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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Now Where are We?

We are in Burlington, Iowa at the edge of the Mississippi River looking over toward Henderson County, Illinois. This Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad train is about to cross a bridge built in 1868 by George S. Morison of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
He was born December 19, 1842. At age 14, he entered Phillips Exeter Academy and graduated by age 16. He went on to Harvard College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1863 at the age of 20. After a brief break he attended Harvard Law School where he would receive a Bachelor of Laws degree by 1866 and was admitted to the New York Bar. In 1867, with only general mathematics training but an aptitude for mechanics, he abandoned the practice of law and pursued a career as a civil engineer and builder of bridges. He would apprentice under the supervision of engineer Octave Chanute during the construction of the first bridge to cross the Missouri River, the swing-span Kansas City Bridge.

He is known for many steel truss bridges he designed, including several crossing the Missouri River, Ohio River and the Mississippi River. The Memphis Bridge, built in 1891, is considered to be his crowning achievement, as it was the largest bridge he would design and the first bridge to span the difficult Lower Mississippi River.

This particular bridge is known as a through truss bridge. It was built in 1868 and the superstructure was replaced and rebuilt in 1893. It did last a long time but was finally replaced by a new bridge in 2012.

The original design is a one pin-connected swing span and six pin-connected Whipple through truss spans. Swing span being replaced by through-truss lift span of 307.5 feet. In addition to the lift span, one fixed span on the east side was replaced with three smaller, temporary spans until completion of the lift span.

This is what it looked like before it was replaced:
You can drive to see the replacement bridge at the following coordinates:

+40.79854, -91.09205 (decimal degrees)
40°47'55" N, 91°05'31" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")

The post card was published by the Woolworth Company, owned by Frank Woolworth. That is what the little W in the diamond at the bottom left corner is telling us. The post card was printed by the Curt Teich Company using the patented "C. T. Photochrome" process. This means that the post card may look like a divide back era card, but it was actually printed in the 1950s.

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