August 19th--This Day in Engineering History - An Engineer's Aspect


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 19th--This Day in Engineering History

1646 - John Flamsteed born (d. 1719).

Image: John Flamsteed. Source: NNDB.

English astronomer, John Flamsteed, founded the Greenwich Observatory and was the first astronomer royal of England. Flamsteed was born August 19th 1646 in Denby, near Derby, and died at Greenwich December 31st 1719. He studied astronomy alone before continuing his studies at Cambridge and in 1675 reported to the Royal Society the need for a new observatory. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is the result of his report. Flamsteed's star catalogue published in 1725 was one of the most accurate produced to date. He is also renowned for the controversy regarding the earlier publication of his stellar observations when they were needed by both Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley (Jonathan Potter, Limited).

1745 - Johan Gottlieb Gahn born (d. 1818).

Image: Johan Gottlieb Gahn. Source:

"Swedish mineralogist and crystallographer who discovered manganese in 1774. His failure to win fame may be related to the fact that he published little. He saved the notes, papers, and letters of his friend Carl Wilhelm Scheele, who discovered chlorine, but not his own. His essays on the balance and use of the blowpipe in analysis were recorded by Jöns Jacob Berzelius of Sweden. Gahn was assistant to Torbern Bergman, pioneer analytical chemist and physicist at the University of Uppsala. With Scheele, Gahn discovered phosphoric acid in bones and prepared phosphorus from bones. He improved copper-smelting processes and studied technical applications of minerals, opening new branches of industry. Gahnite (zinc spinel) is named for him. In 1784 he was appointed assessor of the mining college at Stockholm" (Encyclopedia Britannica).

1808 - James Nasmyth born (d. 1890).

Image: James Nasmyth. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Scottish engineer, James Nasmyth was born Aug. 19, 1808 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He died May 7, 1890 in London, England. Son of the artist Alexander Nasmyth (1758–1840), he is known mainly for his invention of the steam hammer (1839), an important metallurgical tool of the Industrial Revolution. He also devised tools such as a planing machine, a steam pile driver, and a hydraulic punching machine, and he manufactured more than 100 steam locomotives. He retired at 48 to devote himself to his hobby, astronomy (

1830 - Julius Lothar Meyer born (d. 1895).

Image: Julius Lothar Meyer. Source: Gallery of Scientists.

"Julius Lothar Meyer was a German chemist. He taught at Breslau, Karlsruhe, and Tübingen (from 1876) and is known especially for his work in the development of the periodic law , for which, with Mendeleev, he received the Davy medal in 1882. He evolved the atomic volume curve (1869), which represented graphically the relation between the atomic weights and the atomic volumes of the elements." (Source: "Julius Lothar Meyer." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. 20 Aug. 2009.)

1839 - Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre freely releases a manual for his daguerreotype photographic process, the first process to allow an image to be chemically fixed into a permanent picture.

Image: Daguerreotype Portrait of Louis Daguerre (1787–1851), Photographer Jean-Baptiste Sabatier-Blot 1844. Source:

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre was a "French scene painter and physicist, inventor of the daguerreotype, a photograph produced on a silver-coated copper plate treated with iodine vapor. Known first for his illusionistic painted stage sets, Daguerre attracted further attention as the inventor and exhibitor, with C. M. Bouton, of the diorama (pictorial views seen with changing lighting), shown at the Diorama in Paris. In 1829 his experiments with the daguerreotype were joined with those of J. Nicéphore Niepce, who had been doing related work since 1814. Until Niépce's death in 1833 they worked together on the photographic process. Daguerre completed the invention of the daguerreotype alone, and in 1839 it was made public and ceded to the Academy of Sciences, only a few weeks before the rival invention of the calotype was announced by William Henry Fox Talbot. The daguerreotype was introduced into the United States by J. W. Draper and S. F. B. Morse." (Source:

1871 – Orville Wright, American aviation pioneer born (d. 1948).

Image: Orville Wright, Co-Inventor of the First Successful Airplane. Source:

"Orville Wright (1871 - 1948) and his brother Wilbur were pioneers in heavier-than-air flight in the early 20th Century. Orville originally started a printing business and later ran a bicycle company which he used to fund his interest in flying and he and his brother, after receiving information about aeronautics from the Smithsonian Institution, they began experimenting with gliders before finally making a manned, powered flying machine." (Source:

1887 - Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev ascends in a balloon to an altitude of 11,500 feet (3.5 km) to observe a solar eclipse in Russia.

Image: Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeléev. Source:

Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev used a balloon to ascend above the cloud cover to an altitude of 11,500 feet (3.5 km) to observe an eclipse in Russia. He made the solo ascent above Klin without any prior experience. While his family was rather concerned, he paid no attention to controlling the balloon until after he had completed his observations, at which time he worked out how to land it. Mendeleev ise best known for the ordering the periodic table of the elements. (Source: The Great Geek Manual.)

1906 - Philo T. Farnsworth born (d. 1971).

At fourteen Philo T. Farnsworth "dreamed of trapping light in an empty jar and transmitting it one line at a time onto a magnetically deflected beam of electrons. By the time Philo was just 21, he developed the first all-electronic system of television. Besides his contributions to television, Philo had over 130 patented inventions in his lifetime." (Source: BYU Broadcasting.)

1909 - Ten People are Hurt in Chicago Bridge Collapse.*

The Evening Record, Greenville, Pennsylvania, Friday, August 20, 1909.

Structure Over Chicago River Suddenly Gives Way

Chicago, August 19—Ten persons were injured seriously and twenty others narrowly escaped when 250 feet of the Twelfth street bridge over the Chicago river collapsed. None was killed so far as known.

The bridge was closed on its west approach for construction work on a railroad viaduct underneath. The accident occurred just after a street car had run part way across the bridge and thirty passengers had alighted to walk over the dangerous portion to take another car. The passengers were hurrying in a huddled group when there was a loud rumbling followed by a crash, and the footway sank beneath them, carrying many to the pits below.

Many escaped clinging to side timbers. These, with the car crews, began the work of rescue and most of the injured were taken out before the police ambulance came. Several suffered broken legs and arms, and internal injuries. Traffic on three railroads was delayed for an hour by the accident.

1909 - Manhattan Bridge Scaffolding Failure.*

The New York Times, New York, New York, Friday, August 20, 1909.


Collapse of Planking Meant to Protect Public Injures Eight, One Mortally.

Last Rites in Ambulance

Half-Ton Scaffolding Comes Down on Twenty Persons Watching Work on New Manhattan Structure.

Eight men and boys were injured, one probably mortally, by the fall of the twenty-foot wooden “campier,” or shield, which has extended over Sands Street, near Jay Street, in Brooklyn, under the New Manhattan Bridge structure, ever since the work of riveting together the various parts of the big vermillion-painted steel bridge has been going on.

The shield consisted merely of a number of planks which were loosely nailed to two heavy, solid end beams, making a scaffold about twenty feet square. It has stretched immediately under the half-completed bridge at Sands Street, its purpose having been to keep the red-hot rivets from falling on citizens passing through the street below. It was not swung with ropes from the ironwork of the bridge, but was loosely fixed upon several heavy upright stanchions. One of these stanchions apparently had not been sunk deep enough, for at about 10:30 o'clock yesterday morning, when about fifty persons were watching the riveters dexterously hammering the glowing rivets into the rivet holes with the electric hammers, the upright tilted over. A second upright broke shortly afterward from the extra weight on it, and the whole mass of loose timber, weighing about half a ton, came down on the heads of the onlookers.

About twenty persons altogether were knocked down and partly buried under the big wooden shield. Probably they would all have killed had the planking been tightly nailed to the end beams. But wherever the planks struck a head they tore away from the beams, and the force of the blow was lessened.

Rocco Gallatine, 33 years old, of 79 Gold Street, who was hurt the most, was standing beneath the edge of the shield. He was struck on the head by one of the heavy end beams. It fractured his skull and crushed him. Two other persons who stood beneath the shield were Ferdinand Lee, a clerk, and his father, Daniel Lee, 81 years old, of 1,104 Forty-fourth Street, Brooklyn. Ferdinand had taken a day off to give his old father a day's outing. They had stopped to watch the riveters while on their way to the Brooklyn Bridge. Ferdinand's left ankle was broken and his father sprained his back and arm. Others injured were:

VINCENT PFEFFER, 50 years old, of 428 Covert Avenue; left knee fractured.
HENRY JACOBS, 17 years old, of 225 Kingston Avenue; left knee fractured.
GEORGE TRIMMER, 21 years old, of 169 Sands Street; right knee sprained.
MYRTLE TOPILO, 10 years old, of 321 Hudson Avenue; scalp wound.
DANIEL LUTZ, 37 years old, of Farmingdale, L. I.; scalp wound.

None of the bridge workmen was under the shield when it fell, and when the crash came the score of riveters who had been dangling high in the air above the shield and immediately under the bridge's ironwork hurried to the street and began pulling the planks and beams from the injured who lay beneath. Capt. Dooley hurried over with his reserves from the Fulton Street Station and summoned ambulances from the Cumberland and the Brooklyn Hospitals.

The Rev. Father James Dorney of the Church of the Assumption in Pierrepont Street and the Rev. Father John Sullivan, who were walking in the neighborhood, also ran over, and Father Dorney administered to Gallatine the last rites of the Church in the ambulance which took him to the Brooklyn Hospital.

Capt. Dooley arrested George Kasper, the foreman in charge of the bridge work at that point, charging him with criminal negligence. The bridge work there is being carried on by the contracting firm of Oscar S. Daniels of 38 Park Row; Manhattan.

At the Brooklyn Hospital last night Gallatine was said to be dying.

1909 - Joseph Gilbert Hoffman born (d. 1974).

Image: At a nuclear test site near Alamogordo, New Mexico, atomic bomb scientists measure radioactivity in seared sand particles 2 months after the explosion when newsmen saw bomb effects for the first time. Standing left to right: Dr. Kenneth.T. Bainbridge (Harvard University); Joseph G. Hoffman, (Buffalo, NY); Dr. J.R. Oppenheimer, Director of Los Alamos Atomic Bomb Project; Dr. L.H. Hempelman, (Washington University in St. Louis); Dr. R.F. Bacher (Cornell University); Dr. V.W. Weisskopf, (University of Rochester); and Dr. Richard W. Dodson (California). Source: Corbis.

Joseph G. Hoffman was an "American physicist and biophysicist who brought atomic isotopes into the battle against cancer. During WW II, he developed a radio proximity fuse and later was a health-physics scientist with "Manhattan Project." Hoffman studied nine accident victims of radiation disease at Los Alamos in Aug 1945 and May 1946. This research revealed for the first time that atoms of living human tissue could be transformed into radioactive atoms. He recognized "a completely new approach to studying the metabolism of atoms in living tissue and a new way of probing the complicated system of gene cells that determine heredity," and such knowledge was indispensable to understanding the mysteries of cancer research in which he engaged for the rest of his life." (Source: Today in Science History.)

1921 - Gene Roddenberry, television writer and producer, best known for the series "Star Trek," was born in El Paso, Texas.

Image: Gene Roddenberry listening to fans after his lecture at the Student Union of the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, United States, circa 1976. Source: Wikipedia.

"Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American screenwriter and producer. He is best known as the creator of Star Trek, an American sci-fi series known for its influence on popular culture.
Roddenberry was sometimes referred to as the "Great Bird of the Galaxy" in reference to his founding role in Star Trek. He was one of the first people to have his ashes "buried" in space." (Source: Wikipedia.)

1928 - Emporia, Kansas Tunnel Cave-In.*

The Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, Monday, August 20, 1928.


By Associated Press,
Emporia, Kansas, August 19—Three men were killed and two injured nine miles east of Emporia this afternoon when the entrance to a tunnel, in which the men were working, collapsed. Several others narrowly escaped injury as tons of earth slipped into the entrance ditch, which was eighteen feet deep.

The dead are all employees of the Oklahoma Construction Company. They are E. C. Wilson, Burlington, Kansas; Karren Austin, Emporia, and Andrews Howski, whose address is unknown.

Jack Hughes, Ponca City, Oklahoma, and J. M. Bussel of Ottawa, Kansas, were injured slightly.

The tunnel on which the men were working is for a pipe line under tracks of the Santa Fe Railroad.

1930 - Sheboygan, Wisconsin Fox Theatre Canopy Collapse. *

Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Wednesday, August 20, 1930.

Woman First Reported Killed in Collapse of Theatre Canopy During Parade was Injured in Automobile Accident.

Sheboygan, Wis., Aug. 20--(AP)--A total of 22 persons were injured when a theatre canopy onto which they had crowded collapsed yesterday just before the start of the American Legion parade. All will recover doctors said.

There were no deaths. The Associated Press erroneously reported yesterday that one woman, Mrs. John H. Doersler, Kenosha, had been killed, but it was learned later that her fatal injuries were the result of an auto accident earlier in the day.

Most of the injured were from Sheboygan. Among those treated for hurts were: Alfred Kosug, Milwaukee; Mrs. L. W. Schutte and Mrs. L. Riggs, both of Fond du Lac; Mrs. Oscar Dettman, Shawano, and Mrs. Edmund Johnson, Appleton. Judith Lamb, 3, Sheboygan, sustained minor cuts and bruises.

Corner Gives Way

About 40 persons had mounted the balcony and it was estimated about 150 persons jammed the sidewalk underneath. Suddenly a corner of the structure sagged. Many persons, warned of the impending crash, fled to safety.

Headed by Gov. Walter J. Kohler, whose automobile passed the scene immediately after the accident, Legionnaires assisted in extricating the injured from the wreckage and rushed them to hospitals and doctors' offices. Governor Kohler offered his car for use in taking persons to doctors.

The convention reached its climax with the parade, witnessed by an estimated 15,000 persons. Col. Fred Payne, assistant secretary of war addressed the gathering at the lake front after the parade.

1934 - Computer pioneer, Gordon Bell, is born.

Image: Gordon Bell. Source: Gordon Bell's Homepage.

"C. Gordon Bell (born August 19, 1934) is a computer engineer and manager. An early employee of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) 1960-1966, Bell designed several of their PDP machines and later became Vice President of Engineering 1972-1983, overseeing the development of the VAX. Bell's later career includes entrepreneur, investor, founding Assistant Director of NSF's Computing and Information Science and Engineering Directorate 1986-1987, and researcher at Microsoft Research, 1995-present." (Source: Wikipedia.)

1934 - Kentucky Suspension Bridge Collapses During a Picnic.*

The Charleston Gazette, Charleston, West Virginia, Monday Morning, August 20, 1934.


GLASGOW, Kentucky, August 19--(AP)--A picnic turned into tragedy today at Sulphur Wells, a summer resort near here, when a suspension foot bridge collapsed with an estimated 100 people, hurling at least four of them to death in the rocky shallows of little Barron river, 20 feet below.

1939 - British Mathematician Alan Baker is born.

Image: Screenshot of a lecture on Diophantine analysis by Alan Baker. Source: Wikipedia.

Alan Baker is a British mathematician born in London. "He is known for his work on effective methods in number theory, in particular those arising from transcendence theory. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1970, at age 31. His academic career started as a student of Harold Davenport, in London and Cambridge. He is a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge." (Source:

1940 - The new Civil Aeronautics Administration awarded honorary license #1 to Orville Wright.

Image: Orville Wright. Source: AASHTO.

"The U.S. Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) issued its first honorary pilot certificate to flight pioneer Orville Wright. CAA, which had just been created, oversaw U.S. air traffic control and safety enforcement. In addition, the federal agency handled airway development as well as certification for people and transportation eligible to navigate the skies. CAA, in presenting an honorary certificate to Orville Wright, acknowledged the world’s debt to the person who – along with his brother Wilbur – had ushered humanity into the modern era of manned flight. About three years after that honor, the surviving Wright brother would fly an airplane for the final time. He died in 1948. CAA, for its part, would exist until being supplanted by the Federal Aviation Agency (now Administration) in 1958. (Source: AASHTO.)

1949 - Albany, New York Ceiling Collapse.*

The Times Record, Troy, New York, Friday Evening, August 19, 1949.

Four hurt in Albany as False Ceiling Collapses in Structure

Several Trojans on a bus traveling in North Pearl Street, Albany, this morning had a first hand view of the collapse of a section of a building being demolished at the northeast corner of Steuben and North Pearl Streets where the new W. T. Grant building is to be erected. Four workmen received minor injuries in the building collapse.

A false ceiling in the building gave way prematurely, Sidney Feigenbaum, superintendent of the wrecking project for the General Material & Wrecking Co. of Syracuse, told the police.

The ceiling fell; striking a platform on which the four men were working on the North Pearl Street side of the building. The platform brace gave way and the men were plunged several feet into the debris.

The four, all taken to Memorial Hospital for treatment and later discharged, were John Skorupski, 38, of 87 Third Street, Albany, contusions to the back and scalp lacerations; Louis Blake, 43, of 744 Broadway, Albany, abrasions of the left wrist and contusions to both legs; Steve O'Connor, 41, of 194 North Pearl Street, Albany, abrasions of both knees, and William Hammond, 30, of 72 North Lark Street, Albany, abrasions of both legs and about the neck.

Several buildings in the block have been torn down to make way for the new store. The building in which the accident occurred is the former Beck shoe store.

Travelers on the bus said that flying debris narrowly missed the vehicle.

Forty-four years ago this month, Albany was the scene of a more serious building collapse. On August 8, 1905, the John G. Myers store collapsed.

1955 - Horseshoe Dam Failure in Rhode Island.

Image: Horseshoe Dam Flooding. (Source: GenDisasters. )

The Capital, Annapolis, Maryland, August 20, 1955.


Woonsocket, R. I., (AP) -- This industrial city of 50,000, third largest in Rhode Island, was under a state of emergency today with some 500 families evacuated after rain-swollen Horseshoe Dam burst, flooding a four mile square congested tenement and small store area. Gov. Dennis J. Roberts and Woonsocket Mayor Kevin A. Coleman both declared a state of emergency last night. Roberts ordered three National Guard companies, numbering about 160 men, to duty to prevent looting and assist regular and civilian defense auxillary police. (Source: GenDisasters.)

1959 - Satellite Discoverer 6 launched into polar orbit.

On August 19, DISCOVERER VI satellite orbited successfully, but the reentry capsule was not recovered (NASA).

"A special feature of the Discoverer Program was that the satellites were to eject capsules after a certain number of orbits. The capsule was supposed to reenter the atmosphere and release a parachute so that the capsule could be recovered. Specially modified aircraft were fitted with two long booms which extended from the aircraft and had a rope stretched between the tips of the booms. If everything went according to plan, the rope would catch the shrouds of the parachute of the de-orbited capsule." (Source: Spacecovers.)

1960 – Sputnik program: Sputnik 5 – the Soviet Union launches the satellite with the dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants.

Image: The dog Laika was a passenger on Sputnik 2. Source: U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.

"Sputnik 5 was the first spaceflight to send animals into orbit and return them safely back to Earth. Launched on August 19, 1960 it paved the way for the first human orbital flight less than eight months later with Vostok 1. Sputnik 5 was a USSR artificial Earth satellite from the Sputnik space program. It was in fact the second test flight of the Vostok spacecraft, and therefore it is sometimes called Korabl-Sputnik 2 ("korabl" is Russian for "ship")." (Source: Wikipedia.)

1964 - Syncom 3, the first geostationary satellite was launched with the Delta D #25 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral.

Image: Syncom 3. Source: NASA.

"Syncom 3 was the first geostationary satellite. (The earlier geosynchronous Syncom 2 had an orbit inclined to the equator.) It was an experimental geosynchronous communications satellite placed over the equator at 180 degrees longitude in the Pacific Ocean. The satellite provided live television coverage of the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan and conducted various communications tests. Operations were turned over to the Department of Defense on 1 January 1965, Syncom 3 was to prove useful in the DoD's Vietnam communications." (Source: NASA.)

1978 - The first trans-Atlantic ballon crossing.

This Day in History - August 19th
Starring - Double Eagle Balloon

(2001) - Color - 1 min
The LikeTelevision™ History channel proudly presents, This Day in History - August 19! On August 19, 1978 - A balloon crosses the Atlantic. Well - the impossible was made possible by a balloon called the Double Eagle, piloted by Ben Abruzzo, Max Anderson and Larry Newman. All three were from Albuquerque, New Mexico, from where they initially set sail. On August 19, 1978, the Double Eagle touched down in Miserey, France, some 60 miles from the Eiffel Tour in Paris, where they had first hoped to land. The 3 Americans made history by completing the first trans-Atlantic balloon crossing while setting an endurance record of 138 hours and 6 minutes in the air.

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1995 - A Bellanca Scout Model 8GCBC N86587, sustained an in-flight structural failure of the right wing and crashed on Lufker Airport, East Moriches, New York, killing the pilot.

Image: A Bellanca Scout 8GCBC. Source: Wikipedia.

"On August 19, 1995, a Bellanca Scout Model 8GCBC N86587, sustained an in-flight structural failure of the right wing and crashed on Lufker Airport, East Moriches, New York, killing the pilot The Model 8GCBC is a two-place tandem, strut-braced, high-wing airplane constructed with sitka spruce wing spars and covered with Dacron fabric, The flight was being conducted for the purpose of aerial advertising, (banner towing) According to a witness, the pilot was attempting to engage the banner but missed it and was in a climb maneuver when the wing snapped and folded upward and inboard The airplane rolled to the right, descended and impacted the ground, and was engulfed in flames shortly thereafter." (Source:

1993 - Reed Covered Bridge Collapse.*

Marysville Journal-Tribune, Marysville, Ohio, Thursday, August 19, 1993.

By Karlyn Byers

Union County has one fewer covered bridge today.

At approximately 8:50 a.m. today, Reed Covered Bridge spanning Big Darby Creek near St. Rt. 38 and Burns Road collapsed and partially fell into the creek while local attorney and Union County Historical Society President Robert Parrott was conducting a tour there.

“It creaked, and then it would be silent,” he said from the bridge site following the accident. “Then it creaked, grew silent once more, and fell.”

Parrott said the whole scenario took about 10 minutes. No one was injured in the collapse.

Ironically, just last week Union County Engineer Steve Stolte reported that a truss near the north abutment of the bridge was badly deteriorated, making the 178-foot structure unsafe. He added that the bridge, built in 1884, had descended more than a foot and that the possibility of its collapse existed.

Stolte, Union County Commissioner Glenn Irwin, and Parrott are members of the Reed Covered Bridge Advisory Committee which was formed to look into the availability of funds for the renovation of the historic structure.

It was one of five remaining in the county built by nationally-known bridge builder, Reuben L. Partridge of Marysville.

Partridge was a prolific builder of bridges in central Ohio using both his own and other truss designs. It is estimated that he constructed about 200 bridges in Union County, which was nine-tenths of those in use in the early 1880s.

Reed Bridge was 155 feet in length, clear span, with an overall length of 178 feet, 8 inches, making it one of Ohio's longer covered bridges.

Partridge continued to build bridges in Union County until 1886, when he moved to Franklin County to become the vice-president in charge of construction for the Columbus Bridge Co.

He died on July 17, 1900 as he was superintending removal of a covered bridge in Taylor Township. During the demolition, a wood girder came down on him causing him to fall through the floor of the bridge and pinning him under the beam.

The fall broke Partridge's leg in two places and the 77-year-old-builder died several hours later as a result of the injuries. He died in the home he built at 245 W. Seventh St. in Marysville, and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery.

The county's four remaining covered bridges—two located in Allen township, one on Axchandle Road and another on Winget Road—are road worthy, meaning traffic can travel their expanse, said Union County Assistant Engineer Jeff Stauch.

The bridge which collapsed this morning was the last remaining covered bridge in the county yet to be rebuilt. The Union County Historical Society had barricaded it and placed warning signs at its entrance to protect the public from the dangerous condition of the structure.

In the 1930s, the Reed Bridge became part of the Ohio highway system. St. Rt. 38 traveled across it.

In the 1960s, it was bypassed by the Ohio Department of Transportation and returned to the county. The historical society has maintained the bridge since that time. In 1975, the structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stauch said vandalism and rot were probably contributing factors to the bridge's demise.

This afternoon, bridge committee members plan to meet to discuss the future of Reed Bridge—how the site will be cleaned up and who will pay for it. Last week, members announced their intention not to rebuild the structure if it should collapse.

1997 - STS-85 (Discovery 23) lands.

1997 - Bridge Collapse over the Susquehanna River.*

Syracuse Herald-Journal, Syracuse, New York, Wednesday, August 20, 1997.


ROCKVILLE, PA.--Four cars of a freight train loaded with coal plunged into the Susquehanna River Tuesday night when portions of a bridge collapsed, shutting down one of the major railroad routes in the state.

No one was injured when a section of the stone-arch Rockville bridge crumbled around 8:30 p.m. sending the CSX cars and 400 tons of coal into six-feet of water, said George Drees, assistant chief of the Susquehanna Township fire department.

The engines and remaining cars stayed on the bridge, but four of those cars were derailed, he said.

The accident shut down all rail traffic between Harrisburg and Philadelphia and points west, including Amtrak trains from Pittsburgh and Chicago, said agency spokesman Bill Pedroza.

--The Associated Press

*Newspaper Article Found at