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Pancake Clarkson Road Bridge

Pancake Clarkson Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 4, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pancake Clarkson Road (TR-1031) Over North Fork Little Beaver Creek
Location
Rural: Columbiana County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1893 By Builder/Contractor: Penn Bridge Company of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2008
Main Span Length
139 Feet (42.4 Meters)
Structure Length
142 Feet (43.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
12.8 Feet (3.9 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
1538209

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

For a pin connected Pratt through truss bridge, this structure has a substantial span length. Its long length, which usually results in higher trusses, combine with a narrow deck width to give the bridge a tall feeling. This bridge is composed of nine panels yielding a total structure length of 142 feet. Although the builder plaque obviously was stolen, the Penn Bridge Company is clearly associated with this bridge. The Penn Bridge Company was a company that really took aesthetic design of its bridges right down to the tiniest detail. Their bridges often feature little medallion-like motifs on the portal bracing that feature various figures or designs or say "PENN" on them. This bridge has those decorations, and in addition, those motifs even appear on the railings!

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge carries a 1 lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed, rural setting.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 142'-long, pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge has built-up compression members and eyebar tension members. It has lattice portal bracing with decorative builders plaques atop the portals.

Summary of Significance

The 1893 truss bridge, which is among the early and technologically significant surviving examples of its type/design in the state, has been determined eligible as the result of advancing a rehabilitation project (SHPO letter, 5/21/08).

Pratt trusses were undoubtedly the most popular truss design of the last quarter of the 19th century and continued to be built into the 20th century, although eventually superseded in popularity by Warren trusses. The design, which initially was a combination of wood compression and iron tension members, was patented in 1844 by Thomas & Caleb Pratt. Ohio has three covered bridges that use this combination configuration, but they are all modern reconstructions based on the Pratt patent. The great advantage of the Pratt over other designs was the relative ease of calculating the distribution of stresses. More significantly, it translated well into an all-metal design in lengths of less than 200'. Significant surviving examples of all-metal Pratt trusses mostly date to the last quarter of the 19th century, and they are found with thru, pony, and the less common bedstead configuration. Prior to about 1890, a variety of panel point connections were in widespread use (including bolts, cast-iron pieces, and pins), but engineering opinion was coalescing around pins as the most efficient and constructible. Many of the connection details were proprietary and associated with individual builders or companies, and thus earlier examples are generally taken to be technologically significant in showing the evolution of the design. Later post-1890 Pratt trusses show a progression toward less variation in their details such that by 1900 the design was quite formulaic with few significant differences between the designs of various builders. This marked the end of the pin-connected Pratt's technological evolution and, in fact, it was soon waning and eclipsed in the highway bridge market by more rigid, rivet-connected truss designs, particularly the Warren but also riveted Pratts. The transition to riveted connections, which happened even earlier with railroads than highways, was in no small part due to concerns about stress reversals at the pins under heavier loads and improvements in pneumatic field riveting equipment in the early 1900s. In Ohio, Pratt truss highway bridges, whether pinned or riveted, were almost always built under the auspices of counties and local units of government; the Pratt was not a standard design of the state highway department.

In Ohio, there are 185 Pratt trusses dating from ca. 1874 to 1945 with at least 60 dating prior to 1900 (Phase 1A, 2008). The technologically significant unaltered examples of pin-connected Pratt trusses for the most part date prior to 1900 and have documented or attributed builders and dates of construction and/or significant connection or member details. Later post-1900 examples are less technologically significant. Significant unaltered examples of riveted-connected Pratt trusses date from ca. 1900 to 1915.

Justification

The bridge is one of over 150 extant pin-connected truss bridges dating from 1874 for pony trusses and 1876 for thru trusses. Twenty six predate 1888 and represent the era of experimentation that evolved into standardized designs by about 1888. This example has moderate significance because the genre and the fabricator are so well represented in Ohio.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Pancake Clarkson Road Bridge

 
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