Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Author: Tyra Guyton

Tyra Guyton is the Transportation Special Initiatives Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office with a special interest in adaptive reuse of PennDOT's metal truss bridges. She received her Master's degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Maryland.

O’er the Bridge We Go!

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!

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Metal Truss Bridges Survey Update: More Bridges Determined Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places

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

Sign Up for the new Historic Metal Truss Bridge Newsletter!

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.

Click here to sign up!

Guidance for the Treatment of Historic Bridges

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.

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Bridge to the Past: PennDOT’s Historic Metal Truss Bridge Management Plan

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

Local Landmark for Sale: Johnstown Car Barns

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.

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Fall in Love with a Metal Truss Bridge

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

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