This bridge is a Pennsylvania through truss with pinned connections. The top chord and end posts are organized into the five parts, making it technologically similar to a Camelback truss as opposed to a Parker truss. HAER has an extensive set of data sheets that detail the rich history of this structure.
As an overview, this bridge is one of the most significant bridges in the United States, and thankfully it has been restored for pedestrian use. Unlike the rest of Tennessee, who has publicly declared that it will be demolishing nearly all of its truss bridges, Chattanooga has made the decision that benefits everybody, from historians, bridge enthusiasts, to people who simply cross the bridge for pleasure or purpose. The bridge is a landmark and an attraction for the city, and will likely help bring further prosperity and tourism to the city. The restoration was well done, most notably, leaving historically correct railings on the bridge, is a rare but welcome asset to the restored bridge. There have been other insensitive modifications to the structure, but these may predate the recent restoration. Most blatant is the welding of i-beams on top of the portal bracing, which is quite detrimental to the proper appearance of the bridge.
The bridge was completed in 1891 and as a large landmark structure, this is likely the largest remaining monument to the skill and capabilities of the Smith Bridge Company, a prolific late 19th century bridge company. As a Pennsylvania truss, it utilizes one of the most visually impressive, intricate truss configurations. The approach system at the northern end of the bridge, supported by complex wrought iron bents, is not to be overlooked either, nor are the very tall stone piers. All of this is topped off with an ornate portal bracing, which also features a large plaque made up of smaller Smith Bridge Company style plaques that resemble individual plaques found on smaller through truss bridges built by the company.
A special thanks to Dave Michaels for visiting this bridge and providing his numerous and magnificent photos to HistoricBridges.org, taken in 2006. These photos have been supplemented by additional HistoricBridges.org photo galleries from 2014. Be sure to view both sets of photos as excellent photos can be found in each.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Arch Lattice Railing
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