Lost and Found features brief profiles of historic landmarks and structures, one lost and one saved.

Lost

The Smithton Bridge spanning the Youghiogheny River was fabricated in 1900 by the Pittsburgh Bridge Company and erected by Nelson and Buchanan, a Chambersburg, Franklin County, contracting firm which acted as an agent for the com­pany. An important engineering landmark, the Smithton Bridge was an example of a suspended cantilever truss, introduced in the United States about 1885. Such construction was frequently employed for wide river cross­ings because it was possible to span greater distances than with simple span trusses. Until its re­cent demolition, the historic Westmoreland County span was the oldest cantilever truss high­way bridge in Pennsylvania.

 

Found

Despite its moniker “Old Shakey,” Harrisburg’s Walnut Street Bridge withstood more than a century of storms and floods – until January 20, 1996, when the ice-swollen Susquehanna River swept away two of its fifteen spans. The bridge, bisected by City Island, was built in 1890 in two sec­tions (each measuring a quarter mile) to link Dauphin and Cumberland Counties. Two weeks after the bridge was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, dam­age caused by Tropical Storm Agnes closed it to vehicular traffic. Plans are underway to recapture the popular bridge’s historic appearance by using modern materials and to reopen it to pedestrians.