This bridge is a cast and wrought iron bridge and as such is a member of an elite group of historic bridges that are among the most important in the country. One survey found around 70 such bridges in the country, and it is likely that today there are fewer than that remaining.
Fortunately, this bridge is in use as a pedestrian bridge in a park and as such its future is not threatened. It crosses Glen Creek and the deep valley it has cut through the park. As a result, this bridge has some serious clearance between deck and the creek below... it is quite a thrill to look down from on this bridge!
It is Watkins Glen State Park's own loss that they do not publicize the importance of this bridge. There is no interpretive plaque located near the bridge to describe how ancient this c. 1870 iron bridge is, nor how uncommon the bowstring truss design is. Many different companies designed their own bowstrings in the 1870s and each had its own distinctive style. This bridge is the only known remaining bridge with this particular design. The iron on the bridge was fabricated by the Phoenix Iron Company. However, none of this is presented to park visitors. Indeed, the park has instead fueled confusion by describing this bridge as a suspension bridge. The only place the bridge is mentioned in the park is on a sign detailing what the area looked like long ago. The sign mentions that "the suspension bridge in the center of this picture stands to this day." While it is possible that this bridge may have been known as "the Suspension Bridge" by locals of the time, the wording of the above sentence implies that the structure type is a suspension. One might have a good academic argument over whether a bowstring is more like an arch bridge or a truss bridge, but it is NOT a suspension bridge! If the bridge was historically called "The Suspension Bridge" it might be appropriate to continue to give the bridge this title, but any signage that discusses the bridge should more clearly outline that the structure is an c. 1870 iron bowstring bridge. Indeed, the bridge should be more prominently featured as a park attraction, since it is a nationally significant structure.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Reused
|A collection of overview and detail photos. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer|
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
View Bridge Location In:
© Copyright 2003-2021, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.