Southern Ohio

This was another very active market for the King Bridge Company. Zenas King started his career in the bridge building business as an agent for the Moseley Bridge Company of Cincinnati in 1857 before he went on to set up his own company in Cleveland. One of the King Bridge Company’s most important accomplishments was to design and build in 1891 the impressive Central Bridge across the Ohio between Cincinnati and Newport, Kentucky one of the first and longest cantilever bridges of the time. It was the second great highway bridge to be built across the Ohio River just after Roebling’s famous suspension bridge and was the pride and joy of Zenas King. Pictures of it served as the company’s masthead for many years and it has been documented in HAER. Unfortunately, it was torn down in 1992 as part of the construction of the new stadium in Cincinnati. (See Six Great Bridges article in HISTORY for more details).

The Central Bridge before demolition in 1992 – HAER photo

Other major bridges in the Greater Cincinnati area were included in company catalogues and documented by HAER. Two of the most notable are the “Old Colerain Bridge” across the Miami River in Hamilton County and the “Harrison Road Camelback” also across the Miami River. Both were in operation on county roads until relatively recently but now have been removed.

The Harrison Road Camelback -1894

COLUMBUS

The Smith Road Bowstring at the Ohio Historical Center- 1870-

This little bowstring is listed in HAER and was relocated in 1989 from Crawford County to serve as an exhibit outside the Ohio Historical Center’s museum. It is the only King bowstring we know still exists in Southern and Central Ohio, once the major early market for the King Bridge Company.

KENTUCKY

The “ Singing Bridge” (Penna. Thru truss)# – 1893- Frankfort

This truss bridge was built by the King Bridge Company in 1893 across the Kentucky River near the state capitol and is still standing today, protected as a state historical monument. It steel mesh roadway causes it to “sing”. (see NEW 11/1/03 for more details)

However, a similar camelback bridge built by the company over the Licking River between Covington and Newport did not recieve the same treatment. It ended in the river in 2004 after being demolished with great fanfare.

The Old Richardsville Road Bowstring -1889- Bowling Green

In February of 2006, Doug Schmucker, a structural engineer teaching at Western Kentucky University sent us some outstanding pictures of a beautifully preserved 1889 three span King bowstring across the Barren River . Apparently a private citizen, David Garvin, has played a major role in maintaining the bridge which is still open to light traffic. Its bridge plate is still in place and the bridge provides as an excellent teaching tool for aspiring civil and structural engineers.

 

King Bridge Manufacturing Company, News