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calendar   Thursday - October 31, 2013

Rivetopia

Galavanting with a purpose

The 7 Bridges of Twin Rivers

Where the Lehigh River Meets the Delaware River in Phillipsburg NJ, Old Bridges Abound

Coming over from Easton Pennsylvania, the 1937 Pennsylvania Petite through truss Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge, in all it’s moderne glory, sits just 200 yards up the Delaware River from the highly unusual 1895 cantilever through truss Northampton Street bridge with all it’s odd decorative bits. 100 yards downstream the Lehigh River pours in from the west over a 12 foot tall waterfall, adding significant flow to the shallow Delaware. Hardly 100 yards behind the waterfall, an old CNJ Pratt truss carries the railway over the closed spandrel George S Smith concrete arch bridge, a nice shallow arch bridge from just before WWI that brings the road across the end of the Lehigh. Less than a stone’s throw to the east, back on the Delaware a 3 span turn of the century Parker through truss brings the CNJ over the Delaware and right up to the Lehigh. From an earlier age, yet only a few dozen yards away, a multi-span Pratt deck truss brought the D&L RR across the river until the late 1950’s or 60’s. Barely 10 feet away an under-slung “fishbelly” Warren deck truss once brought the CNJ line out of PA and into NJ across the Delaware, and may still be in use by whoever owns the lines in this day and age. You can barely see them in the picture of the 3 span Parker, but they’re there, hanging down behind it.

Somewhat incongruously, from a small park on the Easton PA side of confluence, a rather rare Mk III Driggs-Schroeder rapid fire 6pdr 2.244” naval gun from the 1880s watches over the bridges and the waters, in case Somali pirates should someday be so bold as to venture this far. And while the internet may claim that a Mk III was a Hotchkiss, there is just no arguing with the Driggs horseshoe breach design, even if the dummies in the parks system did manage to mount the gun backwards in its carriage.

All in all, it was a fun little trip through history on a gray and soggy late October’s day. Big iron and steel, millions of hand hammered rivets. Rivet-topia. And for whatever problems it might have, that corner of Easton PA is loaded with 1850s-1920s buildings, many with cast iron decorations, that recall an earlier time when the city was a happening place.

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/31/2013 at 07:13 PM   
Filed Under: • Bridges •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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