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Wipper Will Road Bridge

Wipper Will Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 1, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Wipper Will Road (TR-334) Over Little Sandy Creek
Rural: Venango County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1904 By Builder/Contractor: Rochester Bridge and Construction Company of Rochester, New York

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
46 Feet (14 Meters)
Structure Length
46 Feet (14 Meters)
Roadway Width
14 Feet (4.27 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

This historic bridge was demolished and replaced in 2007!

The name of the road his bridge carried is likely derived from the Whip-poor-will bird, a bird associated with mythical superstitions and beliefs. Native American legend held that the singing of this bird was a death omen. By 2008, it would seem this road's name was appropriate, as this bridge was demolished and replaced with a mundane slab of concrete and steel. Small bridges may often be less historically significant, but they are also far less expensive to restore. The Wipperwill Road Bridge was a repairable bridge, with a deck wider than the road it carried, which is visible in the photo above, on this page.

The historic bridge inventories often downplay the importance of bridges built by small bridge companies. Certainly, it is important to preserve bridges that represent the work of a company who revolutionized the world of bridges, but it also makes sense to preserve bridges that are built by small companies who would be forgotten completely if it weren't for a few surviving bridges built by them. Such is the case with this bridge, built by the Rochester Bridge and Construction Company.

The truss configuration on this bridge looks more like a double-intersection Warren truss to me more so than a Pratt. But with a bridge this short consisting of only four panels, the different truss types can run together.

Another legend, based in New England, held that the Whip-poor-will bird could sense a soul departing and capture it. Indeed, the soul of Wipperwill road has been lost with the demolition of this bridge. The bridge made the road more than just a road, it made it something beautiful, and something with a physical history that could be seen, touched, and used. A bridge this small would have been so inexpensive to restore, it is a shame to see it lost.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 1904, riveted, single span, 46'-long, Pratt pony truss bridge is supported on ashlar abutments with wingwalls. The bridge is fabricated from metal angles. Ca. 1990 the lower chords were replaced in kind. A short and undistinguished example of riveted truss bridge technology, the bridge has no innovative or distinctive details. Riveted truss bridges have been used on Pennsylvania highways since ca. 1890. Earlier examples or those with innovative or distinctive details better represent the technology. Nor is the bridge builder, a small fabricator of metal truss bridges and other structural steel work, historically noteworthy. This bridge is neither historically nor technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries 1 lane of an unimproved road over a stream in a rural agricultural area undistinguished, predominantly early 20th century vernacular farmhouses. The setting does not have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


Photo Galleries and Videos: Wipper Will Road Bridge

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Maps and Links: Wipper Will Road Bridge

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

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