This bridge is an excellent example of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company's design for a bowstring truss bridge. Although no specific construction date could be located, truss bridges of this design generally date to the 1870s. A ca. 1875 date seems appropriate. Typical of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, this bowstring features Keystone style columns for a top chord. Star-iron "cruciform" members are present on the bridge, and the bridge has a latticed design for the verticals/outriggers.
The bridge was replaced in 2008, and thanks to efforts from the county, the historic bridge was placed in storage for rehabilitation and re-erection at an undetermined location. In August 2010, HistoricBridges.org inquired as to the status of the project, and the county responded with the following update:
The recently replaced 1876 Beatty's Mill Bridge, an 86-foot wrought iron pony bow-truss structure was dismantled and transported to the county's facility at Armsdale outside Kittanning. The parapets retained their tension. The parts will be tested for metal fatigue with anticipation of reuse as either a 3-ton highway or pedestrian bridge. The most logical site is located in Rayburn Township over Cowanshannock Creek at a location near "Buttermilk Falls". It would replace a closed 90-foot bridge structure that needs to be dismantled. Obviously, the site would have to be retrofitted for the difference in length. Once we determine tensile strength, we can determine type of use. We will also use a crew from our county jail to scrape and renovate the painting of all the parts of this bridge. The "plus" on this item is the fact that it will not be over water and therefore easier to do.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The ca. 1875, 86'-long bowstring pony truss bridge is supported on ashlar abutments with wingwalls. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1991 when two verticals were replaced. The bridge is a remarkably complete and important example of an early metal truss bridge, and it is historically and technologically significant. It has all of the features described in Wrought Iron Bridge Company's 1874 catalogue for a column iron arch bridge.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries 1 lane of TR 659, an unimproved township road, over a stream in a rural area of active farms at the Y intersection with TR 625.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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