This bridge is among the oldest truss bridges in Maine with a 1912 construction date. Unlike other states in this region, Maine does not have pre-1900 bridges. Thus bridges like the Ryefield Bridge are significant due to their age alone in Maine. However, the Ryefield Bridge is also an example of an extremely uncommon truss configuration, the double-intersection Warren truss bridge.
This bridge's plaque lists the United Construction Company of Albany, New York as contractors for the bridge and the American Bridge Company as builders.
In 1910, a legal inquiry document reveals that the United Construction Company represented the American Bridge Company as accredited agents for the sale of bridges in New York State and New England. It is reported that the company was organized after the formation of the American Bridge Company. Another bridge of strikingly similar construction design can be found in Vermont and it also is associated with these two companies. This indicates that either United Construction Company or American Bridge Company also must have served as designers/engineers as well.
This bridge is one of the small number of historic bridges in Maine that a commitment to preservation is apparent. A sign near the bridge indicates that the bridge is historic and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge also shows evidence of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation was overall sympathetic to the original materials and design of the bridge, although it appears the bottom chord was replaced and where that took place bolts were used instead of rivets. The bridge remains today in good physical condition.
Information and Findings From Maine's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The double intersection Warren thru truss bridge fabricated by the Union Construction Company of Albany, NY in 1912 is a rare example of its truss design. It is the only example in Maine, and it is one of five rivet-connected Warren design truss bridges in the state. The Warren design was patented in 1848, but it became common after 1900 because of improvements in metallurgy and pneumatic riveting. It is particularly well suited for riveted connections, and the second set of diagonals, such as used for the Ryefield Bridge, were sometimes added for rigidity. The completeness of the bridge and the rareness of the truss design make the bridge a high preservation priority. It is protected by state statute.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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