Repurposing Industrial Railroad Bridges: Linking the Past to the Present

by Kathleen C. Carver

Institution: Youngstown State University
Department: Department of History
Degree: MAin History
Year: 2014
Keywords: History; bridges; industrial; railroad; metal truss bridge
Record ID: 2028851
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ysu1403195362


Three industrial railroad bridges serve as case studies that demonstrate the challenge for adaptive reuse in rust belt communities in the United States. The legacy of an industrial railroad bridge is far reaching beyond the role that it played in the development of its surrounding communities and industry. These bridges are extant artifacts of progress. Through the lens of history, economics, and adaptive reuse, this thesis reveals the significance of preservation of industrial railroad bridges. One of the most outstanding examples of an industrial heritage resource that illustrates the connection between steel, railroads and innovative bridge construction is the creation of a hot metal bridge. The hot metal bridge owns a specific place in industrial history, distinguished more by purpose than by design. Often these bridges are designed and built for very heavy loads, making the bridge an ideal candidate for adaptive reuse. Identifying and rehabilitating historic bridges is inevitably a difficult endeavor. The challenge of rehabilitating an industrial railroad bridge presents difficult obstacles and demands innovative solutions.