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My World - an engineering masterpiece
In 1915, Hemphill County contracted with the Canton Bridge Co. of Ohio to erect a bridge over the Canadian River, on the edge of Canadian, Texas. The Canadian River Wagon Bridge was completed in just a year and was the largest metal structure west of the Mississippi in 1916.The bridge spans 3,255ft, after an expansion was made to it of 4 additional spans in 1923, when the river cut a new channel. The bridge became a part of SH 33 (State Highway) and fell under the jurisdiction of the Texas Highway Department. The bridge carried pedestrian, horse, wagon and eventually motorized traffic over the years and was a source of great local pride. I took alot of my pictures in monochrome shades to evoke visions of it's history. It is easy to picture it with wagons along it's lengthy span. In 1937 major repairs were necessary after heavy usage; the timber flooring, stringers, straighten trusses and reinforced railings were replaced or added to it. As can be seen in the shot above, due to its size, even repairs were a major undertaking.The bridges 1923 trusses are the latest known examples of pin-connected metal truss spans in the state of Texas. This technology has now been replaced by riveted connections. When you're standing on it and looking around, the engineering is very impressive and almost artistic in its lines.Construction on a new cement bridge adjacent to the old bridge, began in February 1951. Just two months later, a span on the old bridge collapsed when a 10-ton carryall was travelling across it. Eighteen months later a second span collapsed, increasing the urgency for the new bridge, which was completed in July 1953.The old bridge was removed from service and became eligible for the National Register, due to it's importance as a local and regional transportation route, as well as being a major engineering accomplishment.On July 1st 2000, after 5 yrs of restoration, the bridge was reopened and is now part of a scenic hiking and biking trail over the Canadian River. This was the first time I have ever seen the bridge free of pedestrians thanks to the rain, and so it was the perfect opportunity for a private photo shoot! It is a wonderful piece of local history and a feat of great engineering beauty.