“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Mount Jewett in McKean County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Spanning History


— Kinzua Bridge State Park —

Spanning History Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, November 22, 2018
1. Spanning History Marker
Inscription.  When constructed in 1882, Kinzua Viaduct was the highest railroad bridge in the world. An engineering marvel built to access local coal, timber, and oil, the iron viaduct stood 301 feet high and spanned 2,053 feet. In 1900, workers rebuilt the bridge to accommodate heavier trains. They replaced the wrought iron structure with steel-with the notable exception of the original iron anchor bolts.

An active railroad bridge until June 1959, the Kinzua Viaduct was declared a National Engineering Landmark in 1977. Between 1987 and 2002, excursion trains crossed the viaduct. In 2002, inspection revealed extensive rust and damage from lateral winds, and the bridge was closed to both trains and pedestrians.

Winds of change
On Monday, July 21, 2003, an F1 tornado with wind speeds between 71 and 112 miles per hour struck the side of the Kinzua Viaduct. The iron anchor bolts failed, and the tornado tore 11 of the viaduct's 20 towers from their bases.

Within days of the tornado's assault on the bridge, nature began to respond to the effects of the wind. Areas that were once shaded by the forest quickly became

Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
nurseries for young plants that once competed for sunshine. Fallen trees became shelter for a variety of creatures such as insects, mice, chipmunks, and songbirds. New food sources for wildlife became available, attracting squirrels, grouse, turkey, deer, and bear. Nature's continuing efforts to erase the scars of the tornado can be seen throughout the park.

Enjoying the park

Since 1970, 339-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park has offered visitors access to not only a spectacular man-made landmark, but to natural treasures as well. Watch hawks ride ridgeline thermals.

Picnic in the shade and listen for songbirds in the forest canopy. Return as autumn foliage peaks, and take in the many-hued panorama of the Kinzua Creek Valley.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsDisastersParks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 41° 45.567′ N, 78° 35.233′ W. Marker is in Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania, in McKean County. Marker is on Viaduct Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mount Jewett PA 16740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Kinzua Viaduct (within shouting distance of this marker); Sites to See (within shouting distance of this marker); Commerce to Collapse (within

Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
shouting distance of this marker); Kinzua Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Forces of Nature (about 400 feet away); Nebo Lutheran Chapel and Cemetery (approx. 4.4 miles away); McKean County Civil War Monument (approx. 8 miles away); 1861: Birth of Civil War Bucktail Regiment (approx. 8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Jewett.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 31, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 30, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 28 times since then and 2 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on December 30, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement
Mar. 5, 2021