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Chambers Farm Lane Bridge

Haywood County Bridge 79

Chambers Farm Lane Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: December 3, 2020

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Key Facts

Rural: Haywood County, North Carolina: United States
Structure Type
Metal 5 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Wood Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
80 Feet (24 Meters)
Structure Length
99 Feet (30 Meters)
Roadway Width
11.2 Feet (3.41 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

Bypassed and preserved for pedestrian use, this is the only surviving Phoenix column bridge in North Carolina, and the oldest highway truss bridge in the state. With the exception of one of the vertical members which was replaced with pipe, the truss retains excellent historic integrity with no other major alterations. The physical condition of the truss is good.

Information and Findings From North Carolina's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

Built in 1891, this bridge is North Carolina's oldest identified metal truss highway bridge and, indeed, the oldest dated bridge included in the inventory of the state's highway spans. It is also North Carolina's only bridge erected with patented Phoenix columns. The Phoenix Bridge Company fabricated the numerous parts of the bridge in its shops in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Phoenix was a leader in the development of metal truss bridge technology after the Civil War. The patented Phoenix column-a hollow circular tube formed of curved wrought-iron channels-was a breakthrough that promoted the substitution of built-up wrought-iron members for cast-iron in the compression members of truss bridges. It was a transitional design, but it had a significant impact and was a favorite of railroad bridge builders from the late 1860s through the 1880s.

The date of construction of this bridge is confirmed by records of the Phoenix Bridge Company archived at the Hagley Museum & Library in Wilmington, Delaware. Dean & Westbrook, the engineer-builders listed on the bridge plaques, acted as agents for Phoenix highway bridges in the eastern United States from about 1885 to 1895. Company records indicate they erected over 280 Phoenix-column highway truss bridges from Maine to North Carolina. It is estimated that no more than two dozen of these bridges still stand, with the greatest concentration of surviving examples in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. By the time the Haywood County bridge was fabricated, the Phoenix column was in decline.

Phoenix records indicate that this bridge was company order number B-613. The number can be found cast in the connecting pieces of the structure, along with a parts code for each piece. It was Phoenix's practice to cast or stamp the order and parts number in every member and piece, including washers and nuts, to ensure that truss parts did not get mixed up, arrived at the bridge site together, and could be easily assembled in the correct order by the erection crew. Records also indicate that the truss was designed for a live load of 720-pounds-per-linear-foot and a dead load of 460-pounds-per-linear-foot, and that it weighed 12,058 pounds at shipping. Dean & Westbrook paid 4.3 cents-per-pound for the bridge. It is not known what Haywood County paid them. The urn-shaped finials and medallion brackets that survive on this bridge were common ornamentation on truss bridges built by Phoenix and many other builders of the late 19th century, but are a rarity in North Carolina.

The total length of the bridge is 99 feet. The truss extends 80 feet and a timber stringer approach span at the northwest is 19 feet long. The presence of the approach span, which likely dates from after 1945, suggests that the truss may have been moved to this site at the time the approach was constructed. The bridge is on a lightly traveled road that connects Lake Logan Road with Chambers Farm Lane north of Lake Logan in southwestern Haywood County.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Phoenix Columns


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