1894 Montour Bridge in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
The Montour Bridge was built in 1894 to stretch over the Ohio River connecting Neville Island to Coraopolis, PA. It was a toll bridge constructed and operated by The Coraopolis and Neville Island Electric Railway which was the local streetcar line into Pittsburgh, PA.
History Research Archive for the Borough of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, near Moon Township, Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
no. 1 Ohio River Back Channel Bridge
- In Use: 1894-1927
- July 26, 1894: formal opening
- Spanned Coraopolis to Neville Island
- Toll Bridge constructed by Coraopolis and Neville Island Electric Railway
- For use by foot passengers, general traffic, and street railway line
- Built by Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio (which was later consolidated into the American Bridge Company in 1900). They specialized in short span iron truss bridges.
- Charles N. Kuntz, Purchasing Agent
- W.H. Bender, Construction Engineer
- Work commenced: October 1893
- July 25, 1894: the last spike is driven, first car crosses new bridge
- Constructed after the style of the Sixth Street bridge over the Allegheny River
- Cost: accounts vary from $47,000 to $50,000 (the entire road cost $150,000, leading to some further confusion with the figures)
- Bridge is 1,028 feet long
- 50 feet above the roadbed
- Elevated above the Montour Railway tracks 21 feet
- 19 feet of roadway, connected by 10 spans, three on the camel-back system
- 3 Pennsylvania trusses, each 248 feet long
- 4 small pony trusses
- 2 plate girders spanned the railroad tracks on the Coraopolis side
formal opening of bridge, july 26, 1894
- Festivities run from noon until 5:00 p.m. in the Orchard of Jacob F. Ferree
- Master of Ceremonies: William H. Guy
- Welcome Address: William F. Tredway, Esq.
- Burgess Curry of Coraopolis attended
- Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Kirk of the Pittsburgh Presbytery
- Rev. Josiah Dillon "Public Thoroughfares and Modes of Transportation"
- W.P. Potter, Esq. "Modern Rapid Transit"
- "The first electric car, he said, was moved in Richmond, Va., seven years ago and the second electric road in the United States was constructed in Allegheny one year later." (27 July 1894 "Added a Suburb" Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, p2.)
- J.W. Arras "How it Came About"
- William McGarrey, Esq. "Neville Island's Future"
- Charles E. Cornelius, Esq. "Coraopolis Then and Now"
- Seward H. Thompson, Esq. "To-Morrow"
- "If it were possible to construct an electric line from earth to heaven so that the weary children of men might be landed at the Beautiful Gate for a nickel each, and were such an enterprise to be undertaken, there would be opposition to it. Some would refuse to give the right of way through the air and others would get out an injunction against the company to restrain them from interfering with God's sunlight. The car of progress has been obliged to run over about half the human race." (27 July 1894 "Added a Suburb" Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, p2.)
- Music by Great Eastern Band, the bands of Hays Post No. 3, Grand Army of the Republic
- Over 2,000 invitations issued; attendance accounts vary, but between 1,500-5,000 people attended
- During the great flood, onlookers crowded on the bridge to survey the damage.
- January 31, 1917: Seven people injured when a Sewickley express car crashed through the Montour Bridge, falling 20 feet. (1 Feb 1917, The Pittsburgh Post, No. 145, p. 2.)
Photographs of bridge courtesy of Allegheny Public Works Dept
Special thanks to David Wright and Tim Killmeyer for their efforts in preserving and making available the photographs.
Left to Right:
- The Coraopolis approach to the Montour Bridge taken 5 Mar 1927.
- The Montour Bridge Toll House operated by the Coraopolis and Neville Island Electric Railway.
- Looking down along Ferree Street toward the Montour Bridge on 20 Apr 1927.
- The Neville Island approach to the Montour Bridge taken 3 Mar 1927.
Left to Right:
- The Coraopolis approach to the Montour Bridge taken 2 Feb 1927.
- The Coraopolis approach to the Montour Bridge taken 3 March 1927.
- The Coraopolis approach to the Montour Bridge looking up 4th taken 20 Apr 1927.
(Click on image to enlarge.)
- Bridge was ultimately demolished, soon after the 1927 "Recycled Bridge" was placed into operation from Neville Island to Coraopolis
- June 26, 1928 "Petition for a decree of dissolution was made by Coraopolis and Neville Island Bridge Company... It states that the toll bridge the company formerly maintained has been taken over by Allegheny county through condemnation proceedings, to be supplanted by a new bridge." (27 Jun 1928 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, v. 1, n. 232, p. 6).
- July 26, 1928 "Judge Marshall also signed a dissolution decree for the Coraopolis & Neville Island Bridge Company, which operated the toll bridge." (26 July 1928 PIttsburgh Post-Gazette (v. 1, n. 307, p. 4).
Photos showing Bridge No. 2 alongside the Montour Bridge as the "Recycled Bridge" is put in place: