This is one of those small four panel rivet-connected pony trusses that show up occasionally and could start an argument about whether it is a double-intersection Warren with verticals or a Pratt with counters. Pin-connected truss bridges end the argument quicker because the counters have turnbuckles, but this is not the case with rivet-connected trusses.
This bridge is an excellent example of an early rivet-connected pony truss in Pennsylvania. It was built by Nelson and Buchanan, a builder that was prolific in its home state of Pennsylvania. They apparently were an early leader in constructing rivet-connected pony truss bridges, since a fair number of the earlier examples of this type in Pennsylvania were built by Nelson and Buchanan. The bridge has some unusual details associated with these early 20th Century Nelson and Buchanan pony truss bridges including v-laced railings,
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The 1-span, 63'-long, rivet-connected Pratt pony truss bridge, built in 1905 by Nelson & Buchanan, is composed of standard built-up steel sections. Rolled floorbeams support an open steel grid deck. The truss was strengthened ca. 1977 by two steel beams that underpin the truss floorbeams. The stone abutments have been capped and repaired with concrete. The bridge is a representative example of period truss technology with no unusual or noteworthy features. Although underpinned, it does not have significant loss of original material from the truss superstructure. A reconnaissance level survey indicates that it is located in a setting that has the continuity and integrity to be a potential historic district. A complete survey of the potential Bixler historic district and its boundaries was beyond the scope of the bridge survey, but the bridge would be completely within the district and dates from the period of significance. Although not individually significant, the bridge is a contributing resource to the potential district.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries 1 lane of a 2 lane road over a stream in an undisturbed rural setting. The bridge is in the decentralized village of Bixler. At the southern quadrants are cultivated fields. At the north end is a T-shaped intersection of Center Road and SR 850. On the opposite side of the intersection is a cemetery and a late 19th century picturesque vernacular frame residence. At the northwest quadrant is a small store and mill building (ca. 1910). At the west end of the cemetery is the Center Presbyterian Church and parsonage, dating from the mid to late 19th century. The setting has the cohesiveness of resources and integrity of rural agricultural settlement patterns to merit consideration as a historic district with a period of significance from the mid 18th century to at least the 1920s.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes, Contributing
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