2020 Bridgehunter Awards: Something New

Reading Owl

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GLAUCHAU (SAXONY), GERMANY- In connection with the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ 10th anniversary, there will be special events going on throughout the year, taking a look back at the 10 years of informing the public about the importance of historic and unique bridges, as well as helping groups get the word out on preservation projects, and providing news coverage and tours of historic bridges. One of these is with the upcoming Bridgehunter’s Awards, originally known as the Ammann Awards, which will be hosted in its 10th year.

The first and most important aspect is that entries will be accepted between now and December 1st for the Bridgehunter’s Awards. Normally entries are accepted between October and December, with voting to commence during the holiday season until January, when the winners are announced. As this year marks the 10th anniversary of both, the Chronicles will accept entries early to allow people a chance to submit their bridge(s), bridge photos and/or people actively engaged in saving and restoring historic bridges. The Awards is open to all, both in North America as well as internationally (Europe, Asia and beyond) and the winners are given in the categories of Best Bridge Photo, Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge, Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge, Bridge Tour Guide, Mystery Bridge, and Lifetime Achievement. Information on the requirements under each category can be found in the Chronicles’ menu page or you can click here.

Two new categories are being added for this year’s Bridgehunter Awards. The first one is for Best Bridge Genre/Literature. Here, the Award will be given out for any literary work and/or historical book pertaining to bridges. Examples that are acceptable include novels, like The Bridges of Madison County, history and tour guide books, like the book on The Bridges along Route 66. Also acceptable is poetry devoted to bridges. Even one’s own work can be included, although personal reference to the work is required in order to avoid any issues of plagiarism or copyright violations. Some of the works in the running will be profiled prior to the start of voting in December. The first book profiled for this year will come in February of this year.

Another category runs along the same lines as the Tour Guide of Bridges in a City or Region. Also new for the Awards will be the Lost Bridge Tour Guide. In this category, only tour guides of regions where historic bridges had been plentiful before they were replaced but now only a couple to no historic bridges exist. Again, like in the Tour Guide, the candidate will be profiled in the Chronicles before the vote. Photos and small text on each (lost) historic bridge are a must. Existing articles from other sources are acceptable- preferably via wordpress but will accept non-wordpress articles as well.

Please submit all entries for the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards to Jason Smith at the Chronicles, using the contact details below. Get the word out to the (historic) bridges world- the Chronicles turns 10 this year and this year will be a great year. Don’t forget the deadline of December 1st for all entries for the Bridgehunter Awards. Best of luck to all and Happy Bridgehunting until we meet again.

 

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Book of the Month/ Tour Guide: The Bridges of Schwarzenberg (Saxony), Germany

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Author’s Note: For the first time in four years, a literary review is being introduced in the Chronicles. Previously, we had a Book of the Week that had existed from 2013-14, but due to time constraints, it was discontinued. This time we have the Book of the Month, where each bridge piece will be introduced for people to have a look at. You will find this and future pieces on the Chronicles. A page is being created where all the bridge literary pieces will be added, past and present.  So without further ado……

Book of the Month: January 2019

The first ever book of the month takes us to the German state of Saxony, and to the community of Schwarzenberg. Located 10 kilometers east of Aue, deep in the Ore Mountains, the community of 23,300 prides itself on its traditional culture and its history for several historic landmarks are located in the old town, which features a castle and church overlooking the deep valley where the rivers Schwarzwasser and Mittweida meet. The town was one of the key hubs for railroads that met from areas high in the mountains. Today only one line exists from Johanngeorgenstadt to Zwickau, passing through this community. And while the mining industry almost no longer exists, other industries have taken over, thus making the city rather attractive.

While many cities in Saxony, such as Dresden, Leipzig and Plauen have prided themselves on their historic bridges because of popularity, no one has ever thought about the fact that a community, such as Schwarzenberg, would have an interesting set of their own.

Enter the Senior Citizens Club Haus Schlossblick in Schwarzenberg and their prized work, Schwarzenberg’s Bridges. The booklet was released in December 2018, with many copies having been sold during the Christmas markets and beyond. Even though the target language in this 53-page booklet is German, the booklet is laden with pictures of Schwarzenberg’s 44 bridges- both past and present- combined with years of research and photo collections all put together and presented in a form of a tour guide. The photos with the bare essential information is enough for people to read up before finding the bridges, especially as they are listed in the order going downstream for every river mentioned, minus the railroad crossings.

The booklet is different to another bridge booklet written in 2014 on the city of Aue. (For more, please click here to view the tour guide). While current pics of the city’s bridges were included, there was mainly text on the history of each of the bridges in the city of 16,000, located at the confluence between the Zwickau Mulde and the Schwarzwasser, as well as along the Flyover, connecting the city with the Autobahn 72. More pics on the previous structures, plus a better selection of information would have perhaps helped.

Going back to the bridges in Schwarzenberg, there are some interesting facts that are presented in the book, some of which will get the reader to visit them while in Germany. Here are the top five:

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  1. The Steynerne Bridge (pictured above) is the oldest bridge stilll existing in Schwarzenberg. It is also the narrowest vehicular crossing in the Ore Mountains.
  2. The Topp-Müller-Arch Bridge was the oldest stone arch bridge ever built in Schwarzenberg, dating back to 1539.
  3. Two railroad bridges used to carry a railline through the steep hills underneath the old town. It was bypassed in 1952.
  4. The old railroad arch bridge east of the train station is one of the best examples of a restored historic bridge of its kind.
  5. Each bridge has a medaillon on the railing, signaling the build and replacement dates, plus some of the symbols of the city.

Interesting is the fact that the author included the Markersbach Viaduct in the booklet. While that bridge is only a few kilometers away, it was included in the Chronicles’ tour guide (shown here). Still, the authors believe that it belongs to the Schwarzenberg ensemble, which is considered far fetched but ok. Also included is the Hammerbrücke, a covered bridge located in Lauter, which is three kilometers away.

A map with the location of the bridges in Schwarzenberg can be found below. I did a bike tour in the region on three different occasions and have therefore included photos in all but a couple of the city’s bridges. The rest of the information is from the booklet.

The book on Schwarzenberg’s bridges, which can be bought at the tourist information center upon personal visit for only six Euros, does bring up a question with regards to writing a book on bridges in such a community. While the book with sufficient information and photos on the bridges, like in Schwarzenberg, would be appropriate especially for readers who just want to know a bit on the bridges, the question is whether this book would fit for another community.

Which town would benefit from such a “picture book” with sufficient information?

Feel free to make your top five cities you would like to see a bridge book written on, either by choosing from the Chronicles’ tour guide page or adding some of your own.

My top five cities that deserve such a bridge booklet include: Glauchau, Zwickau, Dresden, Minneapolis and Des Moines. What about yours? Add your thoughts in the comment section.

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The Bridges of Aue (Saxony), Germany

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Sometimes experiments are needed in order to find out how to effectively reach your audience. It can be with the use of print media, such as newspaper articles, leaflets, broschures and the like. But it can also mean the use of various forms of technology, such as the internet and social networking. Aside from wordpress, which powers the Chronicles both as an original as well as the areavoices version, people have used facebook and pininterest to post their pics of their favorite bridges. Yet most of these have been individual bridges and not that of a tour guide, like the Chronicles has been posting since its launch in 2010.

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles has just started using  Instagram recently, and I had a chance to experiment with putting a tour guide together, using the app , during my most recent visit to the city of Aue in western Saxony.

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Located 25 kilometers southeast of Zwickau where the Zwickauer Mulde and Schwarzwasser (Black Water) Rivers meet, Aue is lined up along both rivers with houses that are at least a century old.  The town prides itself on mining and therefore, one can find many places where copper, silver, iron and uranium are produced and transported, both past and present. It also has a top premere soccer team in Erzgebirge Aue, which plays in the second tier of the German Bundesliga.  Eight kilometers to the west is the town of Schneeberg, where several Medieval buildings have been considered historically significant by the government and UNESCO, including its prized cathedral. However getting there is almost only possible by bus or car, for biking up there would be as biblically challenging as Moses climbing up Mt. Sinai to speak to God and get the Ten Commandments.

Speaking from experience, if you have to go to Schneeberg from Aue, please don’t do that and take the bus instead. 😉

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Getting back to the story, I happened to take some downtime between the time of an appointment in Schneeberg and the time I had to return to Jena. The only problem was the camera that I usually use for my bridgehunting tour was left home by accident. Bummer as it was and seeing many sights considering surprising to the eye of the photographer and pontist, I decided to use Instagram on my Smartphone and started taking pictures.

And the rest was history. 🙂

Despite the firsthand attempt of using Instagram to construct a tour guide of the historic bridges in the community of 55,000 inhabitants, it did not stop right there. Over the course of almost six months- most of which was concentrated in the second half of the time when I started working as a teacher at the police academy nearby- I found some valuable information and together with what I used with Instagram, I enhanced my tour guide in a way where I integrated my photos and information into Google Map, so that in the end, this tour guide is the first in which Google Map is used exclusively.

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So how does this work? Rather simple.

Go to the map at the end of the article, zoom in and click onto the bridge you wish to look at. Enjoy the pics and the information provided per bridge. 🙂   The goal with this tour guide is to make it simpler for people to access the bridge without reading too much text. The Aue Bridge Guide will set the precedent for further tour guides to be created in the future, while at the same time, experiment with newer social network apps with the goal of attracting more viewers than up to now.

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It is hoped that the two attempts will be a success and the Chrnonicles will therefore become a bigger platform for discussing historic bridges.

In the meantime, enjoy the tour guide as well as the pics via Instagram. 😀

 

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Updates on the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles

Glienicke Bridge near Berlin, Germany. Photo taken in October 2015

New Photo Apps and other changes to make the online column more attractive.

 

JENA, GERMANY-  Two weeks after introducing the Bridge Builder’s page for the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ wordpress page, the column has expanded to include several apps with the purpose to better address the audience. Some of the new features the Chronicles has available for you include the following:

  1. Pin-interest: As part of the plan to replace the flickr photo app, the Pin-interest app will features photos and some information on the bridges the author has visited, linking it back to either this page or the wordpress version. It had been introduced in 2015 but had been seldomly used up until most recently. Having been relaunched, the app will continue its function as before, but will provide the most basic facts for readers to look at. Most of these bridges pinned here will be the ones in the United States and Canada.
  2. Instagram: The Chronicles is the first historic-bridge-related website to have an Instagram app for photos. The purpose is to transfer the photos of the bridges taken by the author directly onto the website. It’s basically following the same method as its colleague in Vermont, Preservation in Pink, but more focused on historic bridges, mostly in Europe and elsewhere, where the author resides (in Germany). Both apps (located under the category Social Network on the left side) will effectively replace the flickr app, for security issues with Yahoo combined with its recent merger have resulted in the author abandoning the app, even though the bridges there will remain on there until further notice.
  3. Google Translate: Readers will now have an opportunity to read about bridges in their own language. The reason behind this is the number of request by readers in Europe to have the texts translated into their own language, including German as many international bridges profiled have originated from Germany. To access the app, scroll down and you will find it on the right hand side.
  4. Planned Events: Open to all pontists, historians and others, planned events can provide readers with information on upcoming events dealing with historic bridges, preservation, and other seminars dealing with history. If you would like your event to be posted, please contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles at flensburg.bridgehunter.av@googlemail.com.  Planned events are open for everyone both inside and outside the US.
  5. Tour Guide/Lost Bridges: The Tour Guide page has been updated, including the ones produced by the author as well as the top two finishers of the Ammann Awards for the category Tour Guide as well as winners of the Author’s Choice Awards. The plan is to include more tour guides based on contributions by the author and guest writers, but also based on the results of the Ammann and Author’s Choice Awards from now on. If you have a city or region laden with historic bridges that you wish to write about, please contact the Chronicles.

There are a few touch-ups to be made, including fixing Clustrmaps, adding a couple more apps and updating the themes and other widgets. But the main purpose is to provide better coverage to readers wishing to follow up on the findings of historic bridges and read about the preservation policies that are being advanced. Nonetheless we intend to continue writing and photographing historic bridges, making them attractive for tourists and bringing them up to the attention of people that care about the structures and their significance in terms of history and design and would like to preserve them for generations to come.

More later!  🙂