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Sheeder Mill Road Bridge

Sheeder Mill Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: 2009

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Sheeder Mill Road Over French Creek
Rural: Chester County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1887 By Builder/Contractor: John Denithorne and Sons of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
84 Feet (26 Meters)
Structure Length
88 Feet (27 Meters)
Roadway Width
14.8 Feet (4.51 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is the only pin connected through truss highway bridge in the entire county. As such, this bridge should receive a high priority for preservation. The historic bridge inventory's description of this bridge as having "standard details" is a little misleading. While the bridge does not have any unusual truss configuration, and the rolled beams are standard types, the way in which the rolled beams are used to compose built-up beams is unusual on this bridge, something shared with a majority of bridges built by John Denithorne & Son. These unusual details include the use of a two single lattice-style X's formed from lacing bars with battens located in between to form the underside of the end posts and top chord. The lightweight vertical members and portal bracing is also somewhat unusual on this bridge.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The one-span, 88'-long, pin-connected, wrought-iron, thru truss bridge built in 1887 is supported on stone abutments. The bridge has built-up upper chords and verticals, and eye bar lower chords and diagonals. U-shaped hangers support built-up floorbeams carrying steel stringers and a wood deck. Three-high rail pipe railings are placed to the inside of the truss lines. Flared stone wingwalls with parapets enclose the approach roadways. The bridge has several minor alterations, including plates bolted to the web of the floorbeams for strengthening, and a welded repair to one of the diagonals, but they do not adversely affect the overall integrity of original design. Fabricated by John Denithorne & Son, it is an early and complete example of its type and design. It is the only identified example of a pin connected thru truss highway bridge in Chester County. The bridge is among the oldest examples in the region of the pin-connected Pratt truss bridge design with standard details that were common from the mid 1880s to the early 20th century. It was built by a leading local fabricator of metal truss highway bridges.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural setting with scattered 19th to late- 20th-century residences. The southern quadrants are wooded. At the northwest quadrant is a field and at the northeast quadrant a ca. 1830 stuccoed stone residence and the stone foundation of what appears to have been a mill by evidence of a mill race.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Sheeder Mill Road Bridge

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Maps and Links: Sheeder Mill Road Bridge

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