"The 1866 Cincinnati Suspension Bridge" Top 5 Page for this destination Cincinnati Favorite Tip by kahunayummy

Cincinnati Favorites: 32 reviews and 19 photos

  Cincinnati Suspension Bridge
by kahunayummy

Favorite thing: Few American cities can claim a landmark as distinctive as Cincinnati's Suspension Bridge, and has proudly been a symbol of the city since its opening in Dec. 1866. Images of the bridge can be seen today in all parts of the city hanging in, offices, restaurants, bars, waiting rooms, and as backdrops for the local TV news. More than just a nostalgic decoration, the old bridge remains as important today.

Cincinnati was the first major city in the midwest with its 1850 population ranked sixth in the U.S. ahead of St. Louis and Chicago, and as ferry traffic increased, the necessity of a bridge became apparent. By the time construction started in 1856, a revised charter eased the required length to 1,000ft. and height to 100ft. The ensuing period of construction stretched over a decade, interrupted by financial shortages and the Civil War, during which the city and unfinished bridge were under threat of attack.

The bridge opened in Dec.1866, and the main span was at that time the longest in the world. Not only was the Bridge the world's longest, but it was also the first to utilize both vertical suspenders and diagonal stays fanning from either tower. This advance was next seen on the Brooklyn Bridge, which surpassed the Cincinnati bridge in length and almost every other statistical category in 1883.

Due to inflation, the original deck was built as cheaply as possible. In 1894 tracks were laid across the deck but street cars were limited to 1.5mph. Thus in 1896 a rebuilding of the bridge deck was undertaken, the stone towers were overbuilt and were capable of carrying a heavier load. In order to keep the bridge open and maintain the 100ft. height requirement, the old deck was jacked up while work proceeded. The new deck was built around the old deck, hung from the new main cables, and then transferred over to the cable arrangement seen today. The reconstruction altered the appearance of the bridge, but allowed it to remain useful in the 20th century.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 14, 2004
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