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[graphic header] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
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[grapphic] Chain Bridge


[photo] Center pier and the hanging cables of Chain Bridge today
Photograph from National Register collection

[photo] Historic image of the bridge, c1890
Photograph from National Register collection

The Chain Bridge was built by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company in 1857 to enable people and mules to cross the Lehigh River. The bridge was used to ferry the mules across the river, and allowed the animals to tow the boats and barges from one bank to the other. Although listed in the National Register as Chain Bridge, is is actually a change bridge--a special structure with an underpass that allowed mules towing canal boats to move, cloverleaf style, from one side of the canal to the other without unhitching. The bridge is composed of three stone piers and two spans. Each pier is approximately 30 feet high and the center pier is about 40 feet across at water level. At each of the end piers is a metal capping and cable anchorage for the three-inch cables which supported the bridge surface. When built, the bridge was one of the early uses of stranded cable for bridge construction. The stranded cable was made on the site, possibly by the Roebling Company, who built several suspension bridges, including the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was intended to carry only pedestrians and animals, not vehicular traffic. In the 1950s the road surface was removed from the piers. The bridge remains significant because it was an integral part of the long defunct canal system. It is also a fine example of the early use of standard cable for bridge construction. The bridge represents a unique civil engineering solution to a canal era problem and played a vital role in the transportation system that opened up the Lehigh Valley to outside development and established coal as an invaluable heating and industrial fuel.

The Chain Bridge is located about a half mile southwest of Glendon on the Hugh Moore Prky. across the Lehigh River.

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 [graphic] Link to Canal History Essay
 [graphic] Link to Delaware and Lehigh Region Essay
 [graphic] Link to Scranton and the Railroad Essay
 [graphic] Link to Establishing the Heritage Corridor Essay

 

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