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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Maybe the Last One, for a while...

This is a linen era post card printed by the, in my opinion, guru of linen post cards: Curt Otto Teich and Company. The picture is of a steam engine with a passenger train behind it crossing over the Kinzua Bridge in Pennsylvania. The Kinzua Viaduct, when first constructed in May 1882, was the highest and longest viaduct in the world, measuring 301 feet high and 2,053 feet long. The need to transport coal, oil and lumber across the Kinzua Gorge inspired General Thomas Kane, president of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Coal Company and Octave Chanute, Chief Engineer for the Erie Railroad to design a colossal viaduct. It was built by the Elmira Bridge Co. of Elmira, New York. The longest span is only 60 feet, but the entire bridge is 2,053 feet long.

In 1900, the viaduct was rebuilt of steel to accommodate larger loads and the weight of "modern" train traffic. I found a picture taken while they were re-constructing the bridge out of steel. That is the bridge we see in this post card.

The style of bridge is a Deck Plate Girder Bridge, which passes the train over Kinzua Creek [today on the former Erie Railway at Kinzua Bridge State Park] in McKean County, Pennsylvania. You can driver there today and walk on the re-constructed bridge that was mostly destroyed by a tornado on July 21, 2003. But the remaining spans were rehabilitated and reopened in 2011 as the "Kinzua Sky Walk"

If you choose to drive there these GPS coordinates can help you to arrive:
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.76345, -78.58928 (decimal degrees)
41°45'48" N, 78°35'21" W (degrees)
The post card was printed by Curt Otto Teich as a Linen Post Card and it was published by J. P. Walmer of Box 224 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. Walmer took many pictures in Pennsylvania and turned them into post cards. Penn State has about 16 of his in their collection. Judging by what I could find I know he was active in the 1930s. That makes sense because the Linen Card era starts around 1930.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.