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Alderson Memorial Bridge

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1914, Frank D. McEnteer. Monroe Street spanning the Greenbrier River
  • Alderson Memorial Bridge (State Historic Preservation Office, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Michael Gioulis)

Now reserved for pedestrian use, this reinforced concrete bridge affords convenient access between “the two Aldersons.” It stretches 453 feet in length but is only 21 feet wide, including the cantilevered sidewalks. Four shallow concrete arches, poured in place and filled with earth, support the roadway. These arches rest on stone abutments and piers, now pargeted with concrete, that were built for the predecessor span, an 1882 steel-truss bridge constructed by the Pittsburgh Bridge Company. The present bridge has a graceful five-foot camber, or convex curve, from each end to the center. When completed, it was the state's longest earth-filled reinforced concrete arched bridge—a distinction it still holds.

Frank McEnteer was an early exponent of reinforced concrete construction. He formed the Concrete Steel Bridge Company of Clarksburg the year he built the Alderson span, and the company went on to construct over a thousand bridges throughout West Virginia before it dissolved at the outset of the Depression. When a new highway bridge opened downstream in 1977, the community launched an effort to save this one. It was subsequently closed to vehicles and renamed the Alderson Memorial Bridge. In 1978 the National Trust for Historic Preservation gave the town of Alderson its President's Award for this achievement.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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