Rustic Bridge, NPS Route No. 13 spanning Crum Elbow Creek, Hyde Park, Dutchess County, NY
NPS Route No. 13 spanning Crum Elbow Creek, Hyde Park, NY
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Documentation compiled after 1968.
Survey number HAER NY-321
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (N910).
Building/structure dates: 1899 initial construction
Significance: The Rustic Bridge is an example of the Melan arch system of concrete construction, and as such is an example of the reinforced-concrete bridge systems introduced in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century. Part of a continuum of masonry, concrete, and reinforced concrete arch bridges, the development by the Viennese engineer Josef Melan of the Melan arch led to a new design in bridge construction. The combination of a concrete arch with reinforcement through metal I-beams was an inexpensive yet durable method of bridge construction as it required less concrete and allowed for shallower arch shapes. By 1894, there was a U.S. patent for the Melan arch, the technique of which was disseminated in the United States by Fritz von Emperger. The versatility of the Melan arch design can be seen in the Rustic Bridge, with its cobblestone facing. The Rustic Bridge also represents the aesthetic problems attendant with using new materials and techniques. Reinforced concrete was a new, more modern material that did not lend itself well to a rustic setting like the Vanderbilt estate, but a facing of stone allowed the bridge to complement its setting.
Concrete Arch Bridges
Melan Arch Construction Company
Bard, Dr. John
WT Hiscox & Company
Haas, David, Photographer
Christianson, Justine, Historian
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)
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