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Devitt Camp Road Bridge

Devitt Camp Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 29, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Devitt Camp Road (PA-1012) Over White Deer Hole Creek
Location
Rural: Union County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1902 By Builder/Contractor: King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1953
Main Span Length
112 Feet (34 Meters)
Structure Length
116 Feet (35 Meters)
Roadway Width
14.8 Feet (4.51 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
59101200400000

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

This is a bridge that so perfectly captures the historic bridge experience in Pennsylvania... a paved two-lane road that narrows to one lane to cross a pin-connected through truss before making a sharp turn to go up a steep hill that is directly behind the bridge. The truss has a nice lightly colored coat of paint on it and a beautiful builder plaque remains as well. It is these types of thing that set Pennsylvania apart from all other states in terms of the historic bridge experience.

Sadly, this Pennsylvania historic bridge experience is rapidly disappearing as PennDOT continues to demolish historic metal truss bridges at an alarming rate despite numerous available preservation alternatives.

The seven panel truss is configured as follows: Endposts: and top chord: back-to-back channels with battens and cover plate, 12 inches wide and 8 inches deep, bottom chord: up-set eyebars, diagonal members: up-set eyebars, vertical members: back-to-back channels with v-lacing on each side, struts: two pairs of riveted angles with v-lacing between, portal bracing: two pairs of riveted angles with lattice mesh and decorative curved knee bracing, floorbeams: rolled American Standard Beams, railing: three rows of pipe, deck: open metal grate on metal deck stringers.

The bridge has a number of insensitive alterations including crudely welded replacements for the ends of many diagonal members, and other welded alterations in various places on the bridge including overhead lateral bracing, sway bracing knees, and base of the end posts. However the bridge does retain some elements that are often replaced or missing on other truss bridges, such as original floorbeams and builder plaque.

Comments on National Register Eligibility

The Pennsylvania Historic Bridge Inventory found this bridge, a 100+ year old pin-connected truss bridge, ineligible for the National Register! This is a ridiculous assessment. HistoricBridges.org believes that in the 21st Century, all surviving pin-connected truss bridges that retain the majority of their original material and design should be considered eligible. The rarity of them on today's roads demands no less. Further, the need to have these bridges considered eligible is even greater in Pennsylvania because of the rapid rate at which they are being demolished. Claims in the Historic Bridge Inventory that there are tons of older and better historic bridges are extremely outdated. There has been a  massacre of pin-connected truss bridges in Pennsylvania since the Historic Bridge Inventory was conducted. Many of those rarer and less altered bridges no longer exist. Because the stupid choice was made to demolish those better bridges, there is no choice now but to work with those examples that remain, even if they are later examples and more heavily altered.

This bridge has been altered, but regardless the majority of the original material and design is still there. Some might argue that considering a bridge like this eligible would diminish the significance of having a bridge considered eligible, and would diminish the recognition of the importance of those older and more intact bridges that are currently considered eligible. HistoricBridges.org understands that it is important to distinguish altered and later examples of  pin-connected truss from earlier and less altered bridges. However the National Register's eligible/ineligible system is an all or nothing system, there is no "semi-historic" rating for example. To write a bridge like this one off as completely not historic, in other words "not eligible" is insane given the age of the bridge and the population of such bridges remaining. That being the case, there is no alternative but to consider the bridge eligible, and so eligible the bridge should be.

In particular with this bridge, it is worth noting that Pennsylvania went on a rampage to demolish two bridges built by the King Bridge Company in Clearfield County in a single construction season. One of these two bridges was one of the best examples of the King Bridge Company in the state, and the other was a bridge similar to the Devitt Camp Road Bridge. Even before this demolition, Pennsylvania only had a limited number of bridges built by the King Bridge Company Because of this demolition, the rarity of bridges built by this prolific and important bridge builder has increased dramatically, and the significance of all surviving bridges has increased greatly as well.


Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The one-span, 116'-long, pin-connected Pratt truss bridge built in 1902 is supported on ashlar abutments. The trusses are traditionally composed with the upper chords being built up box sections, the lower chords and diagonals being eye bars, and the verticals being channels with lacing. The lattice portal struts have plaques and quarter-circle brackets with star-shaped cutouts. Rolled floorbeams with U-shaped hangers support steel stringers and an open steel grid deck (1953). Verticals, diagonals, and upper lateral bracing have been irreversibly altered with welded splices and/or plates at all of the panel points. The bridge is a late example of a bridge type/design that had reached maturity in the mid 1890s. It has no unusual or noteworthy details. There are more than 120 truss bridges in the region from the 1880s to 1940s, and many are earlier and more complete. The King Bridge Co. was a prolific builder, which was especially noteworthy for its innovative work from the 1860s to 1880s, but by 1900 had settled into the role of fabricating mostly standardized truss bridge types/designs, such as this example. There are many earlier and more distinguished examples of the company's bridges in Pennsylvania. The bridge is not historically or technologically distinguished by its setting or context.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries 1 lane of a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural area of active farms and scattered modern houses. At the southern end is a T-shaped intersection against a wooded mountainside. Beyond the SE quadrant is a modern modular home. The northern quadrants are fields. Beyond the NE quadrant is a highly altered early 20th century vernacular frame farmhouse. The setting does not have the cohesiveness or integrity of a historic district.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Devitt Camp Road 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. Alternatively, Browse Without Using 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. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Video
Driving South Across The Bridge
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Driving North Across The Bridge
Full Motion Video
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: Devitt Camp Road Bridge

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

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