This bridge crosses the Rideau Canal, which in this area runs through a large lake. The lake was divided into two with the creation of locks at this location, and a bridge was built to carry traffic cross the lake at this location as well. The reason locks were built in the middle of the lake is because raising the water level of the lake slightly made it easier for the canal to be built in nearby Newboro, by reducing the amount of rock that had to be cut through to make the canal. The first known bridge at this location was a wooden swing bridge dating to 1867. In 1964, an 1898 swing bridge from relocated here to replace the wooden swing bridge. This 1898 swing bridge is the bridge seen today. The bridge came from Beveridges when a fixed bridge was built there in 1961.
The swing bridge is noteworthy as an early example of a rivet-connected swing bridge. The swing is bobtailed, and a concrete counterweight is present at the short end of the bridge. The truss does show signs of alteration, as a number of rivets have been replaced with bolts.
The bridge is also noteworthy as a hand-turned swing bridge that remains in operation today. Most movable bridges are operated by electrical machinery, but this bridge is operated by hand. A bridge tender takes a special bar and inserts it into a hole in the deck, which connects it to a rod which in turn is connected to the gearing system for the bridge. Then, by walking the bar around in circles, the bridge is operated. Hand-turned swing bridges were once common long ago, particularly for bridges in rural areas, or for bridges that were not operated frequently. Hand-turned swing bridges that still operate for boats today are exceedingly rare today.
This bridge has the distinction of being the first hand-turned swing bridge on HistoricBridges.org to be photographed and video recorded in operation. Be sure to view the videos and photo gallery to see the bridge in motion.
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