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Wheeling Suspension Bridge

   
                  


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Bridge Documented: July 4, 2006
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Key Facts
Bridge Name Facility Carried / Feature Intersected Location Structure Type Construction Date and Builder/Engineer
Wheeling Suspension Bridge
10th Street / Virginia Street (WV-251) Over Ohio River Wheeling: Ohio County, West Virginia Metal Pony Truss Stiffening Wire Cable Suspension, Fixed 1849 By Builder/Contractor: Charles Ellet
Technical Facts
Rehabilitation Date Main Span Length Structure Length Roadway Width Main Spans NBI Number
1999 949 Feet (289.3 Meters) 1307 Feet (398.4 Meters) 20 Feet (6.1 Meters) 1 35A090

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Drawings, PDF - HAER Data Pages, PDF

View The National Register Nomination Form For This Historic Bridge

Turning The Spotlight From Wheeling's Suspension Bridge For A Moment

This bridge is located in Wheeling, which is noted for its preserved Wheeling Suspension Bridge, that, like wooden covered bridges, is getting all the attention, when some of the attention should be shifted to other historic bridges. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is a bridge whose historic significance is without compare, and as such it is an important bridge to note. But there is a classic historic bridge discrimination event unfolding in Wheeling. Quite simply, the problem is Georgia Street Bridge, and more importantly the Bridgeport Bridge. While maybe not a pre-Civil War bridge, these stunning metal truss bridges are indeed historically significant for their length as well as their design and age. Each are nationally significant as extremely large and rare examples of pre-1900 bridge construction. In particular, the Bridgeport Bridge has unparalleled design and significance. It is the last remaining landmark-sized bridge known in the United States built by the prolific and important Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio. This is to say nothing of its beauty, as an ornate mastery of engineering. Its complex geometric beauty formed by its Parker truss configuration, coupled with decorative finials, portals, and railings create a bridge that is a work of art. The Georgia Street Bridge is perhaps not as large and imposing as the Bridgeport Bridge, but as a pin connected Pennsylvania truss also with ornate portal decorations, it is also a remarkable bridge. If these two bridges could be restored and promoted as attractions, it would turn Wheeling into an unparalleled historic bridge destination, and would also allow the town to continue to be a beautiful place for residents. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is the beginning of a preservation success story for Wheeling, but it should not be the end of the story! The demolition of either or both of Wheeling's two truss bridges would mark a huge loss for the historic bridge community, and would represent a huge loss for Wheeling.

About The Bridge

Much has been written about this national treasure. Both the National Register Nomination Form as well as the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Data Pages contain an extensive discussion of the bridge. Dr. Emory Kemp, a noted expert on historic bridges, composed the nomination form, and also provided assistance with the HAER documentation as well. HistoricBridges.org does not intend to restate what has already been recorded, so consult those sources for an excellent history of this bridge. Note that among the HAER drawings is a copy of an original drawing by Charles Ellet, who designed the bridge.

It isn't always apparent to the eye when visiting the bridge, but this bridge runs on a grade. It is interesting that a bridge so old should have a grade to it. Most pre-1900 bridges do not run on a grade. This bridge is one of the few bridges in the entire country to be designated a National Historic Landmark, the highest honor the United States bestows upon historic structures.

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Photos and Videos: Wheeling Suspension Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
View Photo Gallery 2006 Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery 2009-2010 Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
Additional overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery 2006 Documentation
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Photo Gallery 2009-2010 Documentation
Mobile Optimized Gallery
Additional overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Photo Gallery Rainy Day Visit
Some additional interpretive signage and historical photos are available here as well. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original / Full Sized photos and Mobile/Smartphone Optimized (Reduced Size) photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Video
Eastbound Crossing of the Bridge
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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