Memorial Bridge Photo Tour for James Baughn


2021 is a year where we continue to pay homage to a great pontist. Aside from what we have been doing for this year, with the Pic of the Week Tribute, memorial service that took place this past Sunday, and (in-person) memorial bridgehunting tours that are in the works, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is doing a Memorial Bridge Photo Tribute during the months of August and September and therefore we need your help:

Because of Covid-19 and the difficulties of coming together for an event paying tribute, we’re doing an Online Photo Tour where photos of your favorite bridges are showcased on the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles‘ facebook group page and open page. The objective is simple:

  1. You should choose five bridges you wish to visit that have a high degree of historic and technological significance- ones that you wish to showcase to the historic bridge and preservation communities.
  2. Visit and photograph the five bridges. How you photograph them depends on your preference. As a tip: Artwork and technology go together like bread and butter.
  3. Choose one photo from each bridge you visited and lastly,
  4. Post the bridges on the Chronicles‘ facebook pages. Please include your name, the date you photographed it, the name of the bridge and where the structure is located.

The memorial bridge tour is open to everyone (both in the USA as well as in other countries), including those who have subscribed to the Chronicles. Those who have not join the Chronicles but want to participate should click on the links below and then subscribe. There are no costs involved.

BHC Group Page: here

BHC Open Page: here

The photo showcase will start in August and continue through September. The goal is to honor Mr. Baughn in a fashion similar to the Salute to Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, as you can see below.

James Baughn left a legacy in the field of historic bridges and preservation by creating the largest database in He was also active in the preservation efforts with many historic bridges and other events. While we all cannot come together due to uncertainties, we can honor him from near and far. All we need to do is get the camera out, target your bridges and start shooting.

Let’s make this tribute look like the fireworks display. After all, we have him to thank for all that he did.

Note: Information on further events honoring James Baughn will come once they are finalized. Stay tuned for the details…….


Two changes to Facebook Pages


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Two pages changed to honor the (historic) bridges of Saxony (Germany) and Iowa.

GLAUCHAU (SAXONY), GERMANY- Two facebook webpage have been changed and henceforth will honor areas that are highly populated with historic bridges- and with that, their history, heritage and ways to keep them from becoming a memory.


The Bridges of Saxony (Die Brücken Sachsens)

The original page Friends of the Rechenhausbrücke (Bockau Arch Bridge) was changed to The Bridges of Saxony. The webpage was originally created in 2018 and was used as a platform to campaign for preserving the 150-year old structure that used to span the Zwickau Mulde River near the village of Bockau, located six kilometers southwest of Aue and 10 km south of Schneeberg in the Ore Mountains. Despite all the efforts, the bridge was torn down last year after a new span was built on a new alignment. More details can be found here. 


Since then, the page was gradually modified to include, first the bridges in the western Ore Mountain region and lastly the whole of Saxony. Saxony has one of the highest number of historic bridges that exist in Germany. Many of them survived two World Wars and the Cold War all intact. Some of them are still scheduled to be either rehabilitated or replaced.

To access the facebook page and like to follow, click  here.

The Historic Bridges of Iowa:

Another webpage that has been changed recently is the one for saving the Green Bridge at Jackson Street and Fifth Avenue in Des Moines. Like its Saxon predecessor, the original page was a campaign platform for saving the 1898 three-span structure built by George E. King, but whose future was in doubt due to structural concerns. Unlike its predecessor though, the bridge was saved thanks to a wide array of campaigns and fund-raisers. The bridge was restored and reopened in 2017.


Afterwards, a survey was carried out on what to do with the page. There, 70% of the respondants favored converting the page into one honoring the historic bridges in Iowa. Iowa is in the top five in terms of the highest number of bridges ages 70 and older in the US. Many of them have been preserved while others have been closed down and their futures are in doubt, like the Cascade Bridge in Burlington.  Some have already been demolished despite historical status, like it happened with the Wagon Wheel Bridge   in 2016. Since yesterday, the name was changed. The facebook page is now called The Historic Bridges of Iowa and it can be accessed here.

Both pages have the same mission:

1. It will be used to share photos, stories and histories of bridges in their respective areas. People wishing to post them are more than welcome to do so.

2. News articles, aside from what comes from BHC, on historic bridges are also welcome.

3. If people have books on certain bridges in the Iowa or Saxony that they wish to present on the platform, they can do so.

4. It will also be a platform for exchanging ideas involving preserving historic bridges in Iowa and Saxony. This includes any initiatives from groups that are fighting to keep their bridge instead of being demolished.

Given the political situation facing Germany/Europe and the US, no political commentaries are allowed on the respective pages. They are solely used for talking about bridges.

Like to follow on both the pages and enjoy the bridge photos, stories and the like that you will see when visiting the pages. 🙂

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Contributors Wanted for the Chronicles and its Social Media Pages


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Elimination of Internet Neutrality and Introduction of European Privacy Guidelines plus American counter-guidelines hampering news coverage of the Chronicles and other historic bridges sites.  Volunteer Contributors Wanted.

SCHNEEBERG (SAXONY), GERMANY- Since the Facebook scandal and the Trump administration’s campaign to eliminate internet neutrality to benefit the select few, regulations and counter-regulations on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are making things very difficult to access any type of news coverage, be it TV, newspaper or the internet. Since 25th of May, new guidelines from the European Union have been in effect, which require all companies to inform readers of their rights to access the sites, which includes granting them rights to use only their personal data that is apropriate to their websites only and not giving them away to third parties without their consent. As a counter-measure, many news agencies in the United States have raised their guard on the rights to access their news from overseas. While some, like USA Today have provided the “lite” version with only the essential information, others have blocked access altogether. That means, readers from Europe who access information on news in their area of interest have been seeing this on their screen when trying to access their website:


Imagine an American expatriate from Hamburg trying to access news from his/her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa and cannot because of this. Believe it or not, Des Moines is one of many examples of cities and regions throughout the country implementing these counter-measures, as a “Red Alert! Shields Up! The Klingons are coming!” paranoia.

Given this situation, how does this affect the way the Chronicles does news coverage, especially with regards to social media?  It has a huge, negative impact indeed.

Since 2010 with facebook and 2013 with Twitter, the Chronicles has been providing news coverage on historic bridges on social media to provide readers with an opportunity to read up on them and if the chance arises, take action. This includes posting news articles on the social media sites, which have garnered followers by an average of 20% yearly for both sites. Almost 1000 followers are on the facebook website and group pages and 110 for twitter. The trend is skyrocketing as the Chronicles has been back in action lately after a brief absence to reorganize its wordpress site due to the shutdown of its areavoices website last May, and if it continues to pick up more support, it is possible to break the 1500 mark for facebook and 150 for twitter, respectively, by the end of the year.

Sadly though, the progress to make the Chronicles a key news source for historic bridges in the US, Europe and elsewhere has been hampered greatly by the limited access to American media because of these unnecessary restrictions, for attempts to even forward the posts to the social media pages from its headquarters in Germany have in many cases been denied.  While it is bad enough for readers outside the United States to not have any more access to the news media outlets, it is worse if the possibilities to even post them on twitter are no longer valid.  The new regulations fall into the same category as Google’s plan to introduce pricing schemes for their maps and streetviews, which has caused the Chronicles’ Missouri-based colleague to remove all of its streetviews and consider replacing the maps with those from other, less-known map-making websites- as being complicated, an example of greedy, short-sightedness that will eventually fail miserably in the end.

While the Chronicles’ itself is not affected by all of the guidelines, as it runs a wordpress platform that operates universally, the twitter and facebook sites will see either fewer posts because of limited access to American media outlets or if they are posted, some of the viewers (especially outside the United States, including Canada, the EU, Mexico, Russia, Australia and Japan) will not be able to see them. And this is where your help is needed.



We need bridgehunters, historians, enthusiasts and locals to come together and help feed and water the two plants that are growing and bearing fruit. If you see any articles pertaining to historic bridges, bridge rehabilitation, bridge replacement or any events involving a historic bridge in the United States and its affiliated islands, please use the following social media websites to post them, followed by a brief summary in 1-2 sentences about the article if possible:

BHC on Facebook

BHC on Twitter (FLBHAVSmith)

You are encouraged to like and follow the Chronicles if you want to keep up to date on the latest coverage of historic bridges in the US, Europe, Asia and other places in the world. By reaching the aforementioned goals and even beyond, we are providing a statement that media is for all and for free- not for the select few who are disinterested to begin with.

Note that the Chronicles has an Instagram app and is not affected by these restrictions. You can access (and follow) this page by clicking here.

If you know of a historic bridge that deserves attention because of a news event, you are encouraged to write a guest column and include 1-2 pictures to be sent to the author of the Chronicles, Jason Smith, at: It will be posted in the Chronicles with your famed credit which will look good on your résumé if you wish to proceed in a career in media, history, etc.

This request is only for the US bridges as the regulations affect news coverage of many media outlets. The Canadian, European and other international outlets are not affected and coverage will be provided by its office here in Schneeberg.

The situation is awkward and disappointing, but it does not mean the show is over. The show must go on and it will go on, stronger than ever, because of people like you who love historic bridges. Therefore we will proceed as planned and the Chronicles thanks you with an open heart, mind and soul for your support. It is much appreciated. 🙂




Saving the Bockau Arch Bridge: Day 2- Facebook


Looks can be deceiving in this picture above. Taken last week right before the Arctic/ Siberian cold spell that dropped temperatures to as far down as -40° C and buried cities, like Flensburg in one foot of snow, one can see the bridge that is still in tact, yet its northern approach to the arch spans is gone. Demolition has not taken place for it has been stayed pending on a hearing between the group saving the bridge and political representatives of the Ore Mountain district (Erzgebirge) and the German state of Saxony. Three days after posting the first entry, the German version of the online petition was accepted by authorities in Dresden (the state capital) and Aue (the district seat), and we received an invitation to a hearing on this unique structure. But for right now, the old approach is needed for the new approach to the span being built directly to the east of the new span. The foundations for the pylon are already supplanted in the Zwickau Mulde, and it will be a matter of time before work can commence on building this important piece that will eventually hold the structure. The new span is to be a two-span concrete beam bridge, whose aesthetic value is really compared to a typical American slab span, as seen in one example here.  In other words, engineers could have done a better job in designing a bridge that best fits the mountain landscape, which the builders of the Stone Arch Bridge achieved hands down- and within a course of a year on top of that. 🙂


But going to the current theme in the entry:  Social networking has played a key role in addressing the issues of concern while attracting scores of people to help in their causes. Since around 2011, many organizations involved in preserving historic bridges have used social networking- such as facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn to attract people from faraway places, many of them with the tools and technology needed to save the structures and repurpose them for recreational use. My first involvement came with the Riverside Bridge in Missouri, where Kris Dyer led in the efforts to attract hundreds of people who were willing to chip money, time and efforts into saving the two-span truss bridge that was a product of the Canton Bridge Company and built in 1909. Myself and a friend of mine from Pittsburgh helped organize the Historic Bridge Weekend Conference using that bridge and another one at Times Beach near St. Louis as centerpieces for bridge preservation that were needed during that time.  Riverside Bridge was restored and reopened two years later, while a campaign to repurpose the other bridge is well underway with plans to have the bridge open by 2025.

The social network idea led to my creation of one myself for a committee to save the Green Bridge in Des Moines. The three-span through truss bridge, built by George E. King in 1898, was restored in 2017 but it took three years plus over 1400 fans,  who contributed photos, stories and ideas on how to save the structure. The bridge in the end needed new decking and steel floor beams, new painting and lighting and repairs to the decking.

Save the Bockau Arch Bridge:

This led to the idea of building a social network site for the Bockau Arch Bridge (in German: Rechenhausbrücke Aue). The purpose of the website is to share some stories, photos and other facts about the bridge and its Headwaters Tender House and Dam (Rechenhaus), which is now a restaurant, plus provide some updates on the project to save and restore the stone arch bridge, even after the new bridge is open to traffic next year.  Basically, to find out how successful the facebook site is, the one question you should ask yourself is can you attract enough likes to make a statement? Even more likes than in a petition? Unlike going door-to-door collecting petitions from neighbors, friends, family members and teachers, a social network, sometimes combined with an online petition, will attract more people from all aspects of the world. And who knows? There may be enough people out there who just might be that savior with some particular power to save the bridge- a politician, preservationist, financial provider, etc.

And therefore, the committee needs your help. Go to the website by clicking on the link below:

Like the site and feel free to help out in saving this bridge. The goal of the page is to get 2000 likes before Easter, plus just as many more (at least) before the end of the year. The ultimate goal is to send a message to Aue, Dresden, Berlin and beyond that we care about this bridge and we want to keep the structure, no matter what costs will incur in doing that, and no matter what events we can put together to raise money to make it happen.  An English-speaking online petition is in the works and will be added very soon.

So can you join in the page and like us to follow? We hope so. 🙂

In the next entry, we’ll have a look at the history of the Rechenhaus located next to the bridge. A very unique one indeed. 🙂  Stay tuned!

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The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles Now a Website!

Bettendorf Twin Suspension Bridges spanning the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities. Specifically, between Moline and Bettendorf. Photo taken in Dec. 2014
Bettendorf Twin Suspension Bridges spanning the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities. Specifically, between Moline and Bettendorf. Photo taken in Dec. 2014

Confessions of a writer: Sometimes being away from something you do helps you think of something bigger and better. The past couple months have witnessed not many postings direct from the Chronicles, and for a good reason- the online column is growing up. Once considered a blog that has attracted many readers on facebook, twitter and through direct subscriptions, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles now has its own website, powered by WordPress.


Disregarding the new photos on the website, including the pages, the format of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles remains the same as it focuses on historic bridges, ways to preserve them and places to visit where they are plentiful in number. There are a couple differences that are key to telling the new website apart from the blog.


  1. The website version will focus more in detail on some of the larger aspects of historic bridges. This includes articles pertaining to historic bridge preservation practices, tour guides of regions with a high number of historic bridges, information on bridge preservation projects, interviews with experts, etc.


Some of the tour guides produced in the blog version will be reproduced in the website version thanks to the newest feature: Google Maps, which will help you find the historic bridge much              easier than using an ordinary map, let alone taking some guesses as to where they are located.


Since it also has a polling feature, the website version will utilize this for questions for the forum, as well as for the upcoming 2015 Ammann Awards. This way, people can easily be directed              to  the polls from the article.


  1. The blog version will remain as is, except its role will focus mainly on Newsflyers, updates on historic bridge projects, tributes to historic bridge greats, questions for the forum that do NOT require the use of the polls, announcements of special events pertaining to historic bridges, photography, conferences, etc., and anything of importance that only requires up to a page to write. For articles to be posted in the website, an abstract of them will be featured with a link directing you to the article on the website.


So in short, if you want to know which of the two Bridgehunter’s Chronicles types you should subscribe to, the answer is simple: subscribe to BOTH versions to get the best coverage. However, all articles from the two versions will continue to be posted in the Chronicles’ facebook pages as well as twitter. To play it safe and follow the updates of bridges from various sources posted, subscribe to the Chronicles on both facebook and twitter.  A third social network page, like tumblr or Reddit for example is being considered, and once that is launched, you will be informed here on the Chronicles.

Even though the Chronicles has eliminated the Guest Writer page for the website and will do so for the blog version as some clean-up will be needed, we are still looking for featured writers to submit articles on historic bridges and other themes associated with them. If you have an article you wish to have posted for the readers to see, please contact Jason D. Smith at the Chronicles at:, or use the contact form in the About the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles page. You can also post the inquiry on the Chroncles’ facebook pages.

Last note before going to a rather bitter sweet story involving one particular historic bridge, the Chronicles’ facebook page features two different pages: the main page and the group page. The group page will remain as is, providing information on historic bridges in the US with a platform where you can provide questions for others to discuss. If you want to join, please ask the administrator, and you will be welcomed with open arms.  The main page is where you can read up on all the articles on historic bridges from the Chronicles as well as other online sources. There you can Like to follow for more coverage. The goal is to reach 500 Likes by the end of this year. Given the number accrued so far, that goal is realistic, esp. if word goes around from readers like you.

The Chronicles welcomes any comments and suggestions pertaining to the website. If you would like to see some changes, please let the author know.

Now without further ado, let’s go to a story about one bridge that had been closed for many years, but now has a happy ending. Hint, this bridge was the first written for the blog version, when it was launched five years ago. Any guesses of what the name of this bridge is, let alone where it is located?

Let’s find out, shall we?  🙂


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Fifth Street Pedestrian Bridge now on facebook

Side view of the Jackson Street Bridge.

The struggle to save an important landmark of the City of Des Moines has begun! As recently as this past Tuesday, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, in conjunction with Lost Des Moines has launched a facebook site devoted to preserving the Fifth Street Bridge, spanning the Raccoon River connecting Des Moines’ city center with the southern suburbs (more info on the bridge’s history can be found here). The Save the Jackson Street- Fifth Street Pedestrian Bridge facebook page is a platform where people can contribute photos, information and stories on this structure (nicknamed Green Bridge), as well as address pleas to the City of Des Moines, which owns the bridge as part of the bike trail system, to reconsider the recent decision to close the structure permanently and remove it. Right now, we’re collecting the first 1,000 Likes, with the bar being raised after reaching the goal. Once the mark is reached, there will be many measures to bring all parties together and find ways to fix and reopen this important link. A petition drive and informational meetings are two of many ideas that are being considered. Like and follow this page (by clicking here) as updates will be presented as they come.

While most information and updates will be found through the facebook page, the Chronicles will continue to provide stories on historic bridge preservation examples, including looking at ways historic bridges can be restored, being a reference for this bridge as well as others that are in danger of being demolished and replaced. This in addition to the bridge tours and the like.  Like and follow on the Chronicles’ facebook and twitter pages and stay tuned for more stories to come.

Bridgehunter’s Chronicles now LinkedIn flickr

In the last few days, you have probably seen a couple articles being revised and cleaned up and some changes in the way the Chronicles is being presented in itself. It is no secret that the online column is growing both in size (with more articles and photos than ever before) and popularity.  Therefore, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles picked up two more social networks to guarantee easier access to the articles and photos.

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is now available on LinkedIn, a social network that is exclusively made for professionals from a variety of fields, including those who are involved with history, preservation, historic bridges and the like. To join the page, you must have a LinkedIn account, and all you need to do is type in the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles (which can be done either directly or through my profile) and subscribe. You will receive as many articles and questions for the forum as you normally receive either directly or through the other two social networks that is available through the Chronicles, twitter and facebook. However you may be able to pick up some important contacts from people in your field of interest if you are looking to improve your profile and establish ties at the same time. Should you have difficulties in accessing it through LinkedIn, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Also important to note that the Chronicles, along with its sister column the Flensburg Files is now available on flickr. Just type in FlensburgBridgehunter12 and you will be in the photo gallery, where the best photos taken only by yours truly will be posted for viewing. Each article from now on will provide links to the photos that are posted on flickr. They will be shown either underlined in the text or at the end. This will help reduce the amount of clutter which had been clogging up the column since the early part of the summer and resulted in the author doing some housecleaning (eliminating articles deemed invalid and void and either reducing the amount of MB per photo file before uploading or taking them out altogether).

A pair of examples of how this was done was with two articles on Erfurt, Germany’s historic bridges, which you can see here:

This will not affect the photos used by other with permission, as they will remain as is on the Chronicles page. I will still post some pics in the articles in the Chronicles but they will be on there for a limited time before eventually being transferred to the flickr site.  All other previous articles with still current topics will receive the same treatment as the two articles that were revised on Erfurt’s bridges.

This leads to the pop quiz for all the readers out there. I returned from vacation in Schleswig-Holstein (in northern Germany) and found a real beauty for you to guess at. I would like to know from you the following:

1. Where is it located?

2. What bridge type is it?

3. When was it built: a. 1880s    b. 1910s      c. 1950s      d. 1990s      e. 2010

The answer will appear when the articles of the bridges of Schleswig-Holstein are posted in a couple weeks.

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles Rehabilitated!

Mill Creek Park Suspension Bridge in Youngstown, Ohio Photo taken in August 2010

Some changes in the online column to make it appear more attractive to the readers.

In the past couple weeks, some of you have been seeing some road work done to the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and its sister column the Flensburg Files. This includes making some changes to the template as well as the categories featured. I’m now pleased to inform you that the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles has been completely renovated and now more accessible to the reader. Apart from the new images placed on the template (the template was kept because of its simplicity), here are some other changes to make you aware of:
New Categories:  Apart from keeping the bridge profiles, tour guides of areas with large population of bridges, and articles pertaining bridges, preservation, etc. as the main core, the Chronicles will dig deeper into topics on bridge preservation- laws and practice, while at the same time, bring more preservation efforts to the attention of the reader. Furthermore, beginning in June, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles will have book of the month, featuring a book on (historic) bridges which will be reviewed by the author. In some cases, there will be an interview with the author(s).  And there will be a forum open to answer any questions or forward requests for information on bridges for any purpose (project).

Historic Bridge News Expanded: Apart from carrying the news from Historic, one can also view the news articles from James Baughn’s Historic Bridges of the US and Kaitlin O’shea-Healy’s Preservation In Pink, all available on the Pages bar (located at the top of the template. A news room on an international scale is available via Bridgehunter’s Chronicles  (under Jason D. Smith) page on Twitter, which will feature news stories of historic bridges mostly outside North America .

Links to other websites: Apart from Preservation in Pink, Historic  and the Historic Bridges of the US, at least 10 other websites from various countries are available via link in the bottom window to the left below the main window.  This includes (out of Pittsburgh), The International Structure Database (out of Berlin, Germany) which is presented in three languages (EN, German, and French), and, a Danish website focusing on highways and bridges serving Denmark, just to name a few. Furthermore, the education page will be expanded to provide readers with more insight into historic bridges and ways to preserve them. The feature is in the same window but to the right of the recent column and most commented bridge columns.

New e-mail address in case of inquiries, suggestions, guest columns to be submitted, etc.  While it is available under About the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles in the upper bar, you can also click onto the e-mail address here should you need to contact me: This is the e-mail address of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and the Flensburg Files, both part of areavoices.

The Chronicles Live: The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is now live via Facebook, where you can like it to follow all the postings, additional links provided by the author and other members who are following, while at the same time, you can post your inquiries, etc. Before it was a private group under my Facebook profile Jason D. Smith, but after gaining an audience base and some success with regards to informing people on bridges that have been preserved or are targets of preservation efforts, it was time to move a step forward. The private group will remain for awhile but eventually, more articles will enter the new Facebook site.  In addition, you can also follow the Chronicles via Twitter, where postings and other articles will be featured there. To subscribe, please go to subscriptions on the right hand column.  It is also accessible via German social network XING, with possibly more to come.

The main goal of the upgrade is to make the Chronicles more accessible to the public, as it has been making strides since its inception in September 2010. Given the increasing interest in the topic of (historic) bridges, especially from those living in regions where the is a high density in the number of bridges, combined with the interest in knowing more about bridge preservation,   the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ main tasks are to better inform the public of the historic bridges that exist and should be visited, while at the same time bring the focus of historic bridge preservation their attention and involve the public more on bridge preservation projects that exist.  With this upgrade, there will be more people informed about historic bridges in the US, Europe and elsewhere, the places with a high concentration of historic bridges they should visit while touring the area, and efforts they can do to save historic bridges in danger of modernization.

Bridge of Friendship north of Flensburg, Germany at the German-Danish Border. Photo taken in April 2011