1930s, Culture, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Travel, Vintage

S Is For Bridge

May 1932 by Jacob Gayer for Nat Geo

Ever seen the likes of this before? Not me. Not around these parts. Maybe it’s a Northern thing. This S bridge in Hendrysburg, Ohio was built with “manholes,” or safety niches where a pedestrian could get out of the way of a runaway team of horses. While many S bridges were generally used for crossing curving streams with uneven banks, this one served a more unique purpose. Motorcars eventually made the bridges obsolete.

12 thoughts on “S Is For Bridge”

  1. I assumed it was going to be some traffic calming measure, forcing people to slow down. I never would have guessed that the purpose of those curves was for people to jump out of the way of horses. That was a really specific thought process the engineers went through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? It must have happened enough time for them to create bridges that way. I don’t hear a lot of history about runaway horse teams. You visited all the historic places, so they would have told you if that happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting tidbit from the “Ohio History Central” website:
    The reason for the unusual shape was to make construction easier for the workers. When the National Road crossed a creek or stream at an angle, the workers built the bridge’s supporting arches at a right angle to the stream. This process allowed water to flow through the arches more easily and also allowed workers easier access to build the bridges from each side of a creek or stream. Some people claim that the S-Bridges were designed to stop runaway horses, but there is no supporting evidence for this claim. A total of five S-Bridges existed along the National Road in Ohio.

    Liked by 1 person

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