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Gospel Street Bridge

Orange County Bridge 200, Sol Strauss and James M. Tucker Memorial Bridge

Gospel Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 2, 2007, April 4, 2015, and May 28, 2019

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Gospel Street Over Lick Creek
Paoli: Orange County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1880 By Builder/Contractor: Cleveland Bridge and Iron Company of Cleveland, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
90 Feet (27.5 Meters)
Structure Length
93 Feet (28.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.4 Feet (4.69 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This eight panel structure is an old structure and it features highly decorative portal knee bracing, as well as a decorative builder plaque. It features latticed vertical members that are a bit different looking than the standard truss bridge. The bridge features unique arched, trussed floorbeams. Earlier pin-connected truss bridges such as this 1880 structure often featured uncommon design for some parts of the bridge. This was because designs had not yet become standardized, and some experimentation was still ongoing. The Gospel Street Bridge is important as a beautiful, and old metal truss bridge that retains good historic integrity.

Researching Cleveland bridge companies is difficult because between different companies with similar names, and also some companies changing their names, the various companies can become difficult to keep straight. This bridge was built by the company that had "And Iron" in its name. There were others, for example, the Cleveland Bridge Company is different than the Cleveland Bridge and Iron Company. In any case, this bridge is a rare surviving example of its builder.

The Gospel Street Bridge is located next to a separate pedestrian bridge that is itself old and worthy of attention. It appears to be a late bowstring truss bridge, perhaps built in the 1930s. It features riveted connections.

In late 2015, this bridge collapsed when a truck driver ignored the large "no truck" sign and drove over this bridge. Fortunately, the driver's insurance paid to have the bridge restored. Headache bars were also added after this incident. Overall the restoration did a good job of replicating the original design of members that had to be replaced, including the bridge's spectacular trussed floorbeams. However, somewhat unusually for Indiana, rivets were not used in the restoration. Instead an extremely unusual (for bridge work) type of bolt was used that appears to have had internal hex heads was used. To cover up the hex, it appears they attemted to pad weld over the hex to make them look like button head bolts (which are the traditional rivet substitute in bridge work). This is a very strange method, and given the labor involved probably exceeded that of driving genuine rivets, the purpose of this is unclear.

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

Above: Bridge in 2015 before truck collapsed the bridge.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

Hobson and Associates correctly identify this bridge as "a historic landmark", "a fine example of the first class construction and craftmanship of the last century with many features not common to bridge construction of the era." One of two surviving Pratts built by this noteworthy Ohio firm, the structure retains its original members including unique floor beams. Many of the bridge's decorative features are still intact; e.g., heavy and latticed struts and bracing, latticed portals and guardrails, and cast iron portal bracing.

Architectural Description

The Cleveland Bridge and Iron Company of Cleveland, Ohio, fabricated this single-span, pin-connected Pratt through truss which is seated upon cut stone abutments and wingwalls. Intermediate verticals of laced channels subdivide the 93'6" truss into most of its eight panels. The endpost verticals are crafted from latticed Ts. Eyebars provide the diagonals: pairs stretch toward center span from the top panel point to the bottom of all except the endpost panels; cylindrical eyebars with turnbuckles counter the others in the four most central panels. Double U-bolted to the lower pins, special girder floor beams carry the timber deck with its 14'6" roadway and 13'6" of vertical clearance. Instead of a solid plate at the heart of the bow-shaped girders, angles and rectangular strips form a central web.

ALTERATIONS: Some of the bridge's original decorative features are no longer intact; e. g., heavy and latticed struts and bracing, latticed portals and guardrails, and cast iron portal bracing.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Gospel Street Bridge

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2007 Bridge Photo-Documentation
A collection of overview and detail photos. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2015-2019 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2015-2019 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


Maps and Links: Gospel Street Bridge

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