Mystery Bridge Nr. 162: A House Bridge in Flensburg?

Co-written with sister column:

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The 162nd mystery bridge takes us to the Schiffahrtsmuseum (Museum of Shipping and Rum) in Flensburg and to this 3D diagram of this community, dating back to the 16th Century. Geographically speaking, Flensburg is situated at the tip of the Flensburg Fjord, with much of the city center at the bottom of the hill on the western side and houses on the upper sides of the hill on both sides of the body of water. A mixture of housing and businesses can be found to the south of present-day Südermarkt, going towards the railway station and major highways. Little do we know about Flensburg is that it was once a walled-city.

From the 14th Century onwards, workers constructed a series of walls, gates and towers that would surround the town on the western side of the fjord. It surrounded the two churches, St. Nicolas and St. Mary’s as well as the buildings along the main stretch of street, which is known today as Holm and Roter Strasse (EN: Red Street). The wall was even built near the water below that street and extended toward the tip of the fjord, crossed the Mühlenteich near present-day Angelberger Strasse and went as far south as the point where the parking lot An der Exe is located today. On the north end, the wall extended below the Duburg school and reached its northernmost spot where the present-day Nordertor Gate is located. The city was walled in response to the increase of conflicts with the Danish, but also other intruders. By the middle of the 19th Century, much of the wall had disappeared and with that, the towers and gates, even though some historic markers and relicts can be found at the sites where they once stood. As many as 20 towers and gates existed during the time the city was surrounded by a wall.

Model of Nordertor and parts of the Wall.

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Our mystery bridge gives us a much closer look at one of the gates located at Angelburgerstrasse, near the tip, known today as Hafenspitze. Before going to that, we must look at the definition of a House Bridge. A house bridge was built between the 12th Century and the 17th Centuries and feature a stone arch bridge crossing that held houses on them. They are not covered bridges per se, as they are built solely with wood trusses and have rooves. House Bridges generally are uncovered and have outdoor openings for people to walk in and out of the houses, or simply meander past them. It is unknown how many were built during the aforementioned time period, but one of the well-known House Bridges that had existed was London Bridge, which was built in 1261 and after a fire, was rebuilt as a street crossing in 1831. Another house bridge that exists today in England is the Pulteney Bridge in Bath. In Germany, there are four known house bridges that exist. Most popular is the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, the other three are known to exist in Bavaria: in Bad Kreuznach, Bamberg and Nuremberg.

Looking closer on the 3D diagram, there is one that may have exist in Flensburg. It’s located at the site where Angelsbergerstrasse is located today. It crossed a river known as Mühlengraben, which transports water into the Fjord at Hafenspitze. It appears that a gate is sitting over the crossing which was built as a stone arch bridge, using stone as the materials. A side view of the bridge can be found here:

Side view of Angelberger Gate and Bridge.

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Even though this is an artist’s depiction of the house bridge, it is unknown what exactly it looked like- whether there were one or more arch spans and whether the house looked like what was shown in the pictures. It is known that it had existed from the 15th Century until its dismantling in 1843. Anything else beyond that is wide open. The site today features a bridge crossing and former bike shop that was built inside the abutment. 100 meters away and towards the Hafenspitze is the Split, where the railroad line crosses Hafendamm with two bridges before terminating on both sides of the fjord. That line was built in 1920 but has been abandoned for almost a decade now.

The bridge with bike shop. Read more about it here.

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The Split near Hafenspitze

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As for the streams that emptied into the fjord, there were three that existed in and around Flensburg, making a confluence before passing through the former gate at Angelberger Strasse. Looking at the rendering of the drawing of Flensburg during the 16th Century, it may have been a lake when the streams met. While only one of them exists, much of was converted into an underwater channel. The rest were emptied and filled in.

Mühlgraben and its confluence with other streams before passing through the former gate at Angelberger Strasse

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The 3D exhibit, which can be found at the Schiffahrtsmuseum in Flensburg, shows what Flensburg may have looked like 400 years ago. While much of the buildings, including the churches, still exist to this day, as with the main street, there are some questions that have remained open pertaining to what actually existed in Flensburg. This includes the bridges that existed prior to 1800 and with that, we refer to this mystery bridge at Angelberger Strasse. While we may be able to seach through the records to find what we are looking for, chances are likely, due to four wars Flensburg was in- two with the Danes and the two World Wars, much of the records may be lost forever, and it would take a time machine to travel back to the days city was once walled.

But since that is all science fiction, I still hold out hope that there is more to the history of the crossing at Angelberger Strasse than what has been shown through displays and photos of the present crossing.

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What do you know about this bridge in terms of its history? What about the history of the river that emptied into the harbor, or the other crossings that existed when Flensburg was a walled town? Tell us about it. Comment in the section below or send an e-mail, using the contact form here.

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If you are interested in contributing photos and/or information for the bridge book project on Schleswig-Holstein’s bridges, here is the information about the project. Feel free to contact me using the contact details here.

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Happy Bridgehunting, folks. 🙂

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Covered Bridge in Maine Destroyed by Arson

Photo taken by Jack Schmidt in 2014

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LITTLETON, MAINE- One of Maine’s handful of century-old bridges was incinerated and the state fire marshal is looking into the possible causes. The Watson Settlement Bridge was a covered bridge featuring a Howe through truss design. It spanned the Meduxnekeag Stream on Former Carson Road in Littleton in Aroostook County, located between US Hwy 1 and the US-Canada border. It was built in 1911 and had served traffic until 1984 when the current concrete structure was built on a new alignment and the historic bridge was converted to a pedestrian crossing. Listed on the National Register since 1970, the 170 foot long bridge was named after the nearby Watson Settlement and was a magnet for photo opportunities including graduation photos.

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Soruce: Citizens of Littleton

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Fire Crews were called to the scene of a fire on Monday afternoon at 2:45pm Eastern Time only to find the covered bridge engulfed in flames. Three different fire departments from Littleton, Houghton and Monticello were at the scene to put down the blaze. The State Fire Marshal Office arrived at the scene an hour later to investigate. The entire structure, consisting of charred beams and a partially collapsed roof, has been considered a total loss and will have to be torn down. It is unknown at this point whether a replica will be constructed. The area has been barracaded off to keep people from going on the bridge due to its structural instability. The State Fire Marshal is looking into any information to determine the cause of the fire, including finding any potential arsonists. People with information on the fire should contact their office at 1-888-870-6162.

The Chronicles will keep you posted on the latest involving the bridge, the fire and what happens next.

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The Covered Bridges of Ashtabula County, Ohio

Harpersville Covered Bridge. Photo taken by Michael Miller. For Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

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When we think of Ashtabula County, located in northeastern Ohio, the first thing that comes to mind are the bridges- specifically, covered bridges. With 19 covered bridges built in different eras where iron, steel and lastly concrete were primarily used for bridge construction, Ashtabula County has the highest number of bridges in Ohio and belongs in the top five in the country, competing with the likes of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (28) and the most number going to Parke County, Indiana (31). Yet it includes some of the fanciest that are worth visiting, including the longest covered bridge in the US in the Smolen-Gulf Bridge, built in 2008. There’s the combi-bridge at Harpersville. The oldest covered bridge, located on Mechanicsville Road, was built in 1867. The county offers bridge tours to show tourists the finest and there’s even a covered bridge festival, which takes place every year in October and features contests, a parade and other events.

So where are these covered bridges located and what do they look like? There are many maps and tour guides on these unique crossings, yet I found a drone-style bridge tour guide recently, which features each crossing but viewing them from a bird’s eye perspective. This 19+ tour includes some information and the bridge, inside and out. 🙂

As many as the covered bridges are also the metal truss and concrete arch bridges, Ashtabula County has to offer. One will need a full week to get to all of the historic bridges in the county. Have a look at the complete tout guide courtesy of bridgehunter.com by clicking here and then you can plan your tour to your liking. There are many ways to take a look at them. One can be done with droning as we saw with the covered bridges, but as the slogan goes, the more creative you are, the more attractive the tours can be. So get your cameras out there and give it your best bridgehunter shot. 🙂

Happy Bridgehunting, folks! 🙂 ❤

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 101

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The next Pic of the Week takes us to Saxony and to the town of Lauter-Bernsbach, located between Aue and Schwarzenberg in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge). The town has two covered bridges spanning the River Schwarzwasser. This is one of them. It’s a covered bridge that accompanies a mill, which has long since been abandoned. It’s located near the train station Lauter and can be seen from the highway bridge that carries Bernsbacher Strasse. The bridge appears to have been dated back to about a century ago. Judging by its abandonment, it appears to have been closed off for at least a couple decades. Still, with some extensive work, the crossing would be a great asset for pedestrians and cyclists, who wish to use this crossing instead of the highway bridge, from which this photo was taken in September 2018.

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HYB: Humpback Covered Bridge

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The next two entries are film clips from History in Your Backyard, a film series produced by Satolli Glassmeyer and Co.  Our first one looks at the Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington, Virginia. This bridge was built in 1856 and is the oldest covered bridge in Virginia, let alone one of the oldest in the country.  The bridge was one of the first to have been rehabilitated and repurposed for pedestrians, as this was done in 1957, almost 30 years since it was replaced by a truss bridge on a new alignment and later abandoned. And lastly, it was one of the first that was nominated to the National Register, as it was listed in 1969.  Take a look at the video about the bridge’s history, which includes photos and some other facts. The engineering details can be found here.

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 67

It’s autumn and with that, the start of the time of year where the photos are at their best. With a combination of fall colors on trees, changing weather patterns between sun, storms and wind- ending up with snow and lastly long nights with long, bright color of the moon, one can come up with the best photos no matter where you go and what objects you are photographing.

This Pic of the Week is a prime example of it. This was taken in Jena in the German state of Thuringia three years ago. It was in September and it was a cold night. Yet with the super moon that happened during that time, it was irresistible to take the bike out there and get a few pics, including one of the bike itself with the lights on:

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And this covered bridge in the village of Kunitz, located a kilometer from the city limits:

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This bridge has a unique history along with the town of 400 inhabitants. The crossing over the River Saale is a replica of a covered bridge that was built in 1832. It survived over a century until the end of April 1945, when Nazi soldiers detonated the structure in an attempt to foil any attempts of the allies to encroach on Germany even further. Jena and Thuringia became part of the Soviet Zone after the war and instead of restoring the bridge, they constructed a concrete slab in 1947, which lasted 74 years. Still, locals worked together to preserve the memories of the bridge and took advantage of the expansion of the Saale Bike Trail by constructing the bridge’s replica in 2012. The bridge was erected on a new alignment, using the piers of a temporary bridge (Behelfsbrücke) used when the original crossing was being replaced. After the new bridge was opened, the covered bridge was built mimicking the original. The covered bridge today carries a branch of the Saale Bike Trail between Kunitz and the industrial area in Jena-Nord.

I took a lot of pics of the bridge with the Pentax but to do a bit of clean-up with the lighting, I doctored this one via Instagram: an oblique view with the moon rising from the eastern hills of the Saaletal and the weeds growing in the front of the bridge’s portal entrance. The brightness of the wood and vegetation was in part because of the lighting installed to provide safe passage at night. One could not imagine walking around Kunitz at night 15 years ago. Today, with a company of friends and/or family, it is safe to say that an evening walk is solely OK, photo opps with a good camera and graphic program is even better.

And as for the finished product like what is seen here, they speak for themselves. Happy Bridgehunting and happy Photoshooting! 🙂

 

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Information on the Kunitzer Hausbrücke, the official name of the covered bridge, can be found by clicking here. There is a restaurant between the two bridges on the banks of the River Saale which bears the bridge’s name and provides a great view of the River Saale and the town’s two bridges.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 25: Happy Halloween and Reformation Day

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At ⛅ and sunset

A post shared by bridgehunters_chronicles2010 (@bridgehunters_chronicles17) on

Every bridge is full of surprises, both big and small, regardless of when and where you find them. Some are haunted and some are waiting to be discovered. However, just be aware that when you find a bridge that is dark and haunted, and you want to investigate, you may find something unexpected, as I saw in this pic, while visiting a covered bridge in Hennersdorf, a small village in Saxony that is tucked away in the Valley of the River Zschopau, only a few minutes from Flöha.

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and ……

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Are you ready to take the challenge? As a photographer and pontist, I would. 😉  Happy Pic and Treating! 🙂

 

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BHC Bridge Pic Nr. 18

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The next pic of the weeks keeps us in Glauchau, but provides us with a golden opportunity to see the inside of a covered bridge. Covered bridges provide shelter from rain and snow, views of the river through its trusses and windows and lighting when it is dark, just like in this picture. This one provides a gold-like coloring of the trusses and flooring, making it not only a beauty to cross but also safer. This one was taken at the covered bridge at Zimmerstrasse, spanning the Zwickau Mulde behind the Werdigt School.

The bridge even looks pretty from the outside, even at night time, as you can see in the pic below:

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 85: A Covered Bridge with a Thatched Roof

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Thatching is a different but efficient concept for roofing a house. Houses with thatched roofs have a Roof that is built using dry vegetation, such as straw, sedge, heather, water reed, palm fronds and/or rushes and with that, each side of the house has a roof that slants downwards towards the outer edge. Thatched Roofs have a dual function where it allows water to flow off the outer roof, keeping the inner roof dry (and thus preventing rotting and molding of the wood), but at the same time, it acts as an insulator, keeping the warm air inside during the winter and outside during the summer months. Houses with thatches roofs can be found in Areas with tropical climates, but also those with a continental climate, such as the northern parts Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain.

While architects find creative ways to building houses with thatched roofs, it is also no surprise that one can find covered bridges with thatched roofs. One just has to stumble across something like this one, located just south of St. Peter-Ording in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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Located on a trail that separates the clinic and the Westküsten Park and Robbarium, this bridge Looks like a typical small crossing that spans a canal that transfers water from the North Sea to the fields to prevent flooding during high tides and severe storms but also to provide water to the farm lands nearby. The bridge is only seven to eight meters long, but the width is about 40 centimeters wider, especially if you count the overhead portion.  In bridge terminology, the bridge is a through truss using the Kingpost design. The entire structure is made of wood.

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Close-up of the A-framed Kingpost truss design.

Yet looking at it further, it definitely has the thatched roof appearance, as two different layers are added to the roof to make it unusual. The top layer has either sedge or rush roofing, whereas the bottom layer has the typical reed roofing, one sees with houses in Schleswig-Holstein and neighboring Mecklenburg-Pommerania. This type of construction makes the bridge very unusual for a covered bridge, but it does lead to the question of whether this is the only bridge of ist kind in the region, Germany or even Europe, or if there are similar bridges of ist kind out there. and if so, where.

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Close-up of the thatched roofing: The reed is the bottom layer; the sedge or rush is the top layer.

While the roof has the function of protecting the remaining elements from rotting or molding caused by moisture from rains, the structure itself is no older than 20 years old, for even though there is moss on some of the wooden beams, the bridge and its trusses look relatively new. Therefore, it is estimated that the bridge was built between 1995 and 2005, if not later. It is the question of who built it and why the engineer decided for this unique design.

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If you know more about this bridge, please send the author an e-mail with some information about it. This will be useful for the upcoming book project on the bridges of Schleswig-Holstein. What is just as important (or even more) than this bridge is the following:

How many covered bridges have a thatched roof similar to this one? And where are they located?

 

A discussion Forum has been established on facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram so that you can comment on this. Photos and info for the other bridges would be much appreciated.  🙂

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 85: A Covered Bridge With a Thatched Roof

IMGP7464

Thatching is a different but efficient concept for roofing a house. Houses with thatched roofs have a Roof that is built using dry vegetation, such as straw, sedge, heather, water reed, palm fronds and/or rushes and with that, each side of the house has a roof that slants downwards towards the outer edge. Thatched Roofs have a dual function where it allows water to flow off the outer roof, keeping the inner roof dry (and thus preventing rotting and molding of the wood), but at the same time, it acts as an insulator, keeping the warm air inside during the winter and outside during the summer months. Houses with thatches roofs can be found in Areas with tropical climates, but also those with a continental climate, such as the northern parts Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain.

While architects find creative ways to building houses with thatched roofs, it is also no surprise that one can find covered bridges with thatched roofs. One just has to stumble across something like this one, located just south of St. Peter-Ording in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

IMGP7460

Located on a trail that separates the clinic and the Westküsten Park and Robbarium, this bridge Looks like a typical small crossing that spans a canal that transfers water from the North Sea to the fields to prevent flooding during high tides and severe storms but also to provide water to the farm lands nearby. The bridge is only seven to eight meters long, but the width is about 40 centimeters wider, especially if you count the overhead portion.  In bridge terminology, the bridge is a through truss using the Kingpost design. The entire structure is made of wood.

IMGP7466
Close-up of the A-framed Kingpost truss design.

Yet looking at it further, it definitely has the thatched roof appearance, as two different layers are added to the roof to make it unusual. The top layer has either sedge or rush roofing, whereas the bottom layer has the typical reed roofing, one sees with houses in Schleswig-Holstein and neighboring Mecklenburg-Pommerania. This type of construction makes the bridge very unusual for a covered bridge, but it does lead to the question of whether this is the only bridge of ist kind in the region, Germany or even Europe, or if there are similar bridges of ist kind out there. and if so, where.

IMGP7463
Close-up of the thatched roofing: The reed is the bottom layer; the sedge or rush is the top layer.

While the roof has the function of protecting the remaining elements from rotting or molding caused by moisture from rains, the structure itself is no older than 20 years old, for even though there is moss on some of the wooden beams, the bridge and its trusses look relatively new. Therefore, it is estimated that the bridge was built between 1995 and 2005, if not later. It is the question of who built it and why the engineer decided for this unique design.

IMGP7464

If you know more about this bridge, please send the author an e-mail with some information about it. This will be useful for the upcoming book project on the bridges of Schleswig-Holstein. What is just as important (or even more) than this bridge is the following:

How many covered bridges have a thatched roof similar to this one? And where are they located?

 

A discussion Forum has been established on facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram so that you can comment on this. Photos and info for the other bridges would be much appreciated.  🙂   A short history on thatching you can find here. It might give you some ideas on how to roof your home. 😉

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