Spanning the Schuylkill River at Spring Garden Street.
This bridge makes last week's Lost Bridge look like a pile of assholes. While last week's was the first covered bridge in the country, this one was Philadelphia's first to hold the record of longest single span in the country... by 100 feet! Thought it had all kinds of proper and official names, most people called it The Colossus.
|Like this, but a bridge.|
Without the need to build stone piers in the middle of the river, his bridge design was not only the most high tech, but the cheapest to build. Construction began on April 28th, 1812. Wernwag spanned the river with 4 arches of wood that were 4' x 1' at the ends and 3' x 1' in the middle. The rest was a latticework of big-ass timber that was in turn covered over with decorative panels. 10 little windows were cut into each side. Iron wires moored the bridge to its stone anchors on either end.
|This is how it looked under the cover.|
Wernwag went on to become a bridge-building celebrity starchitect and designed a shitload of bridges for the remainder of his life. The Colossus burned down in 1838 and was replaced by Ellet's Wire Bridge at Fairmount. Ellet was such a cock that he re-used the stone anchors that were laid down by Wernwag.
As everyone who reads this probably already knows, the current bridges over the Schuylkill look like butt. They're all pretty much just highway causeways with a few decorative elements (that suck). Back when the Colossus was built, crossing the Schuylkill was not easy and people appreciated it a helluva lot more. Hopefully the next time we replace one of the river bridges, we'll do a better job. Based on the assness of the new South Street Bridge, that's highly unlikely.
|We sure as hell won't build one that looks this good again. Balls.|