The trekking continues, and as we follow Mr. Childs through time and across borders and find his once prolific life’s work in bridge framing now limited to one standing example. (see Living Legacy) So sadly, we also find the living embodiment of his most successful Apprentice’s (see Names & Places) life’s work likewise limited to but one standing example.
Their lives and works understandably forever paralleled in their own time, and curiously, now with little more than happenstance to connect them, these parallels somehow seemingly continue on into ours.
I recently visited the Town of Warner, a town both Master & Apprentice knew well, with both having built bridges in numbers on its namesake River, for both highway travel and for the Railroad which formerly paralleled the rivers banks. There I took in the Waterloo Station Bridge hoping to find a better sense of how the Masters Apprentice, Dutton Woods approached his work. With The Waterloo being the last still standing to speak for him, my intent was to find a better sense of Dutton the framer, Dutton the Bridgewright, but found that voice somewhat muffled, by probable impact damage and a successive series of repairs and attempts to increase capacity.
Unlike the Childs legacy standing in the Rowell’s and its intact Tie and Lateral Bracing System, in the Waterloo there is a mish-mash of repair, and even entire system replacement.
With true timber joinery in Town Trusses limited to the Tie’s and Laterals, there is little of the mans voice there to suggest how he originally configured the framing, (photographs will have to speak for him) or what he might think of what remains if again he were to tread this ground.
The Waterloo’s lightness in framing speaks to the builders varied abilities, and this Railroad Bridgewrights’ capacity to design a bridge to fit the need at hand. To fit both the traffic the bridge would carry, and the towns budget.
It is near time for a tune-up, and the replacement steel rod Lateral Bracing systems are bent and tired, rusted and worn. Perhaps it is not too forward thinking to hope and suggest that a cohesive and compatible, original type wooden system should see a return to both the Woods and Wooden Bridge legacies.