Sunday, December 28, 2014

Suspension Bridge

Snippet from, Nashville and Her Trade, 1870, Charles E. Robert

Page 381
A magnificent Wire Suspension Bridge spans the Cumberland at this place, which is reckoned as one of the finest and most substantial bridge structures in America, and perhaps the longest in the South.  It is a vast improvement on the old bridge, which was built during the year 1850, and destroyed by having its wires cut upon the evacuation of the City by the Confederate Army under General Albert Sidney Johnson, in February, 1862. The present structure is more roomy and much stronger than its predecessor. The rebuilding was commenced in July, 1865, and on May 31st, 1866, the bridge was completed and thrown open to travel. The total cost of the structure was upwards of $140,000. The architect was Major Wilbur F. Foster, of this City, who distinguished himself as an engineer in the late war, and served with honor and credit to himself as Chief Engineer on the Staff of Gen. Alex. P. Stuart.  

The wood and wire work was done under the supervision of Albert Fink, President of the Louisville Industrial Works, and now Superintendent of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, a gentleman whose reputation as a scientific and accomplished genius and industrious and energetic workman, is wide-spread. The masonry of the present Bridge is the same as that used in the old one, save the addition of six and a half feet to the piers on the Edgefield side of the river - the present pitch of the bridge being twenty-five feet lower on the Edgefield than on the Nashville side. The weight of the original cables was about 93,800 pounds, while the weight of the present cables is about 165,000 pounds. The number of wires in each of the two cables is 2,456, making the total number of wires supporting the bridge in the center, 4,912. The weight of the bridge between the towers is about 648,000 pounds, and the total strength of the cables is 7,368,000 pounds. The greatest load which can be placed on the bridge at one time, counting forty pounds to the square foot, is 604,800 pounds, and this load added to the weight of the bridge, gives us 1,252,800 pounds, so that the bridge has a strength almost six times as great as it can be loaded. The length of the bridge is about seven hundred feet, and its width thirty-five feet, which includes a splendid carriage-way about twenty-five feet wide and sidewalks on either side, each about five feet wide. The carriage-way is guarded by a heavy framing of timber, firmly riveted and bolted together, and known as the McCallum Truss pattern. This truss is secured to the cables in the center by means of heavy wrought-iron rods, which increase in length as we go toward either end of the bridge, until they reach almost to the top of the towers. These towers are four in number. The height of the bridge above low-water mark, is one hundred and ten feet. The gentlemen owning the suspension bridge are incorporated under the style of the "Broad Street Bridge Company." A Board of twelve Directors, elected annually, govern the affairs of the company.  

The present officers are: President, Byrd Douglas, Esq.; Secretary and Treasurer, A. W. Butler, Esq. 
This bridge is perhaps, one of the best paying institutions of the City, and yields a dividend of twelve per cent, per annum. It is the only foot-bridge connecting the City with Edgefield, and consequently is an indispensable necessity.