Monday, February 15, 2010

Over the Niagara Gorge

(Click photo for larger image)

This is the first bridge to be erected to Canada at the same site as the present Rainbow Bridge. It was built in 1867-68, and opened Jan. 2, 1869. It was designed by Samuel Keefer, a civil engineer, and consisted of wooden towers, with steel cables and a wooden structure suspended below them. The roadway was only 10ft. wide and only one (horse-drawn) vehicle could cross at a time. The flow of traffic was controlled by a bell at each end. There were stairs in the tower on the American side and an elevator on the Canadian end, so the top of the towers could be used as observation posts. The bridge was rebuilt beginning in 1873, replacing the wooden towers with steel, and iron trusses suspended by cables for the larger-sized, 17 ft. roadway. It was this later bridge that collapsed in a most violent wind storm.

(Submitted by JB)

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