Nelson and Buchannan were the loyal contractors and agents of the Pittsburgh Bridge Company. When the Pittsburgh Bridge Company was absorbed into the American Bridge Company in 1900, Nelson and Buchannan continued as their own company. This bridge is an example of their own work. The unique detail of the bottom chord connections on this 1902 bridge show that Nelson and Buchannan continued the design thinking that the Pittsburgh Bridge Company had used.
This bridge is significant in its own right as a beautiful span of considerable size that retains good historic integrity. It is further significant as one of the largest examples of Nelson and Buchannan's work, and one of the few surviving examples of their work that features design outside of a Pratt through truss bridge or a warren pony truss (including work under the Pittsburgh Bridge Company). It is a bridge that is a key part of Pennsylvania's transportation and industrial history.
The approaching roadway leading to this bridge was substantially damaged by a flood in 2011. This flood also deposited a bunch of debris on the bridge deck, however the truss itself seems to have been undamaged. The photo gallery for this bridge includes some photos showing the bridge after the flood.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The single span, 179'-long and 17' wide, pin-connected Parker thru truss bridge is supported on ashlar abutments. The trusses are traditionally detailed with built up box section upper chords and end posts and eye bar diagonals and lower chords. The floorbeams are framed into the lower end of the verticals, but the connection of the eye bar lower chord with the vertical is with a pin. The bridge is a fine albeit later example of its truss design, which was used for longer spans because it added depth where it is needed most -- at the center of the bridge. The span was constructed using Act of 1895 funds. It is historically and technologically significant based on its completeness, date of construction, rareness of the truss design, and association with a prolific fabricator. It is one of 3 early Parker thru truss bridges in the county, and all are significant.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The single lane bridge carries a township road over a stream in a sparsely developed area that does not appear to have historic district potential. There are modern houses on the east side of the bridge.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
Information From Skelly and Loy Demolition Mitigation Website
County Bridge Number 41 is a pin-connected Parker thru truss bridge. Nelson and Buchanan fabricated the bridge in 1902. It is a 179' long, 17' wide, single span bridge supported on ashlar abutments. The upper chords and end posts are built up box sections, and the lower chords and diagonals are eye bars. The eye bar lower chord is connected to the vertical with a pin, and the floorbeams are framed into the lower end of the verticals. The deck has been replaced by an open steel grid deck. This bridge has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
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