Design

Learning The Hard Way

That beauty in the photo is the 1883 Smithfield Street Bridge over the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh. The crenelated steel castle in the foreground is the end portal for the bridge; the actual bridge structure is a set of lenticular trusses visible above and the left of that green streetcar. The designer was Gustav Lindenthal, …

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Weird and Heavily Travelled

I took the 42nd Street shuttle last week for the first time in years. I don’t consciously avoid that train but I tend to try to arrange my subway trips in Manhattan so that I don’t have to transfer, even if that means walking a bit. To clarify: the vast majority of my subways trips …

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38 Years And I Haven’t Forgotten

My latest look at the HABS/HAER index turned up “steel I-beams” as a category, and I obviously had no choice but to take a look. Most of the surveys with that tag were truss bridges. I’m interested in trusses, but I wanted something different. The photo above is from the HABS survey of the Raritan …

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A Well-Pedigreed Oddity

The cute little suspension bridge in the postcard above – one of the Detroit Publishing Company’s cards, titled “Connecticut River and Suspension Bridge, Brattleboro, Vt.” – is unfortunately gone. It opened in 1889 and was destroyed by a flood in 1936. In a few years it will have been gone for twice as long as …

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Again, Form Follows Function

Berenice Abbott, for her “Changing New York” project, took this picture of a firehouse in December 1935. She labelled it as “Park Avenue and East 135th Street” but it’s a little more complicated than that, since that location is where those two streets end at the Harlem River. Most of the avenues continue over bridges …

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