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Scarlets Mill Bridge

Horseshoe Trail Bridge

Scarlets Mill Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: 2015

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Horseshoe Trail Over Railroad (Abandoned Reading Railroad)
Rural: Berks County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1881 By Builder/Contractor: Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and Engineer/Design: John L. Foreman

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
35 Feet (10.6 Meters)
Structure Length
36 Feet (11 Meters)
Roadway Width
11.2 Feet (3.41 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

View Two Bridge Patents Awarded To John L. Foreman

This bridge is one of three similar bridges remaining in the country, one other being in storage and the third being the Watkins Glen Bridge, this is one of only two that features distinctive shaped cast iron vertical members. The Watkins Glen Bridge is the one that doesn't have the shaped vertical members, and instead has pipes for vertical members. Fabricated in the shops of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad under the direction of John L. Foreman, these bridges have unusual design, typical of the early metal truss bowstring bridges of the 1870s. Built in 1881, this is a late example, but retains the experimental character of the bowstring bridges that were popular in the United States in the 1870s.

The use of a rolled beam for the top chord gives the bridge an almost modern look to it, and is quite a contrast to the shaped cast iron vertical members which make the bridge look decades older than an 1881 bridge. Typical of bowstring truss bridges from this period, the bridge has cast iron connection assemblies, following a design unique to the builder of the bridge and not shared by bowstrings built by other bridge builders. This is one of the many reasons why iron bowstring bridges from this period are so significant: each builder had their own unique design.

The bridge also includes ornamental braces at the ends of the top chord.

Please review the HAER documentation for further information on this highly significant bridge.

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Cast Iron


Photo Galleries and Videos: Scarlets Mill Bridge

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Maps and Links: Scarlets Mill Bridge

This bridge is on a very primitive hiking trail.

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