Homage Found

In casting a net in a search for more in depth information on the Sullivan Railroad Bridge, I’ve thus-far turned up a strange dichotomy. Both hugely deep information about some of the fine day to day type details of a kind almost always lost to us, that, and a complete void in the side of things which often does survive.

Strangely and sadly, it seems almost certain there are no known photographs of this bridge. The Sullivan RR replaced it in 1882 with an Iron Lattice variant. Photographs or even stereoscopic cards potentially do exist, and yet sit undiscovered in some dusty attic.

Here a map is seen prepared for planning of the ’05 Steel Arch, the Sullivan RR is still a going concern, not yet gobbled up by the B&M.

The deep findings are to do with the bridges designer, and hands on engineer, George Alanson Parker, who I referred to in an earlier entry. (see Lost to Evermore) In the following both the effort to build the Sullivan is described, as well as the PB&W RR Bridge, which I described in “Lost”

Sources suggest, and it seems almost entirely probable that it was in the framing of the Sullivan that George came to know, and have the kind of entire faith in the man, that saw him recruit Nichols Powers to the effort to build the bridge at Havre de Grace.

A “Powers” is here listed as among those George knew as being of those “the best worth knowing”. I’m always suspect of those who find in history what they wish to find, yet see no revisionism in wondering if this was our Nichols.

I reproduce the description of George’s career here in its entirety, well, because it is way cool source material, and it seems to merit a “bump” back out into the light of the present day.

About Will Truax

I'm a timberframer and preservation carpenter, and regularly work on Covered Bridge restoration projects. Bridgewrighting can be a tough row to hoe, for a myriad of reasons. From scheduling issues to differing opinions and philosophies on what is appropriate in methods and materials, to multiple jurisdictions still not sufficiently vetting bidders resumes - Which is to say, just because a company is on that state approved list and capable of building that seven figure overpass, this does not mean they are capable of restoring a wooden bridge... So, I have much to say about all this and more - And despite my tough row observation, I promise not to whine. View all posts by Will Truax

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