Mystery Bridge Nr. 178  : Trinity Street Bridge in Hartford, Connecticut

Source: Google

When visiting Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, one will be amazed at the architecture that the city of 123,000 inhabitants has to offer. Apart from the Wadsworth Athenium, Hartford has several historic buildings that date back to the 1700s, such as historic public library, the Old State House, the Travelers Tower and the campus of the University of Connecticut, which is the powerhouse of women’s college basketball. Apart from the history centers that are devoted to Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain, one of the places that is worth visiting is the historic State Capitol Building. Located Bushnell Park, the Capitol is accompanied with various historic sites, including this one in the picture above, the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch.  Located on Trinity Street in the park, the arch was built by George Keller in 1886 and was the first memorial arch of its kind in the United States. It was dedicated to honor over 4000 soldiers who died in the Civil War.

Source: Wikimedia

Little do the people realize, there was once a bridge that was attached to the arch. The bridge was brought to the attention of the pontist community recently because of its unique design. The bridge features a five-span stone arch bridge with a total length of between 160 and 200 feet. When looking at the photos and postcards of the bridge in bridgehunter.com, the first two historic bridges in Europe came to mind: The Alte Brücke in Heidelberg, Germany and the Charles Bridge in Prague in Czechia. Unlike the two, this bridge in Hartford was dated back to the 1700s, but we don’t know when it was built exactly. One postcard pinpointed the build date to 1757, but it is unknown whether this date is accurate. The other is we don’t know who built the stone arch bridge.  If the memorial arch was constructed in 1886, it could be that Keller may have built the stone arch bridge itself, which means the bridge is younger than what was on the postcard.  In other words, the question we have about the stone arch bridge is when exactly was it built and by whom?

Source: bridgehunter.com

Sadly though, as part of the modernization of the city in the face of increasing population and traffic, the stone arch bridge and the Park River itself were both buried with the river now running underground enroute to the Connecticut River.  The memorial arch itself still stands, and cars can travel through it going one way towards the Capitol. An additional street was built that goes past the arch, carrying traffic to the City Center and XL Arena. Hartford itself has been dealing with poverty issues and population loss itself. Once touted as the richest city in the USA, in the past three decades, Hartford has been one of the poorest cities in the country with 30% of the population living below the poverty line and the city being beset by social inequalities and crime.

Hartford however has a lot to offer and it’s a question of civic leaders and city officials to find ways of making the city attractive again. It doesn’t necessarily mean trying to bring in professional teams as they did in the past for hockey, basketball and football. The last professional hockey team, the Hartford Whalers, moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to become the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997. Hartford is loaded with a lot of history and architecture it should pride itself on and should build off on. The Memorial Arch is one of them, as with the now buried Mystery Bridge. It’s a question of how to turn the city around and exploit the city’s strength. From there, it’s all uphill from there.

If you have any information on the Mystery Bridge, feel free to use the Contact Details or comment in the section below.  Happy Bridgehunting, folks. 🙂

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BHC Newsflyer: 27 February 2021

Telegraph Road Bridge over the Erie Canal in Orleans County, NY. Photo by Paige Miller

To listen to the podcast, click here and you will be directed to the Chronicles’ Anchor page.

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Headlines:

Seven Erie Canal Bridges in Orleans County Restored/ Another Erie Canal Bridge at Pittsford to be Restored

=> Information on the Bridges of Orleans County: http://bridgehunter.com/ny/orleans/

=> Information on the Pittsford Bridge: http://bridgehunter.com/ny/monroe/4443290/

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Winterbourne Bridge in Woolich (Ontario) Photo by Nathan Holth

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Historic Winterbourne Bridge in Ontario to be Restored

=> Info on the Bridge: https://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=ontario/winterbourne/

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Protests and Misunderstanding at the Historic Hospath Bridge in England

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Red Cliff Bridge. Photo taken by Roger Deschner in 2016

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Red Cliff Arch Bridge on Colorado’s Endangered List

=> Info on the Bridge: http://bridgehunter.com/co/eagle/red-cliff-arch/

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Source: Paweł Kuźniar (Jojo_1, Jojo), CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

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Controversial Historic Pilchowice Bridge Has New Owner- Plans to be Revitalized

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G. Fox Pedestrian Bridge on Connecticut’s Endangered List

=> Information on the G. Fox Department Store here.

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Holzbrücke Wettingen (CH) Source: Badener, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Restoration of a Combination Covered Bridge and Iron Span in Switzerland

=> Info on the Bridge: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holzbr%C3%BCcke_Wettingen-Neuenhof

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Jenkins Bridge Photo taken by Larry Dooley

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Jenkins Bridge Fundraising

=> Facebook page here

=> Fundraising page here.

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Gasconade Bridge. Photo taken by James Baughn

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Update on the Gasconade (Route 66) Bridge

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BHC Newsflyer: 20 January, 2019

Rendsburg Bridge side view
Rendsburg High Bridge in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

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Click here to listen to the podcast via SoundCloud: Newsflyer 20 January, 2019

Headlines (click on them to get more details):

Two stone bridges on the East Coast to be replaced: in Pennsylvania and in Connecticut

Historic Truss Bridge in Mississippi succumbs to nature.

Mystery bridge on that here.

Major historic truss bridge in Germany to have its transporter span back.

 

People say good-bye to a historic icon in New York.

 

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 83: The Twin Bridges of Salisbury, CT

salisbury ct bridges
Postcard courtesy of Dana and Ray Klein

After some time looking at the mystery bridges in the German state of Saxony, our next Mystery Bridge takes us back to the United States and the community of Salisbury in northwestern Connecticut. With a population of 3655 inhabitants, the town, incorporated in 1741, is part of the New York Metropolitan Region, which encompasses the entire state. Salisbury is laden with many historic buildings dating back to the time of its incorporation, some are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Because of its proximity to Mount Frissell in Massachusetts, the community is situated on the highest point in the state, with an elevation of 2380 feet above sea level. And lastly, the community has six lakes and several ponds. And with that come many bridges, although in high numbers.

And with the high number of bridges in the community, come the difficulties of finding rare structures and mystery bridges with missing information, like these two bridges in the postcard above.

Posted recently on bridgehunter.com by Dana and Ray Klein, one can see clearly that the bridge on the left was for pedestrians- on the right for horse and buggy and later, the Model T cars. The setting is around the turn of the century because of their design and appearance. Given the high number of trees and the given facts above, the twin bridges spanned a waterway connecting a pair of lakes and/or ponds. The question here is where exactly the bridge is located.

A closer look at the two bridges show that the material used for construction was clearly iron (most likely, cast iron), for two reasons:

  1. The pedestrian bridge features a curved design, namely curved endposts, and appears to have some artistic designs on the trusses, similar to the ones found at Central Park in New York City. These bridges were built in various areas between 1865 and 1880. It’s unknown what exactly the truss type was given the transversal view in the postcard.
  2. The vehicular bridge featured a Parker pony truss span, using the earliest design by C.H. Parker when it was patented in 1884. The connections were pin-connected, but unlike other regular Parker designs built after 1890, the upper chord consists of eyebar beams built in short lengths per panel with four or five put together. The vertical and diagonal beams are integrated into this mechanism and pins are used to connect all of them. In the picture, you can see how far apart they are, in comparison with conventional pin-connections, whose vertical beams are inserted into the upper chord, and pins are used solely for the diagonal beams. When Parker introduced his design, wrought iron was already being used, even though it was being phased out in favor of steel because of its flexibility and tolerance to heat. From 1890 onwards, all truss bridges were being built using this material. Therefore, because iron was used for circular designs and ornaments, in comparison to steel used for other geometrical shapes, such as rectangular ones, the bridge was built between 1885 and 1890.

Both bridges are long gone, but it would be curious to know the following questions:

  1. Where were the bridges located?
  2. When were the bridges built? The Parker was most likely between 1885 and 1890, while the pedestrian span was built before 1885.
  3. Who built the bridge?
  4. What were the dimensions of the two bridges?  For both, it appears to have the length of between 40 and 70 feet. The pedestrian span had a width of between 10 and 20 feet; the vehicular one, between 15 and 25 feet.
  5. When were they removed? Most likely because of the progressive development of the infrastructure combined with population growth, they were gone before 1960 latest, unless they were relocated. If relocated, where could one see the bridge today?

Do you know about the bridges, then send the author a line or post the information on the Chronicles’ facebook page. You can also comment on bridgehunter.com, where the postcard came from. In either case, we would like to know more about the structures.

So happy bridgehunting! 🙂

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