About Hayden Bridge

Jul. 12, 2016

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Hayden Bridge, a Howe truss structure, spans the Alsea River about 2 miles (3 km) west of Alsea, Oregon, United States.  Constructed in 1918, the 91-foot (28 m) span is one of only seven remaining covered bridges in Oregon that were built before 1920.  Similar spans such as the Mill Creek Bridge crossed the Alsea or one of its tributaries in the same vicinity, but only the Hayden Bridge has survived.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Located along Hayden Road just south of Oregon Route 34, the bridge was either partly or completely rebuilt in 1945. Changes included larger and less rounded bridge portals that could accommodate larger vehicles. Narrow openings under the side-wall eaves on both sides of the span illuminated the interior.  The bridge, repaired again in 2003, required further work in 2006 after a logging truck crashed into it.

The Hayden Bridge incorporates two features that were milestones in the history of wrought iron bridge building: the Whipple-Murphy truss and the Phoenix column. / The Hayden Bridge was fabricated by Clarke, Reeves & Company, Phoenixville Bridge Works of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in 1882. It was originally erected across the Bear River at Corrine, Utah by the Central Pacific Railroad, on the line that was part of the first Transcontinental Railroad. The bridge was dismantled and reassembled across the McKenzie River near Springfield, Oregon in 1901, as part of a logging spur line owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad. The 224 feet long wrought-iron span includes hollow "Phoenix Columns," an innovative fabrication design of the wrought-iron period of American bridge building. This feature was a staple of the Phoenixville Bridge Works.

The span is a Double-Intersection Pratt Truss, also called a Whipple-Murphy Truss. In 1847, Squire Whipple patented his design for a Pratt Truss made of iron, with diagonal web members crossing two panel points.

The Hayden Bridge is made of wrought-iron, except for the connections and ornamentation, which are cast-iron. Ornamental medallions are placed at the crossing of the diagonal portal bracings. Railroad brake-wheel designs decorate the corner portal brackets. A cast-iron nameplate atop the portal gives the full name of the Phoenixville Works.

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