Inventory: Lists | Log | References | Condensed | Search

This is a single suspension bridge from my historical inventory of suspension bridges. Follow the Inventory link for more information about the inventory.
1816 Spider
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (Schuylkill River)
Bridgemeister ID:20
References:AAJ, BOB, BPL, GHD, HBE, LAB, PTS2
Principals:Josiah White, Erskine Hazard
Use:Footbridge
Status:Removed
Main cables:Wire (iron)
Main span:393.75f
Notes
  • Narrow footbridge. First wire bridge in North America. HBE notes "first wire suspension bridge in any country."
  • Often described as having collapsed under the weight of ice and snow, Don Sayenga notes that no contemporary sources confirm this demise. Since the nearby chain bridge did fail under weight of ice and snow, he believes this fate has been misattributed to the White and Hazard footbridge. Don believes the bridge was just dismantled at some point after June, 1816.
  • Al Zagofsky also wrote to explain there was no evidence of this bridge collapsing under weight of ice and snow. Al writes: "According to an original source Captain Joshua Rowley Watson, who inspected the bridge on June 15, 1816: '...There was a bridge, but which by the weight of ice and snow, has been carried away.' This refers to the previous bridge that the cable bridge was temporarily replacing. I did not see any cause for failure of the wire rope bridge. My guess is that it was removed when the regular bridge was repaired. The same article shows a sketch that he made, showing the main span to be 407 feet. I am looking at the Canal History and Technology Proceedings Vol 5, March 22, 1986."

Do you have any information or photos about this bridge that you would like to share? Please email aspan@bridgemeister.com.

Mail | Facebook | Twitter