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Hamlet Bridge

Hamlet Bridge 57

Hamlet Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: April 15, 2015 and June 27, 2021

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Canning Road Over Severn River (Trent-Severn Waterway)
Location
Hamlet: Muskoka District, Ontario and Simcoe County, Ontario: Canada
Structure Type
Metal Rivet-Connected Warren Through Truss, Movable: Swing (Rim Bearing Center Pier) and Approach Spans: Metal 7 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1905 By Builder/Contractor: Standard Steel Construction Company of Port Robinson, Ontario
Rehabilitation Date
1922
Main Span Length
200.0 Feet (61 Meters)
Structure Length
303.0 Feet (92.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
16 Feet (4.88 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

Bridge Status: Demolished and replaced in 2019.

This is a bridge with a unique history. The earliest documented bridge in this area was located a distance downstream, and was a two span wooden pony truss on pontoons. It was replaced a couple years later by a similar structure, except it was on stone substructure. In 1904-1905 an unknown bridge builder erected a two span pin-connected through truss as a replacement bridge for a cost of $6,800. In 1914 however, the conversion of the river into a navigable waterway required a movable span to accommodate boats. As such, a riveted through truss swing bridge was constructed by the Standard Steel Construction Company, which had facilities in Welland and Port Robinson. Piers were begun in 1915, but due to World War I labor problems, construction did not complete until 1922. One of the 1905 pin-connected through truss spans from the old bridge was relocated using boats to serve as an approach span for this new swing span. The Dominion Bridge Company reportedly provided relocation services for $850.

The swing span was hand-turned until 1962 when it was converted to electric motor.

The photo below shows the 1904-1905 truss bridge as originally built. Visit this page for more info.

Thanks to the Sparrow Lake Historical Society and Ryan Mackulin for providing information on the history of this bridge.

This bridge is unique because its two spans of differing design offer a look at two generations of truss bridge, the pin-connected truss and the rivet-connected truss. The age of the pin-connected truss bridge is evidenced by the fact that its roadway is slightly narrower than the swing span.

Both spans enjoy the heritage value of being extremely rare examples of their types in Ontario. Pin-connected truss bridges are very rare in Ontario, as are through truss swing bridges. The historic integrity of the two truss spans is good, with no major alterations to the original materials and design of the trusses. This only adds to their heritage significance. Crossing a waterway that is a National Historic Site of Canada, these bridges contribute to the heritage value of the waterway as well.

Given its significance, this bridge should have been given a high preservation priority. Rehabilitation projects should focus on maintaining the original design and materials of the bridge. While it might seem like heritage bridges over a heritage waterway managed by Parks Canada would automatically be preserved, sadly this is often not the case. Parks Canada has unfortunately demolished and replaced many heritage bridges, sometimes replacing them with modern substitutes that are supposed to look like heritage bridges but usually fail to accomplish this task, and in either case result in the destruction of genuine heritage bridges that would be feasible to rehabilitate if the effort was made. Sadly, demolition and replacement was indeed the fate of this bridge. It was replaced by a modern truss bridge, which to boaters and motorists from a distance probably looks similar to the heritage bridge. However driving over the bridge or otherwise viewed from up close, visitors will note the replacement bridge is much heavier in construction, lacks riveted built-up beams that gave the heritage bridge a pleasing geometry, and the replacement bridge approach span lacks pinned connections. The replacement bridge in truth looks very different from the heritage bridge. It does not make up for the loss of such a rare and highly significant heritage bridge.


This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Unorganized Photos

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Hamlet Bridge

 

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Bridge Photo-Documentation

Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
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Bridge Photo-Documentation

Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
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View Photo Gallery

Additional Unorganized Photos, Replacement Bridge

Original / Full Size Photos
A supplemental collection of photos that are from additional visit(s) to the bridge and have not been organized or captioned. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
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View Photo Gallery

Additional Unorganized Photos, Replacement Bridge

Mobile Optimized Photos
A supplemental collection of photos that are from additional visit(s) to the bridge and have not been organized or captioned. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

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View Video

Replacement Bridge Opening

Full Motion Video
Video taken by Caleb Barker. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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View Video

Driving over Replacement Bridge

Full Motion Video
Video taken by Caleb Barker. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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Maps and Links: Hamlet Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

Search For Additional Bridge Listings:

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

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