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Schuylkill River Bridges

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19th century. Schuylkill River and Fairmount Park
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)
  • (© George E. Thomas)

The bridges of Philadelphia County crossing the Schuylkill are generally uninspiring, but two late-nineteenth-century bridges within Fairmount Park add to its pleasures. Just north of the crude welded steel Girard Avenue Bridge, which replaced the elegant wrought-iron structure designed in 1875 by Henry A. Sims to provide access to the Centennial Grounds and demolished in 1969, is the high steel-arched “trolley bridge” known as the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. A lacy confection of light steel members, it was designed to serve a gravity trolley line within the park and was constructed in 1894 by engineers Theodore Cooper and Russell Fair Jr. and the Phoenix Bridge Company. Farther north at East Falls is the steel box girder Falls Bridge that links Coulter Street with W. River Drive. Designed by James H. Windrim with city engineer George Smedley Webster and constructed in 1895, it is a dense web of steel beams and wrought-iron bands that was apparently intended to carry an upper deck. As a part of the city's celebration of the millennium, the Schuylkill bridges were lighted with a variety of light standards from Walnut Street to the Falls.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Schuylkill River Bridges", [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 122-122.

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