The Old Richardsville Road Bridge is an extremely rare three span cast and wrought iron bowstring truss bridge. The bridge has a complicated history that is not fully understood. Numerous clues exist on the bridge itself however. This bridge has traditionally been described as a bridge built in 1889 because of the plaque mounted on the overhead bracing, however it is almost certain that this bridge dates to the early 1870s or even the late 1860s. The bowstring design was almost exclusively built in the 1870s and quickly fell from favor starting in 1880 as Pratt trusses grew in popularity. Further, there is a second plaque on this bridge mounted on the top chord that does not have a date, but is typical of the plaques the King Bridge Company used on its 1860s and 1870s bowstrings. The design of the bowstring's lower chord is actually indicative of the company's earliest known bowstrings suggesting the bowstrings may date to the early 1870s. The company's later bowstrings used an unusual knife-plate eyebar head for the lower chord pin connections; these are not present on this bridge. This bridge's outriggers are simple star iron, with no lacing between the outrigger and the vertical member; this is s detail also associated with earlier King bowstrings. Lastly, the bridge shoes/bearings are an unusual design that is different from most King bowstring bridges. All of this suggests an early bowstring from the late 1860s to early 1870s.
The 1889 plaque on the overhead bracing is of the type used by the King Bridge Company on its Pratt and Whipple through truss bridges. It is not known how this plaque ended up on the bridge; whether it refers to a rehabilitation, relocation, or perhaps it is just something that came from another bridge and someone put on the bridge a long time ago thinking it looked nice. The overhead bracing on the bridge is a custom-designed frame that is not original to the bridge. The current overhead bracing system is taller that what would have been on the bridge originally, thus the replacement bracing provides more overhead clearance. It is a riveted construction with steel on the frame showing a Carnegie steel mill name with a logo detail that has not been seen on steel older than the 1920s, suggesting the bracing dates to after 1920. However, the bracing is of riveted construction so it is clearly very old. The overhead bracing is riveted to vertical columns that are riveted and bolted to floorbeams at the deck. The floorbeams are not original and have the appearance of potentially being salvaged from another bridge, however the columns and overhead bracing show no indications that they are salvaged material and appear to be custom-designed to fit on this bridge.
This bridge is appreciated by the local community which has helped to maintain and preserve the bridge. The county is also supportive of preservation of this bridge. Repairs are planned in the future.
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