This bridge is an extremely rare example of a pony truss bridge employing the distinctive Phoenix Column in its truss members, specifically the top chord and end post. Although a relatively short span example, short-span pony truss bridges with Phoenix columns do not appear to be any more common than through truss examples, and indeed the pony truss examples may be more rare. Indeed, all surviving truss bridges with Phoenix columns should be assigned a very high level of historic significance regardless of truss size or configuration. This bridge was constructed by bridge builder Dean and Westbrook, one of the more prolific connoisseurs of bridges fabricated by Phoenix Bridge Company. The bottom chord is located below the floorbeams, an uncommon detail. All but one of the original pole railings is missing on the bridge. Some of the vertical members have had various repairs made to them, and/or suffered from minor impact damage. However the top chord and end post Phoenix columns, and indeed the bridge as a whole remains and appears largely unaltered from its original design, thus the significance of the bridge remains very high.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The single span, 63'-long, pin-connected, wrought iron Pratt pony truss bridge built in 1889 is supported on stone abutments. The bridge is composed of Phoenix section upper chords with cast-iron connecting pieces, built-up verticals, and eye bar diagonals and lower chords. Built-up floorbeams and rolled stringers support the timber deck. The bridge was fabricated by the Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, PA, and erected by their agents Dean & Westbrook of New York. The company was instrumental in refining and popularizing metal truss bridge technology during the last half of the 19th century. The Phoenix column, patented in 1861, was one of the first successful attempts to substitute built-up wrought iron sections for cast iron for use with compression members. Truss bridges with Phoenix column members were used widely by railroads through the mid 1880s and for highway applications through the mid 1890s. It is mostly the later highway examples, such as this 1889 bridge, that have survived in small numbers in Pennsylvania. The bridge is historically and technologically distinguished.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The single lane bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural setting of woods, active farms, and scattered 19th to late 20th century houses. The setting does not have the cohesiveness or integrity of a historic district.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Phoenix Columns
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