What’s in a name? Somewhere in New York City, a new set of twin bridges will be named after New York Governor Mario Cuomo for his years of service in the Big Apple, the state and in the Republican Party. It would be the 12th bridge in the metropolitan area to have been named after a famous person, including the two well-known American politicians. Despite leaving their marks on their legacies, what in a name?
What’s in a name? In states, like Oklahoma, bridges have been named for politicians who wanted to be famous during their time in office, but whose political careers were marred by scandal. They include the likes of Henry Simpson Johnston, Frank Lynch and Raymond Gary- the first was impeached and thrown out after two years as governor; the second took kickbacks while representative and the other “bought organs for the churches and pianos for the bawds,” as the secretary used in her title of the biography, bashing the male half of the husband-wife team. What’s in a name?
What’s in a name? Somewhere in the United States, bridges are being conceived and names are being brought up after current members of Congress and the White House. Whether it is a suspension bridge spanning the Minnesota River east of Granite Falls- making it the longest in the world- named after Paul Ryan, a piece of slab bridge over the Ohio River in Cincinnati named after Mitch McConnell, A concrete deck cantilever bridge with a marble statue named after Donald Trump in Washington, and even a series of cable-stayed bridges with a mermaid statue resembling Ms. Conway. These people are famous for undoing the legacy of President Obama that had benefitted much of the American population, almost all of whom think these people deserve to get the boot earliest after the Congressional Elections next year, which if Democrats retake Congress by the widest of margins, impeachment, and call for new presidential elections will definitely be on the table. What’s in a name?
What’s in a name? In Pittsburgh, three sister bridges, each built in the late 1920s, each having a similar design, are named after three local but national favorites: Rachel Carson, Andy Warhol and Roberto Clemente, each setting their marks in the areas of environment, arts and sports respectively; each one has posters, statues and other decorations served in honor and memory. Each one we remember in our history books. What’s in a name?
What’s in a name? Many bridges are named after famous people, yet 75% really were not that famous, unless you are thinking of “dollar and sense.” If we look at each sign on the structure, we sometimes have to ask the following questions: 1. Who were these people? 2. How did they leave their mark in history? 3. Was their legacy beneficial or a hindrance? If we look at the bridges that were named after unknown politicians, many of us don’t even know who they really were, let alone don’t want to even know about them because of corruption, scandals and other policies that harmed the American public and our allies. Is our history becoming based on how politicians perform “on stage” on Capitol Hill? Let alone in our state legislature? If so, then may the most attractive jobs in America be a politician, for like lawyers (many, not all of them), they love to lie, deceive, gaslight and even rob the common person, regardless of social, ethical, religious and psychological backgrounds. If we want that, then we might as well have bridges named after Hollywood film stars who have done the stuff politicians have done, for it would have the exact same effect.
When I think of America, I think of the people who really did make a difference in terms of transforming the country to what it is today. I think of Giovanni de Verrazano who discovered New York, and whose bridge, Othmar H. Ammann’s last prized landmark before his death in 1965, was named after him. That bridge is still connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn. I think of Daniel Boone, who opened the new frontier for settlers. There had been a bridge named for him before it was imploded in place of a new bland concrete slab bridge in 2016. I think of George Washington, who led the colonies to victory, presided over the Constitution and was our first president. While there were several bridges named after him, many are being wiped off the map. The same applies to other structures named after the founding fathers. And while we have several structures named in honor and memory of the veterans who fought in the wars, the aesthetic value is really bland in taste and the artistic value has really gotten lost in the pile of steel and concrete.
Have we lost our true value of our culture, our history and even our identity? Have we given up too much of our freedom and creative talents to make the best for others, while giving the narccists who have done nothing good the honors they don’t deserve? Have we forgotten the concept of being honored for our own merits? When I look at the bridges named after Rachel Carson, Roberto Clemente and Andy Warhol in Pittsburgh, I see the reason behind them getting their honors, for they contributed to shaping American society to what is still is today. Even having bridges named in honor of Stan (the Man) Musial and James Eads in St. Louis are justified, for the former left his mark in baseball and the latter for creating the first steel bridge in America. Have we seen politicians contribute as these people have done? The answer to that question is, in my humble opinion is no, with only a few exceptions. It’s really time to take a look at how we honor our people. Do we honor them because of money and power or because they carry a certain title? Or do we honor them for their merits and contributions to American society?
Each of us has our set of guidelines. Mine would be on the basis of creating and innovating things that have contributed to America in terms of science and technology, history, culture and society. I hope you all have the same ideas as I do, if we really want to move forward as an entity that should be setting examples for other countries.
And while my ( not yet honored) candidates would make up a quarter of the country’s population, I have my top five who deserve to have their bridges named after them, and I hope the designs will be more appealing than just having green road signs at each entrance. My top five would be: Barack Obama, Red Cloud, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs and Othmar H. Ammann. Honorably mentioned would include Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Sally Ride, Vince Lombardi, Carrie Fisher, Sinclair Lewis, Garrison Keillor, Charlie Wilson, George HW Bush, Harper Lee and Massasoit, just to name a few. We need a few crossings but not necessarily new bridges. We just need to be sensible as to naming the next bridges after famous people.
And so, for the Fourth of July, I must ask you: Who would deserve to be honored on a bridge and/or other places? Think very carefully before deciding…..
The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and sister column The Flensburg Files would like to wish all Americans at home and abroad a Happy Fourth of July. Think of the people who made a difference for this country and how it set an example for others.
God bless you!
Wolkenburg (Saxony)/ Limbach-Oberfrohna/ Glauchau- The last of the three bridges profiled here that is debuting along the Zwickauer Mulde is the Wolkenburg Suspension Bridge. Before going further with this bridge, we need to clarify what this bridge looks like as well as its aesthetic value. The current structure, open since May Day this year is actually a cable-stayed suspension bridge, a bridge type where suspenders actually support the roadway from the tower. When looking at them from an American’s point of view, cable-stayed bridges are bland in appearance, ranking them up there with concrete slab/girder bridges that represent a sour taste to the land-/ or even cityscape. This can be best exemplified with two bridges that come to mind: The Fort Steuben and the Russell-Ironton Bridges. Both of them spanned the Ohio River; both of them have the characteristic A-frame tower, whose cables support the roadway; both of them replaced historic bridges that had a lot of characteristic and aesthetic appeal but were neglected by the department of transportation in a successful bid to have them replaced. Both of them have been demolished, leaving nothing but documentation on websites owned by James Baughn and Nathan Holth, respectively. Both bridges are prone to having problems in the short-term involving the cables and the roadway because, like other modern bridge types, there is too much (heavy) traffic using it. We’re even seeing it with a pair of bridges in Germany, which will be mentioned later on.
But while these cable-stayed bridges are being looked down upon like the other concrete spans in America, pursued by Donald Trump and Elaine Chao with some statues of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and a new quasi-national flag of the US (sorry, I have to be sarcastic with this analogy), cable-stayed bridges in Europe, from an outsider’s point of view, can be viewed as a treat, especially for pedestrians and cyclists using them while on the bike trail. One in three cities in Germany has at least one of this type. And while there are some standard examples that exist, most of the cable-stayed bridges we find here are designed in such an unusual way, that they are screaming for people to stop by to pay homage; whether it is because of tilted towers, curved or even rounded roadways, ….
or in the case of this bridge, a single tower that is leaning outwards towards the river bank, whose primary cables- all draped over a pointed tower- are supporting the deck. The deck itself has a pony girder approach span with a Warren pony truss main span that crosses the Zwickauer Mulde.
The bridge replaced a century-old structure that consisted of a wire suspension bridge, going by the textbook guidelines that were created by another German engineer, John Roebling. Roebling’s concept was strands of thick wire that were spun together to create the main cables that were anchored between the towers and the ground anchors on shore. The best examples of his design were the Cincinnati-Covington Bridge (1869) and the Brooklyn Bridge (1883, though he died during its construction). The original Wolkenburg Bridge featured heavy cables combined with vertical suspenders that supported the narrow walkway. The walkway itself was fenced with heavy wire but not trussed like one will see in many suspension bridges today, such as the Golden Gate Bridge or the suspension bridges in New York designed by Othmar H. Ammann.
Flooding in 2013 caused extensive damage to the bridge’s roadway and cables to a point where officials in Limbach-Oberfrohna, where Wolkenburg is part of the conglomerate, as well as local officials decided to demolish the bridge, including the tower, which was arched and made of concrete. It took more than three years, combined with lots of money and politicking before the conglomerate let the contract to the firm of Iroplan, based in Chemnitz, and its architect, Klaus Lenz, to build a new bridge at the site of the old one.
Construction started in 2016 with the leaning tower and foundations. The roadway was assembled offsite, featuring sliding and welding connections, judging by the author’s observations during his visit. The roadway was lifted into place by crane in November that year, and after attaching the cables between the tower and the roadway, the bridge was completed. What was not completed at the time of the visit in March were the roadway leading to the bridge, the dike to keep the water in the river, and painting the bridge. The bridge was still grey and silver. The cost for constructing the 80 meter long and two meter wide cable-stayed bridge was 1.2 million Euros.
After many delays and headaches, people have their bridge back. At the May Day opening, where many people participated, mayor Jesko Vogel led the opening with a bang, as cannons were fired and a historic theater group from Glauchau were on hand for some entertainment. Refreshments were provided by the fire department. While the suspension bridge will forever be in the memories of many who live in Wolkenburg, this bridge reopens a connection between Eichenwald Forest and the mill area, both are northeast of the historic city center. The bridge will be a new icon for Wolkenburg, providing a picturesque view from the historic city center and its churches and castle on the hill. And contrary to common belief regarding cable-stayed bridges, the Wolkenburg Suspension Bridge serves as an example of a bridge of this kind that, if designed with a good aesthetic taste, can be used for any form of traffic,
even if this bridge is open for pedestrians and fishermen only. 😉
BEST KEPT SECRET TOUR GUIDE:
The Bridges of Boone County, Iowa– Minus the now removed Wagon Wheel Bridge, this county is rich with history involving its bridges, one of which involved a hero who averted a potential disaster in Kate Shelley.
The Crossings along the Chesapeake-Ohio Canal– Built in 1828, the canal system serves four states and provides water to Washington. It also features some of the oldest arch bridges in the country, some of which have been restored since 2005.
The Arch Bridges of Cowley County, Kansas– Until this year, 17 arch bridges served the county, most of which were built between 1890 and 1920 and made of stone. One of the bridges succumbed to flooding this spring.
The Bridges of Cincinnati/ Covington– Several bridges, big and small, old and young can be found in this metropolis, including John Roebling’s suspension bridge built in 1869, one year before his death on the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Bridges of Washington County, Maryland– 22 historic stone arch structures span Conococheague Creek and Antietam Creek, and its tributaries, including Wilson’s Bridge, a 210-foot long bridge built in 1819. Most of the structures are almost 200-years old.
Glauchau (Saxony)– Several arch bridges span the Mulde as well as on the hill leading to the castles. As a bonus, a covered bridge and an iron bridge can be found here.
Zwickau (Saxony) – It is extremely rare for a town to have a 500-year old covered bridge with a very unusual design, a cantilever pony truss bridge and an unusual through truss bridge in a community, but Zwickau has that and more.
The Canal Bridges of Brugges (Belgium)– several stone arch bridges span the canals serving this historic community.
Calgary, Alberta– Two dozen bridges, modern and historic serve this Canadian community including those on the city’s historic registry.
The River Tyne- Flowing through Newcastle and Gateshead, this river features 22 improtant bridges as it flows into the North Sea from the eastern UK.
The Bridges of Newark on Trent– Like Glauchau, Newark has 27,000 inhabitants and a wide-array of well-known bridges- ten of them.
The Bridges of Dublin, Ireland– Many bridges from different periods of time can be found here. This includes a pair of cable-stayed bridges, three arch bridges and a couple truss bridges.
BEST KEPT SECRET INDIVIDUAL:
Coalbrook Lake Bridge in Connecticut (was inundated until the drought)
BRIDGE OF THE YEAR:
For instructions in English, please go to the areavoices version of the Chronicles (click here). Für die in der deutschen Sprache, bitte zum Blog The Flensburg Files gehen (clicken Sie here).
BEST EXAMPLE OF A RESTORED HISTORIC BRIDGE:
Information on these bridges are available via links:
Long Meadow Bridge (MN): http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2016/10/28/long-meadow-bridge-open-to-bike-traffic/
Green Bridge in Des Moines (IA): https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.1826891580920201&type=3
Houck Iron Bridge in Putnam Co. (IA): https://blog.jimgrey.net/2014/09/26/restored-and-repurposed-the-houck-iron-bridge/
Fort Morgan Rainbow Bridge (CO): http://www.fortmorgantimes.com/fort-morgan-local-news/ci_30393446/city-earns-award-rainbow-bridge-rehab-project
Wagon Bridge in Hemphill Co. (TX): http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/08/prweb13632078.htm
Bird Island Bridge in Chicago: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-division-street-bridge-st-0807-20160805-story.html
Molly’s and Rogers Landings US 66 Bridges (OK): http://www.route66news.com/2011/10/12/mollys-landing-saves-part-of-old-route-66-bridge/
Harahan Bridge in Memphis (TN): http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2016/09/27/video-tour-the-mississippis-new-big-river-crossing.html
Beaverkill Covered Bridge in Sullivan Co. (NY): http://cdn.equipmentworld.com/painstaking-restoration-of-historic-covered-bridge-in-the-catskills-nears-completion/
Wolf Road Bridge near Cleveland (OH): http://bridgehunter.com/oh/cuyahoga/bh49083/
Hamilton Co. Park Bridge (IN): http://cdn.equipmentworld.com/indiana-festival-celebrates-three-historic-bridges-joined-together-to-form-one/
Maple and Lafayette Bridges in Fayetteville, AK: https://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2016/12/05/city-to-celebrate-re-opening-of-historic-maple-and-lafayette-bridges/
Dodd Ford Bridge near Mankato, MN: http://mankatotimes.com/2016/06/30/ribbon-cutting-for-historic-dodd-ford-bridge-set-for-july-5th/
Eau Claire Railroad Viaduct (WI): http://bridgehunter.com/wi/eau-claire/bh36335/
BACH STEEL: Nels Raynor, Derek Pung, Lee Pung, Andy Hufnagle, Brock Raynor and Nathan Holth- Several Bridges saved through in-kind restoration (restoring to its original form, including Farm Lane, Paper Mill and Martin Road, as well as their newest project: Springfield Bowstring Arch.
Christopher Marston: Chris has been working for Historic American Engineer’s Record for almost 30 years, documenting and collaborating successfully to preserve many historic bridges. Interview here: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2016/10/06/an-interview-with-christopher-marston-of-habs-haer/
Nick Schmiedeler: It unknown how many years he has been a pontist, but Nick has found more abandoned “Elvis” bridges than a typical pontist in his/her lifetime. Record of his findings here: http://bridgehunter.com/profile/Nick_Schmiedeler
Royce and Bobette Haley: Known as Bridge Road Warriors, this couple has found and photographed more bridges in a span of two years than anyone in his/her lifetime. More on their work here: http://bridgehunter.com/profile/roycehaleyIII
John Marvig: Before 2010, no one really dared to photograph railroad bridges, that is until John arrived. Since then, 10 states and thousands of bridges profiled and photographed as can be seen here: http://johnmarvigbridges.org/
Kaitlin O’shea: For over a decade, she has been running the website Preservation in Pink, providing some interesting educational aspects to historic preservation, including bridges. And this over a good coffee and company with the flamingo: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2016/12/02/interview-with-kaitlin-oshea-preservation-in-pink/
Ian Heigh: For many years, this engineer has been responsible for maintaining the Scottish National Railway and especially the longest bridges in the country: Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay. More here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_vZjvTuSJw
Before voting, check out the information on the bridges being voted by clicking here. If any problems, please type in Mystery Bridge. The following candidates are numbered from 62 to 76. Two votes for the US and two for the international versions are allotted here.
After tallying and categorizing all the entries, in some categories the highest number on record, the voting process for this year’s Othmar H. Ammann Awards is currently underway. Between now and 6th January, you have an opportunity to select your favorite candidates in five categories: Best Photo, Lifetime Achievement, Best Kept Secret Tour Guide and Individual Bridge, Mystery Bridge, Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge, and Bridge of the Year. Because of a record high number of entries in all but two categories, for the first time this year there will be an unlimited number of voting allowed for each of the categories with the exception of Mystery Bridges. There, you are allowed four votes- two for the US and two for the International Scene (Int.). That means for all ofthe categories except what was just mentioned, you can vote for as many bridges and people as you want at any time. It will encourage you to have a look at the bridges more carefully, esp. with the pictures, before you decide which bridges deserve your vote.
To vote, please go to the wordpress version of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles. There you will have the ballot, which is divided up into Parts I & II. Part I has the categories of Best Photo (a gallery is enclosed), Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge, Lifetime Achievement and Mystery Bridge. In Part II, we have Best Kept Secret Tour Guide, Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge (both divided into US and International) and lastly, Bridge of the Year. Both Links are below.
Bridges nominated but not on the list will be mentioned in the Author’s Choice Awards, which will be announced on January 6th, the same day as the last day of voting. They will most likely be candidates for the 2017 Awards as well. Winners will be announced on January 11th. As there are many entries from Germany, the announcement of voting in German can be found via sister column The Flensburg Files (click here for access)
If any questions of should some issues arise, please contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles at email@example.com.
Good luck and let the voting commence.
As we close in on the end of the year, we find that the number eleven is the magical number. Eleven is a tribute to the people who have made a difference, big or small, but whose lives were cut short because of tragedy. Eleven is the number which has been popping up recently because of three events that have hit home:
- It marks an end of 27 years of sorrow and worries as an 11-year old boy has come home to rest. Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped on 22 October, 1989 while returning home on a rural road near St. Joesph, Minnesota. His remains were found on 1 September, 2016, by a man who later admitted that he had kidnapped and murdered him. While he is currently behind bars awaiting sentencing, millions of people have cried, stopped by the site of the murder to lay flowers and have even done tributes for the boy, whose dreams of being an athlete were shattered one cold fall night. Jacob’s mother Patty addressed a crowd of people asking what can be done for the family (which you can read here) Even a poem in his memory can be found on sister column The Flensburg Files for you to read here.
- It marks the 15th anniversary of another tragedy but with larger proportions as two planes, on the morning of 11 September, 2001, crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, another into the Pentagon in Washington and another in Pennsylvania despite being enroute to the White House. This event has changed the world in many aspects, yet we still don’t understand how this could happen.
- It symbolizes the ongoing Spring Revolution in the Middle East and northern Africa, which happened five years ago in seven countries, including the conflicting country of Syria.
In honor of those, whose lives were unnecessarily cut short and whose dreams of becoming a professional in their field of interest were shattered, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles will be wearing a special avatar between now and the end of the 2016 Othmar Ammann Awards on its areavoices website and in some posts in the wordpress website. This is an important way of showing solidarity with the families and friends of those whose lives ended too early. You will find the logo here, and it will be used in all articles to come:
It’s an arch bridge at sunrise, crossing a large body of water, showing solidarity between parties, and bring peace and prosperity to all. Jacob’s name symbolizes every child’s dream and hope for a better life, which can only happen if we as parents, teachers, historians and the like can help them make it happen.
Othmar H. Ammann Awards underway earlier than expected.
Furthermore, entries are being taken earlier than expected for this year’s Othmar H. Ammann Awards, the awards where we take pride in the areas historic and unique bridges in the USA, Europe and elsewhere. The reason behind this is twofold:
- This year is the fifth anniversary of the Ammann Awards. To commemorate the event, the Chronicles’ Hall of Fame will be established, which will feature the top six finishers of each category, plus the inductees from the Lifetime Legacy. Therefore, there will be two rounds of voting for this year’s awards: The first round will be for the 2016 Awards, while the second round will feature the voting of all the winners and runners-up in each of the categories dating back to 2011, with the top six overall being inducted. The Hall of Fame page will appear in the Chronicles’ wordpress page.
- In light of the recent tragedy in Minnesota, but also in connection with the 50th anniversary of the National Register of Historic Places and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, starting the contest early will help families take their children on photo tours of several historic bridges in the US to show them the importance of bridges in the development of the US infrastructure. As Europe has some gorgeous historic bridges that are two centuries old in many places, people there can share their experiences in preserving them with their American counterparts. So taking a parent’s advice, take your kids out and show them how bridges shaped your countries, spend some time with them taking pictures and writing essays about your favorite bridge(s), and send them to Jason Smith at the Chronicles at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries in other languages are welcomed.
More information on how to enter the 2016 Ammann Awards in the categories of best photo, bridge of the year, lifetime achievement, tour guide of the bridges in the region, and best kept secret can be found here. Deadline for all entries is 1 December 2016 with voting to follow. The winners will be announced on 11 January, 2017 for both the annual awards as well as the Hall of Fame.
Please note, the contest is open for everyone both in the US as well as Europe and elsewhere.
A series on the National Register of Historic Places and the role of historic bridges is in the works which includes interviews and other comments. They will be posted in both wordpress and areavoices versions. In addition, the author has several bridge tours in eastern Germany, which will be added in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more from the Chronicles.