DIGITAL DOCUMENT

Driving Park Avenue Bridge 1889-1890

Source: Landmark Society of Western New York

ENGINEERING RECORD

The First Spandrel-braced Arch Truss Bridge

The Driving Park Avenue Bridge was constructed in two years, from 1889 to 1890, by the Rochester Bridge and Iron Works, based on design plans by Leffert L. Buck. The bridge is 717 feet long, spanning the 200-foot deep Genesee River Gorge. The design employed spandrel bracing; a technique specifically used for traversing gorges.

Historians should particularly note important features that are documented in the Engineering Record:

  • The Driving Park Avenue Bridge is considered to be the first spandrel-braced arch truss bridge built in the United States.
  • It was constructed near the end of the iron bridge era when steel was beginning to come into use and was one of the last wrought-iron bridges constructed.
  • The first Carthage Bridge was built at this location in 1819 and lasted only a year and a day.
  • The second Carthage Bridge fell into the river gorge without warning during 1857, having lasted less than 10 months.
  • The Driving Park Bridge was trouble-free for its first 48 years, when it was closed in 1938 to replace the original oak timber deck with open steel grating.
  • The main arch span was 428 feet long and the arch rib rose vertically to approximately 68 feet at the center.
  • The two approach spans measured 93 feet on the west side and 103 feet on the east.
  • The bridge was called the Seneca Park Bridge for many years.

The bridge was replaced in its entirety in 1990 with the current Driving Park Bridge.

Topic: Driving Park Avenue Bridge
Secondary Topic: Engineering Record
Neighborhood: Lower Falls
Date: 1890s

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This digital document made available by Landmark Society of Western New York.

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DRIVING PARK AVENUE BRIDGE

The Driving Park Avenue Bridge is considered to be the first spandrel-braced arch truss bridge built in the United States. It was constructed near the end of the iron bridge era when steel was beginning to come into use and was one of the last wrought-iron bridges constructed.

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Landmark Society of Western New York

The Landmark Society of Western New York, Inc., is one of the nation’s oldest and most active historic preservation organizations. It is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to helping our region’s communities preserve and capitalize on their rich architectural, historical, and cultural heritage. The Landmark Society’s service area covers nine counties in western New York centered on the City of Rochester.

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