvordem at Curchorem collapsed under the weight of people on 18 May. Official reports put the casualty totals of two dead, dozens injured and 30 people missing; many of those missing were presumed dead as the river was infested with crocodiles, which made rescue attempts difficult. Spectators had been on the bridge to watch efforts to rescue someone who wanted to commit suicide by jumping off the bridge. The bridge goes back to the 1800s during the time the Portuguese had control of the Goa Region. As of right now, the bridge, abandoned for many years, is scheduled to be removed. This is the second bridge disaster in two years that included the Goa Region.
The runner-up in this category is the collapse of the Troja Bridge. This bridge goes back to the Communist era and used to span the River Vlatava near the Zoo in Prague. On 2 December, the entire concrete beam structure collapsed, injuring four- two of them seriously. The causes of the collapse stemmed from age and structural deficiency to its weakening as a result of the Great Flood of 2002, forcing officials to monitor the bridge more closely while introducing plans to replace it with a newer, more stable structure.
Biggest Bonehead Story:
In the final category, we look at the Biggest Bonehead Story and this is where we look at stupid people destroying historic bridges for unjustified reasons. We have a lot of good stories that go along with this topic, all of which in the United States. And with that, we will look at Judge Marilyn Milian, the judge for the TV-series The People’s Court. Since taking over for Judge Wappner in 2005, Ms. Milian has used her sassy commentary and rhetoric to put people in their places for their actions that are both legally and morally wrong. At the same time, she has a zero-tolerance to people doing stupid things as well as making unintelligent comments, sometimes embarassing them on TV. Some classic examples of how the Lady Judge does her work can be seen here:
Back in January 2018, when the Ammann Award winners were being announced, I tried to contact Ms. Milian to see if and how she would react to the following bridge disasters that were caused by stupidity at its finest- all of which will share the Author’s Choice Award for 2017 because of their bizarre nature. That is, had the courts not decided and the cases had been sent to the People’s Court 😉 :
1. Gilliecie Bridge (aka Murtha and Daley): This 130-foot long bowstring arch bridge, built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company in 1874, spans the Upper Iowa River at Cattle Creek Road. It had the weight of three tons before the driver of a grain truck, weighing five times as much as the weight allowed on the bridge, tried to cross it on 5th May. After hitting the eastern portal, the truck and the bridge fell right into the water! The driver wasn’t injured. He later claimed that his GPS device led him to the bridge and afraid that he could cause an accident while backing up, he chanced it. Another Mary Laimbright slash “My GPS made me do it” story but sadly unlike the incident and its after-effects at the bridge where she downed it with a semi-truck in 2015, this bridge in Iowa may have seen its last days before being scrapped. Its future is uncertain.
2. Cedar Covered Bridge: Spanning Cedar Creek near Winterset, this bridge was built in 2004 as a replica of the original 1883 span that was destroyed by arson in 2002. This bridge was torched again, this time by three high school teenagers on 15 April, 2017. There, two of them poured gasoline on the decking while the third one set it ablaze. The bridge was left with a charred Town Lattice truss skeleton after the fire was put out. The person who had set the fire to the bridge was upset after breaking up with his girlfriend, with whom he had spent time on the bridge. Before his sentencing in June, the person wanted to get out on bail so that he could graduate from high school. He was later arrested for setting a car ablaze in March in West Des Moines. For the bridge he torched, he received a deferred sentence of 10 years in prison and five years probation. His two other accomplices also received suspended sentences and probation. Yet this incident is a reminder of another incident at McBride Bridge in 1984, which was caused by heartbreak. That person, who destroyed the bridge, had to help with rebuilding the bridge as part of the sentence. Sometimes hard labor helps shape a man. By the way, the Cedar Bridge is being rebuilt again, for the third time. Opening date remains open.
3. Longwood Lane Pony Truss Bridge:Spanning Cedar Run in Fauquier County, Virginia, this pony truss bridge had a very quiet life until a UPS Delivery Truck crossed it on July 17th- or should I say the driver tried to cross it, but it fell in the water. So much for the delivery, not to mention the job as a delivery person. The fastest sometimes had the worst.
This leads to the question of how Judge Milian would handle this, had she seen these three cases in the People’s Court? Would she handle them like above, or even in a case below? What examples an be used? And who would win the case: the owners of the bridges (all of them had been owned a the county) or the defendant? And if the plaintiff, how much would the defendant have to pay- financially and timewise in jail?
This is where the forum is open to the judge, but also to the followers of the People’s Court. 😉
And this wraps up the 2017 Author’s Choice Awards for some of the most bizarre bridge stories. There will be much more for the 2018 Author’s Choice Awards, as there are enough stories to go around there. They will be posted when the winners of the 2018 Ammann Awards come out in January. This time the author means it when he says it will come very timely next time around. So stay tuned! 🙂
The Osborne County Hall of Fame Honors celebrates the Osborne County Sesquicentennial Year of 2021, marking the first 150 years of the county's existence. The "Honors" will present, recognize, and appreciate the various aspects of Osborne County, Kansas heritage and culture both past and present in a different manner than its parent organization, the Osborne County Hall of Fame. The series of lists that comprise the "Honors" will be revealed throughout the year on this site and via other social media. All Individuals already enshrined in the Osborne County Hall of Fame are excluded from the "Honors". Happy 150th Birthday, Osborne County!