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Old Keenan Road Bridge

Burke Hollow Road Bridge

Old Keenan Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: April 7, 2018

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Old Keenan Road (Burke Hollow Road, McCuin Road) Over Lawrence Brook
Rural: St. Lawrence County, New York: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: National Bridge and Iron Works of Boston, Massachusetts and Engineer/Design: Charles H. Parker

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
60 Feet (18.3 Meters)
Structure Length
62 Feet (18.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Article About Parker Patent Truss Bridges

View The Original Patent For Parker Truss Bridges

Likely dating to ca. 1870, this bridge is one of the few surviving examples of an original "Parker truss" type of bridge, which was the patented design created by Charles H. Parker that later gave rise to the description of all "polygonal Pratt truss bridges" as "Parker truss bridges." True patented Parker truss bridges bear little resemblance to the types of truss bridges commonly called Parker truss bridges today. The surviving true Parker patent truss bridges are nevertheless among the most significant historic bridge types in the country today as examples of Parker truss bridges following Charles Parker's design. They are also significant as extremely old surviving metal truss bridges and for representing the period of experimentation in the early years of metal bridge construction in the United States.

 Academic literature such as the above article that discuss the significance of the Parker patent truss bridges confidently list what they believed to be the surviving Parker patent truss bridges. Yet they missed this one! Ironically, this example in northern New York may be the least altered of all surviving Parker patent truss bridges, since this one retains unusual trussed floorbeams that wrap around the vertical members and rest on the bottom chord. They appear to be original floorbeams. One of the complaints in academic texts is that other surviving Parker patent truss bridges have altered flooring systems.

This bridge and road have been closed to vehicular traffic for many years, however a narrow deck for foot traffic and snowmobiles is maintained. Different maps show different names for this road including McCuin Road, Burke Hollow Road, and Old Keenan Road. The truss itself is suffering from trees that are growing through the bridge and even around the end post. These should be removed to ensure the preservation of this nationally significant historic bridge.

Thanks to Marc Scotti for locating this bridge for HistoricBridges.org.


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