This bridge is located in Wheeling, which is noted for its preserved Wheeling Suspension Bridge, that, like wooden covered bridges, is getting all the attention, when some of the attention should be shifted to other historic bridges. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is a bridge whose historic significance is without compare, and as such it is an important bridge to note. But there is a classic historic bridge discrimination event unfolding in Wheeling. Quite simply, the problem is Georgia Street Bridge, and more importantly the Bridgeport Bridge. While maybe not a pre-Civil War bridge, these stunning metal truss bridges are indeed historically significant for their length as well as their design and age. Each are nationally significant as extremely large and rare examples of pre-1900 bridge construction. In particular, the Bridgeport Bridge has unparalleled design and significance. It is the last remaining landmark-sized bridge known in the United States built by the prolific and important Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio. This is to say nothing of its beauty, as an ornate mastery of engineering. Its complex geometric beauty formed by its Parker truss configuration, coupled with decorative finials, portals, and railings create a bridge that is a work of art. The Georgia Street Bridge is perhaps not as large and imposing as the Bridgeport Bridge, but as a pin connected Pennsylvania truss also with ornate portal decorations, it is also a remarkable bridge. If these two bridges could be restored and promoted as attractions, it would turn Wheeling into an unparalleled historic bridge destination, and would also allow the town to continue to be a beautiful place for residents. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is the beginning of a preservation success story for Wheeling, but it should not be the end of the story! The demolition of either or both of Wheeling's two truss bridges would mark a huge loss for the historic bridge community, and would represent a huge loss for Wheeling.
Much has been written about this national treasure. Both the National Register Nomination Form as well as the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Data Pages contain an extensive discussion of the bridge. Dr. Emory Kemp, a noted expert on historic bridges, composed the nomination form, and also provided assistance with the HAER documentation as well. HistoricBridges.org does not intend to restate what has already been recorded, so consult those sources for an excellent history of this bridge. Note that among the HAER drawings is a copy of an original drawing by Charles Ellet, who designed the bridge.
It isn't always apparent to the eye when visiting the bridge, but this bridge runs on a grade. It is interesting that a bridge so old should have a grade to it. Most pre-1900 bridges do not run on a grade. This bridge is one of the few bridges in the entire country to be designated a National Historic Landmark, the highest honor the United States bestows upon historic structures.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Unorganized Photos
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