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January 27, 1938: Although well designed for its time, the HB was prone to sway under certain conditions

A bridge by another name is called the Honeymoon Bridge


By —— Bio and Archives--January 27, 2010

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Buildings, statutes and bridges are an important part of history; they speak of the world in a different time. Even bridges that may not be standing anymore can still tell a story. The Honeymoon Bridge (HB) in Niagara Falls is the subject of this article.

The Honeymoon Bridge (also known as Upper Steel Arch Bridge or Fallsview Bridge) was constructed in 1897 and opened for traffic on 1898. It was the fourth bridge on the site in 50 years.  The span of the bridge was 840 feet. The bridge decking was wooden, and was designed to support the weight of railway cars operating on the Great Gorge Scenic Railway.  Although well designed for its time, the HB was prone to sway under certain conditions (heavy winds, bands marching in-step, etc.), not unlike the suspension bridges it replaced.

Doubts about the bridge’s longevity surfaced as early as 1925. On June 8, when a parade commemorating the installation of new searchlights on Niagara Falls concluded on the bridge, it began to sway wildly with the added weight.
Attention was also called to the bridge frequently in the 1930s, when the deteriorating bridge railing allowed some automobiles to crash through them easily. These events were a sign of things to come.

In January 1938, a severe ice storm hit the Niagara Falls area, flooding the lower river with ice. The bridge stood on supports built close to river level, and the ice pressed against them, damaging them until they failed in a grand collapse of the structure on 4:10 p.m. January 27, 1938. The thickness of this ice supported the weight of the wreckage until the final three pieces sank in April 1938.

There were no injuries in this spectacular crash and sightseers flocked daily to see what the forces of nature had created. When the mild weather arrived, this mighty structure sank to the bottom of Niagara. In 1941, the new Rainbow Bridge was built just north of the Honeymoon Bridge. To ensure its safety, the girders were situated much higher above the level of the Niagara River.

For those who hunger for Canadian history, this is an important part of our history, our country.


http://www.niagarafrontier.com/madisonsale.html
http://www.travelniagara.org/d-history-bridge.html
http://blog.niagarafalls.travel/extractblog.cgi?1103785&0&1232729981


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Ronald Wolf -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Ronald Wolf wolfthewriter.com is a college graduate of a renowned journalism program at Niagara College in Welland, Ontario Canada. He has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines in three different countries. He is a former newspaper owner who specializes in photography and writing.

He presently resides in northwestern, Ontario Canada where he continues to research and write articles about Canadian history, Canadian paranormal and other interesting articles.


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