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

Kinzua Bridge

The Life, Death and Renewal

 
 
Kinzua Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 29, 2017
1. Kinzua Bridge Marker
Inscription.
An Engineering and Historical Marvel. The need to transport coal, oil and lumber across the Kinzua Valley inspired General Thomas Kane, president of the New York, Lake Erie and Western railroad and Coal Company, and Octave Chanute, chief engineer for the Erie Railroad, to design a colossal viaduct.

Constructed by 125 men in a mere 24 days, the Kinzua Bridge was the tallest viaduct in the world when completed in 1882. Standing 301 feet tall (24 feet higher that the Brooklyn Bridge), the span was billed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World."


From Timber to Tourists: The Many Lives of Kinzua Bridge. Kinzua Bridge was an instant sensation. Not only was it successful in transporting Kane's coal across the valley, but it became a popular tourist attraction. Train excursions crossing the bridge were the next best thing to flying!

Around 1900, the original iron bridge was replaced with a steel structure to accommodate the modern heavier trains crossing the valley. Freight trains continued to roar across the span until 1959.

In 1987, excursion trains were reintroduced and began running through the Allegheny National Forest and across the bridge, providing the thrill of riding the "Tracks Across the Sky."
Wind vs. Steel: A Force of Nature. On July 21, 2003, the bridge was struck by
Kinzua Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 29, 2017
2. Kinzua Bridge Marker
Marker is at the east edge of the parking area in Kinzua Bridge State Park. The building in the background is the visitors center. This is a "talking" marker. For pictures of the bridge, see the "nearby markers".
winds of up to 112 mph. Hundreds of trees were torn from their roots, and 11 of the bridge's 20 towers were tossed onto the valley floor.

In 30 seconds, the power of nature brought the majestic span to its knees.

Kinzua Bridge: The Renewal of an Icon. Today you can once again walk a portion of the "Tracks Across the Sky."

Built on six of the bridge's towers that have been restored, the sky walk offers a unique glimpse into the bridge's history revealing the ingenuity, dedication and determination of its designers and builders.

Follow General Kane's Trail and Nature's Power. This mile-long loop trail is named for General Thomas Leiper Kane - the visionary behind the Kinzua Bridge. During the Civil War, Kane assembled the famed Bucktail Regiment. He also supported slave rights and, later, the Latter-day Saint movement as it migrated westward.

The trail, through hardwood forests of black cherry and chestnut trees, includes areas both ravaged and renewed by nature itself since the 2003 tornado. Difficulty level is moderate.
 
Erected by Allegheny National Forests, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resouces, Pennsylvania Wilds.
 
Location. 41° 45.528′ N, 78° 35.17′ W. Marker is in Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania, in McKean County. Marker can be reached from Viaduct Road one mile north of Lindholm Road (Pennsylvania Route 3011). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 296 Viaduct Road, Mount Jewett PA 16740, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Kinzua Viaduct (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Commerce to Collapse (about 600 feet away); Forces of Nature (about 700 feet away); Nebo Lutheran Chapel and Cemetery (approx. 4.4 miles away); Smethport (approx. 8 miles away); "The Bucktails" (approx. 8 miles away); McKean County (approx. 8 miles away); Dr. Edward H. McCleery (approx. 8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Jewett.
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsEntertainmentRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 2, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 2, 2017, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 93 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 2, 2017, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.
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