For many, the holidays are filled with stories and traditions of the past. Just hearing the song Jingle Bells makes me wonder what it would feel like to go dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Or better yet, to ride a sleigh over a historic metal truss bridge. Oh, what fun that would be!Continue reading
Few people think of history when crossing a bridge. But bridges tell an important story about engineering and technology, especially in Pennsylvania where the early years of iron, steel and concrete came together to produce many early bridges that represent an age of experimentation.Continue reading
Metal truss bridges are an important part of Pennsylvania’s engineering and technological history and stand as a legacy to the state’s iron and steel industry. Continue reading
Metal truss bridges are an important part of Pennsylvania’s engineering and technological history and are a standing legacy to the state’s iron and steel industry. Unfortunately, modern traffic needs in combination with insufficient maintenance funding, especially for locally owned bridges, has made rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance of these bridges difficult and many of them have been demolished and replaced with modern structures.
In an effort to save the remaining population, PennDOT, with help from the State Historic Preservation Office, has developed a marketing program and seeks groups or individuals interested in acquiring historic metal truss bridges that no longer can meet vehicular needs for adaptive reuse. An important feature of metal truss bridges is their ability to be dismantled and moved, giving them new life as a pedestrian or light vehicular bridge for trails, bike paths, parks, golf courses, and college campuses.
Not only do historic bridges help link a place with its local heritage, they also promote the value of recycling and provide eye-catching designs. Many of these bridges become destination spots attracting heritage tourism and adding economic development to the area.
For more information sign up for the Historic Metal Truss Bridge Newsletter. The newsletter, which will be sent out semi-annually, will highlight available bridges, how to acquire a bridge, adaptive reuse success stories and available funding.
Wherever you travel in Pennsylvania, you are likely to cross a historic bridge. These bridges are an important part of the cultural landscape and a link to Pennsylvania’s transportation and engineering history. Eventually these bridges need some level of work to continue providing a safe passage, but what is the best way to execute this work without diminishing the bridges’ historic character? By consulting and applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (the Standards) for guidance.
In June 2016, I was hired as the Transportation Special Initiatives Coordinator in the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). This new position was created through a special funding agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and was developed to assist them in marketing the state’s historic metal truss bridges. My position has evolved over the last 9 months and I see my purpose as helping both PennDOT and the SHPO preserve the remaining population of historic metal truss bridges by either marketing them for an adaptive reuse at a new location or helping to develop and implement a management plan to rehabilitate these bridges as part of the transportation system. Continue reading
Car barns are a historic remnant of a bygone era. The Johnstown Car Barns, located at 630 and 716 Central Avenue in Johnstown are no exception. Built in 1893 to service and store trolleys, these building help communicate the story of public transportation in Cambria County. The historic car barns are being offered for sale, allowing for a unique opportunity to adaptively reuse the buildings so they can be retained as an important landmark in the community.
Have you ever driven along the back roads of Pennsylvania and come across one of the state’s beautiful metal truss bridges? Or seen a massive truss bridge spanning a major river crossing? These awe-inspiring bridges are a part of Pennsylvania’s landscape and an important part of the state’s engineering and technological history. Continue reading