This bridge is the smaller of only two known bowstring truss bridges designed and patented by Joseph G. Henszey. Learn more about the bridge design and its significance on the other bridge's page. The other bridge was relocated and preserved at Central Penn College. The Conestoga Creek Road was rehabilitated or altered in 1925, and ca. 1950, the bridge was essentially replaced by a steel stringer bridge, however the trusses were salvaged and attached to the stringer where they function only as decorations and railings. Since the trusses are the elements of the original bridge that are unique and significant, they remain an extremely important historic structure. They retain good historic integrity, however repeated flooding has bent elements of the trusses, and the unusual tie rods are extremely bent up. However these issues are easy to correct during restoration.
This bridge is slated for replacement, however Central Penn College has expressed interest in bringing this bridge to their campus as well, where it could be restored and used by pedestrians like its larger brother on campus.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The single span, 54'-long bridge consists of a pair of bowstring trusses that no longer carry live loads. The live loads are now carried by stringers place through the trusses ca. 1950. The trusses are Henszey's patented bowstring arch-trusses, fabricated in 1869 by the Continental Bridge Co. of Philadelphia. They consist of built-up tubular upper chord members of two quarter circle section bowed-web channels, similar to half Phoenix sections. The trusses have vertical straps for the web and paired bars for the lower chord. A pinconnected tie back system of rods with turnbuckles is anchored in end posts at the abutment corners. The end posts appear to have been concrete encased at later date, but cast-iron bearings with compression fitting slots for the upper chord are visible at the bases. Only one other example of Joseph G. Henszey's patented design is known to exist in the country. It is a longer example carrying Kings Road over Ontelaunee Creek in Lehigh County (1869, NRlisted). Although this example has alterations, integrity is considered secondary to recognizing the historical and technological significance of this exceptionally rare design from the early developmental era of the prefabricated metal truss bridge technology.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a 1 lane road over a stream in a rural area of active farms and scattered late 20th century houses. At the southern quadrants are a trailer home and ca. 1950 ranch house. The setting does not have the cohesiveness or integrity of a historic district.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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