“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Walnut Street Bridge

Walnut Street Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, March 15, 2008
1. Walnut Street Bridge Marker
Inscription. This bridge, completed in 1890, is the oldest surviving structure to have spanned the Susquehanna River and is one of the largest multi-span, truss bridges ever fabricated by the nationally significant Phoenix Bridge Company. It is also the oldest metal span bridge of its type in the U.S. and is one of the most visible bridges in the country to preserve the technology of the company's patented Phoenix column. Originally known as the "People's Bridge" because of its lower fee to cross, the structure was erected to end a long-standing toll monopoly enjoyed by the neighboring Camelback Bridge, now the site of the Market Street Bridge. Both bridges continued to collect tolls well into the 1950's. Permanently closed to vehicular traffic after damage from Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972, the Bridge was almost demolished, an action that was averted through the structure's listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Since then, it has been a pedestrian and bicycle span. The Bridge was again damaged by the ice flood in 1996, when three sections of its western span were washed away. The eastern span survived in its entirety, was thoroughly restored in 1997 and stands as a lighted icon symbolizing the Bridge's continued resilience and historical importance to the growth of the Harrisburg region.
Top Photo
Walnut Street Bridge's
Walnut Street (The People's) Bridge. image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, March 15, 2008
2. Walnut Street (The People's) Bridge.
Please click on the map and switch to the satellite view to see the three missing sections at the western end of the bridge.
Harrisburg entrance in 1891 shortly after its construction.
Middle Photo
1950 view of the Bridge's tollbooths on City Island.
Bottom Photo
1890's view toward Harrisburg of the Walnut Street (foreground) and Camelback (beyond) Bridges crossing City Island.

Erected by The Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania, The Harrisburg History Project marker series.
Location. 40° 15.544′ N, 76° 53.065′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker is at the intersection of Walnut Street and N. Front Street on Walnut Street. Click for map. Marker is on the south side of the bridge in Swenson Plaza. Marker is in this post office area: Harrisburg PA 17101, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The People’s Bridge (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named The People’s Bridge (a few steps from this marker); James McCormick Mansion (a few steps from this marker); Swenson Plaza Flood Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Harrisburg Public Library Dauphin County Library System (within shouting distance of this marker); Governors’ Row (within shouting distance of this marker); The Calder/Olmsted/McCormick Mansion (within shouting distance of this marker); Camelback and Market Street Bridges (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Harrisburg.
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsDisastersLandmarksNotable EventsRoads & Vehicles
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,954 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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