Skip to main content

The Capital Region's Whipple Bridges

Squire Whipple is considered "the father of the iron truss bridge".  The civil-engineer's design for bowstring truss wrought and cast iron bridges revolutionized bridge building in the mid-19th century.  His 1847 book, "A Work on Bridge Building", is considered the "...first significant theoretical formula to calculate stresses in the articulated truss.' (1)

Most of Whipple's bridges were found along the Erie Canal as his bridge design replaced many older wooden structures.  Over time, Whipple's bridges could be found in single or multiple spans throughout Northeast and Midwest.

Whipple bowstring truss bridge at Vischer's Ferry. (Adam Prince - December 2006)
Four of Whipple's bowstring truss designs can be found in the Albany area of New York State.  The first was built and designed by Mr. Whipple and can be found off of Riverview Road in Vischer's Ferry.   The bridge was constructed in 1869 and crossed the enlarged Erie Canal at Sparkers.  Like many of the bridges built by Whipple or others using his design, this bridge was moved to Fonda in 1919.
The Whipple bridge connects to the Towpath Trail within the Vischer's Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve.  (Adam Prince - December 2006)
Squire Whipple was a graduate of Union College in Schenectady.  The former Sprakers and Fonda bridge would later be restored by students, faculty and friends of the college under the direction of Dr. Frank Griggs, Jr.  The bridge was moved to cross a remnant of the old canal at Vischer's Ferry in 1998.

Normanskill Farm Bridge. (Doug Kerr - December 2006)
A second Whipple bridge sits not far to the south in Albany County.  Located off of NY 443, the Normanskill Farm Bridge is a Whipple Bowstring design that was built by Simon de Graff.  Throughout the 1800's, many bridge builders would slightly modify Whipple's design in order to avoid paying royalties and patent fees to Mr. Whipple. (2)

The bridge was constructed in 1867 and moved to its current location in 1899.  The bridge is originally thought to have come from Schoharie County but it is not 100% certain.  This bridge was moved in order to carry the Albany and Delaware Turnpike over the Normanskill.  Today, the bridge serves as a pedestrian bridge that is occasionally used by vehicles near the site of the former Stevens Farm.

A third Albany area Whipple designed bridge is located on the campus of Union College.  It is part of a pedestrian walkway near the Achilles Rink.  A fourth Whipple bridge, the Shaw Bridge in Claverack is located in Columbia County and will hopefully be restored and returned to use for pedestrian traffic.  The Shaw Bridge is a rare double span bowstring truss and was constructed in 1870.  It is believed to be the only remaining double span Whipple Bowstring Truss in the country.

Sources:

Getting There:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley

I went to Buc-ee's and came away unimpressed

Buc-ee's, the Texas-sized gas station and convenience store that started in Texas, has been expanding its territory.  New locations have sprung up in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.  Construction is underway, or plans are in place for even larger stations in Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Colorado . For nearly four decades, Buc-ee's was a Texas-only novelty.  The first location opened in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1982, and another four stores opened over the next decade.  In 2000, Buc-ee's began its Texas-sized growth by adding over 20 new stores - mainly around Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Austin/San Antonio areas.   Each store was built larger - with more gas pumps, amenities, and offerings.  The store became well-known for its clean bathrooms, fresh-cut brisket sandwiches, and wall of beef jerky.  Texans and visitors from all around would take road trips to visit new stores or get their Buc-ee's fix.   Buc-ee's has billboards advertising thei

The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh

Firebaugh is a city located on the San Joaquin River of western Fresno County.  Firebaugh is one of the oldest American communities in San Joaquin Valley having been settled as the location of Firebaugh's Ferry in 1854.  Traditionally Firebaugh has been served by California State Route 33 which was one of the original Sign State Routes announced during August 1934.  In modern times California State Route 33 is aligned through Firebaugh on N Street.  Originally California State Route 33 headed southbound passed through Firebaugh via; N Street, 8th Street, O Street, 12th Street, Nees Avenue and Washoe Avenue.  The blog cover depicts early California State Route 33 near Firebaugh crossing over a one-lane canal bridge.  The image below is from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County which depicts the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh. Part 1; the history of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh The community of Firebaugh is named in honor of Andr