White Bridge, Spanning Crum Elbow Creek, Hyde Park, Dutchess County, NY
Spanning Crum Elbow Creek, Hyde Park, NY
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Documentation compiled after 1968.
Survey number HAER NY-318
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (N907).
Building/structure dates: 1897 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1961 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1963 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1973 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1996 subsequent work
Significance: The White Bridge is one of the first Melan arch bridges built in the United States, and as such is an example of one of the first reinforced-concrete bridge systems introduced in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century. Part of a continuum of masonry, concrete, and then reinforced concrete arch bridges, the development by the Viennese engineer Josef Melan of the Melan arch led to a new flexibility in design. The combination of a concrete arch, reinforced with metal I-beams, was a cheap yet durable method of bridge construction. By 1894, there was a U.S. patent for the Melan arch, the technique of which was disseminated by Fritz von Emperger. The aesthetic qualities of the Melan arch system can be seen in the White Bridge as well, with its elegant arch, ornamented balustrade, and recessed panels accenting the approach to the Vanderbilt mansion.
Concrete Arch Bridges
Von Emperger, Fritz
WT Hiscox & Company
Melan Arch Construction Company
McKim, Mead & White
Christianson, Justine, Historian
Haas, David, Photographer
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)
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