New Garden Historical Commission
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Sandra Detterline, P.E., the Bridge Engineer hired by the
township to advise us on the bridge project, did some research at
the County Engineering office where she worked earlier in her
career and has uncovered what are apparently the original plans
for the Landenberg Bridge. An interesting note on the linen
drawing gives the specification for the original paint color
scheme: "all iron work to have two coats of good mineral
paint. Railings to be finished in white all other work to be
red". (some paint research will be needed to determine
exactly what shade "white" and "red" would
have been back then).
Her discoveries definitely prove that the bridge was
originally a county bridge (Chester County Bridge number 53).
This was strongly suspected, but this is the first documentation
of it. The bridge was authorized by Chester County Commissioners
R. T. Garrett, D. E. Chambers, and Townsend Moulder around 1899.
Once Sandra knew the county bridge number, she went through
her personal photo collection and found negatives of three photos
of the bridge taken by County Engineer Harry K. Ellis back in the
1930's (she had purchased these at the Engineer's estate sale a
few years back). These photos are much higher quality than others
we have been using, and show some excellent detail that we would
otherwise have had to guess at.
Sandra found a set of plans for a "welding repair"
project done in 1932. Apparently at this time the cross-bars of
the trusses were welded together to keep them from rattling as
vehicles crossed the bridge. Similar "repairs" were
also done to several other County Truss bridges at that time.
Engineers looking back at this today consider that welding
inappropriate, since the truss no longer functioned as a
pin-connected truss after that. PennDOT, if fact, cited these
welds as one of the reasons the bridge was "not
repairable" when other problems were found sixty years
Sandra also found the records of a stringer replacement
project done back in the 1934. The original set apparently lasted
only 35 years, but the second set was "good" for
sixty-five years. It was the serious deterioration of this set of
stringers that led to the closing of the bridge a few years ago.
A photograph of the bridge dated 1934.
A photograph dated 1934 showing the newly replaced stringers.
Detail photo of the new strngers in1934.