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Finesville Bridge

Finesville Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 10, 2008

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Mt. Joy Road Over Musconetcong River
Location
Finesville: Hunterdon County, New Jersey and Warren County, New Jersey: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1890 By Builder/Contractor: G. M. Rusling of Hackettstown, New Jersey

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1981
Main Span Length
102 Feet (31 Meters)
Structure Length
106 Feet (32 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.7 Feet (4.79 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
10XXH64

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is intimately nestled within a tiny community called Finesville, and this community looks an image right out of the period this bridge was built. The buildings are positioned very close together: right next to the road and the bridge. It is a truly historical setting that feels much like a museum. The Historic Bridge Inventory found both the bridge and surrounding buildings to be part of a potential historic district. Since that time, the location appears to have indeed been listed as a National Register of Historic Places District, Finesville-Seigletown Historic District (Ref Number 10000892) in 2010. For more information and photos of Finesville visit this website.

The bridge itself stands out as an attractive, variation of a traditional truss bridge type. The bridge is unique on account of its unusual builder, the only documented example of this builder, and the bridge's accompanying unique portal bracing design greatly enhances the aesthetic qualities of the bridge. A historical photograph of the bridge however shows that one unusual and attractive detail of this bridge has been destroyed through alteration. The top of the end posts originally had v-lacing instead of the more typical cover plate. At some point this v-lacing was replaced with cover plate. This alteration does not prevent the bridge from being an important historic bridge, but it does change the appearance of the bridge more than one might expect, and not in a positive manner.

Above: A 1910 photo of the bridge. Note the v-lacing on the top of the end post. Source: Township of Pohatcong

Information and Findings From New Jersey's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

Summary: The 8-panel pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is supported on random ashlar abutments. The floorbeams appear to be original.
Welded alterations are minimal and include plates at the lower panel points, cover plate on the end posts, and lateral bracing
strengthening. The bridge is the only known example of the work of bridge builder G.M. Rusling of Hackettstown. In addition to its
historical significance, it contributes to the character of a potential district.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Hunterdon County Engineer's Office: County bridge card H64W.
Hunterdon County Master Plan: Sites of Historic Interest 1979.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The eight-panel full hip Pratt thru-truss bridge has a plaque located at the center of the portals identifying the builder and the Hunterdon County Bridge Committee members. The pin-connected bridge is supported upon stone abutments with retaining walls. The top chords and inclined end posts are box members composed of shallow toe-out channels and cover plates with battens. The bottom chord consists of stamped eyebars, to which reinforcing plates have been welded at the panel points. The vertical members are composed of angles with lacing. The portal braces are also composed of angles with lattice. All but the first interior floor beams are hung from U-bolts. The floor beam hangers are forged loop eye bars that have been reinforced by the addition of bars welded to the top chord and the panel point reinforcing plate. Knee braces have been added at lateral struts and portals. Channel end diagonal braces have been added, and cover plates have been welded to the end posts. According to county records, the corrugated steel deck with asphalt overlay was installed in 1958. Some elements are stamped "Passaic R.M. Co.".

HISTORICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The date of construction of the 8-panel pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is not documented, but stylistically it appears to be circa 1890. The fairly well preserved bridge is the only known example of the work of G.M. Rusling, a New Jersey fabricator. In addition to being a good example of an important bridge type and the work of a local fabricator, the bridge is located in the village of Mount Joy, a potential National Register Historic District. It is a contributing resource in that potential historic district. The first house was reportedly erected in 1829 in what was a saw mill and iron ore mining area. The village preserves its historic, 19th- and early-20th century character. The mill dam is located a few feet upstream from the bridge. Although some alterations are present, they are predominantly non-intrusive in nature and the bridge retains its integrity of design.
Boundary Description and Justification: The bridge is individually distinguished, but it is also located in a potential historic district that appears to include resources on both side of the river. Thus both ends of the bridge are within the potential historic district. The bridge and its surroundings are evaluated as significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries one lane of a narrow street over the Musconetcong River, the border between Hunterdon and Warren Counties. The street is in the center of the well-preserved 19th-century village of Finesville which has National Register-historic district potential. The bridge contributes to the historic character of that potential district. The bridge is a few feet downstream from a mill dam. The mill, now converted to housing, remains.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Finesville Bridge

 
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Maps and Links: Finesville Bridge

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