This bridge is one of two historic truss bridges within sight of each other, but of vastly different eras on this road, the other one is the eastern bridge.
This bridge, the western bridge, is the more significant bridge by far, a rare example of the Havana Bridge Works. This company was noted for its unique and beautiful finials and decorative top chord mounted plaques all of which survive on the ends of this bridge. Further, this bridge has been rehabilitated and remains in good condition. There are alterations like addition of outriggers, but the important parts of the bridge remain unaltered.
Despite being something that local governments should take pride in (a preserved historic bridge) Knowlton Township felt the need to be stupid and has posted signs on Station Road near the bridges reading "Permit Parking Only NJ State Police Enforced Summons Will Be Issued To Violators." How ridiculous is this! Something that should be the pride of the township, and something that tourists from out of town (who may not even know what township they are in, let alone that permits for parking might even be something that exists there) has threatening signage posted all around it! Shame on the township for this nonsense! This is a rare historic bridge that taxpayer dollars were used to rehabilitate. Parking needs to be provided for people to visit the bridge. Control of parking could still be allowed. "15 Minute Parking" signs for example would do the trick for allowing people to visit the bridge while discouraging people parking to fish or camp, or whatever the township is so concerned about in this quiet rural location.
Information and Findings From New Jersey's Historic Bridge Inventory
The well-preserved pin-connected Pratt pony truss sits on one field stone abutment and one concrete abutment. The slightly skewed bridge is composed of built-up rolled section members, batten plates and lacing bars. Eyebars form the bottom chords and the diagonals. The plaque of Havana Bridge Works and uncommon open-face finials are fixed to the top chord. The span ranks as one of the oldest and most complete pony trusses in the county. It is also significant due to its documented fabricator.
The bridge is located in a wooded, sparsely developed area, near the junction of a state route and a local road. The bridge carries the onelane local road over a river. Another pony truss bridge is located 100' to the south. The Havana Bridge Works was in business from 1896 and was an outgrowth of W. H. Shepard's Sons Bridge Company and the predecessor of Rochester Bridge and Construction Company. Havana Bridge Works was located in Montour Falls, New York, which was once Havana, NY.
The 6-panel pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge stands in a remarkable state of preservation, complete with its mid-top chord bridge plaques. The top chord and inclined end posts are composed of toe-out angles with top cover plated and batten stiffeners. The verticals are angle section set back-to-back with a lattice web. The diagonals, counters, and bottom chords are eye bars. The verticals are attached to the upper chord by an L-shaped strap through which the pin passes. The detail is not unusual or a patented feature. The most distinctive detail is the open-face ball finial set at each of the top chord corners. They have not been identified on any other metal truss bridge in the state. The floor beams are rolled I section and are fitted with lateral bracing. Any original railings have been replaced by modern but compatible wood railings. Alterations to the bridge include in 1925 replacing the original west ashlar abutment with a concrete abutment and raising the west end of the truss by 18 inches; in 1935 strengthening and repairing the bridge with welded members including subdiagonals attached at the lower panel points by welded plates, outriggers, and repairs to the lower portions of the inclined end posts; and, in 1990 installing a gluelaminated wood deck. The alterations do not compromise the truss's integrity of design.
Historical and Technological Significance
The Pratt pin-connected pony truss bridge erected in 1896 by the Havana Bridge Works is a locally significant example of its type (Criterion C). It ranks as the best preserved metal truss bridge in the county, and in addition to representing the important structure type, the span chronicles the history of a small regional bridge fabricating firm whose history is not unlike other 19th-century fabricators who saw prosperity in manufacturing metal bridges and who distributed their products through a network of agents who worked with county freeholders. The Havana Bridge Company was established as W.H. Shepard's Sons Bridge Company in Havana, later Montour Falls, New York in 1891. It was reorganized and restyled the Havana Bridge Works in 1896, according to Victor Darnell, and it was the predecessor to the Rochester Bridge and Construction Company. The 1898 bridge plaque identifies Havana Bridge Works as being located in Elmira, New York, not in Montour Falls.
Boundary Description and Justification
Because the bridge is individually significant, it is the span alone (substructure including wingwalls and superstructure) that is evaluated as significant.
Darnell, Victor. Directory of American Bridge-Building Companies 1840-1900. 1984.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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