Skip to main content

Travel New England: Highgate Falls Parabolic Truss Bridge


The parabolic truss bridge in Highgate Falls, Vermont is a state owned historic bridge located in Franklin County.  The historic bridge, which was built in 1887, is one of the few remaining examples of this once very common style.  Built by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company, a Connecticut-based company that built hundreds of bridges in New England and the United States in the late 1800s, the nearly 300 foot span crosses the Missisquoi River.

The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.  An agreement between the Federal Highway Administration and the Vermont Agency of Transportation in 1998 created the Vermont Historic Bridge Program that allowed for the rehabilitation and preservation of the Highgate Falls and numerous other bridges throughout the state.



The bridge carried vehicular traffic until 1976 and would be re-opened for pedestrian use in 2000. (1)  One of the notable features of the bridge is the many ornate details.

The parabolic or lenticular design was developed by William Douglas.  In 1878, the Berlin Iron Bridge Company purchased the rights to Douglas's patent and began to standardize and pre-assemble parts for numerous bridges throughout New England and the United States.  The main parabolic/lenticular span runs 215 feet while a pony truss bridge on the south approach runs 80 feet.


All photos taken by post author - August 19, 2006.

How to get there:


Further Reading:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Niagara Falls

  Arguably the world's most famous waterfall, or rather a set of waterfalls, Niagara Falls may not need much of an introduction, as it is a very popular tourist attraction in both New York State and the Province of Ontario, a destination of plenty of honeymooning couples, vacationing families and college students out for a good time for a weekend. Niagara Falls is also the site of many daredevil activities over the years, such as tightrope walking and going over the falls in a barrel. It is always nice to have a bit of a refresher, of course. Niagara Falls is made up of two main waterfalls, American Falls (also known as Rainbow Falls), which is on the American side of the border and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), where the border between the United States and Canada crosses. There is also a smaller waterfall on the New York side of the border, which is Bridal Veil Falls. The height of the waterfalls are impressive, with Horseshoe Falls measuring at

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

Route 75 Tunnel - Ironton, Ohio

In the Ohio River community of Ironton, Ohio, there is a former road tunnel that has a haunted legend to it. This tunnel was formerly numbered OH 75 (hence the name Route 75 Tunnel), which was renumbered as OH 93 due to I-75 being built in the state. Built in 1866, it is 165 feet long and once served as the northern entrance into Ironton, originally for horses and buggies and later for cars. As the tunnel predated the motor vehicle era, it was too narrow for cars to be traveling in both directions. But once US 52 was built in the area, OH 93 was realigned to go around the tunnel instead of through the tunnel, so the tunnel was closed to traffic in 1960. The legend of the haunted tunnel states that since there were so many accidents that took place inside the tunnel's narrow walls, the tunnel was cursed. The haunted legend states that there was an accident between a tanker truck and a school bus coming home after a high school football game on a cold, foggy Halloween night in 1