International Steel Arch Bridge, Niagara Falls
- Milton W. Reesor, Photographer
- Media Type
- Item Type
- This is an image of the International Steel Arch Bridge in Niagara Falls. A few people can be seen crossing the bridge. In the background, signs can be read that say "Continental CIGAR," "SNOW BOY," "PILLSBURY'S FLOUR," 2 that say "Como," and "MENNEN'S / TOILET POWDER."
Since 1848, bridges have connected Canada to our neighbours to the south, the United States, facilitating tourism and trade. There have been a few bridges that have crossed the international border at the gorge of the Niagara River, with the first being the Railway Suspension Bridge at the Whirlpool. This bridge was completed in July, 1848, and had a span of 759 feet. Later, it was decided a bridge should be built within view of the falls, leading to the construction of various bridges at "Falls View." The first, which could only accommodate one-way traffic, was completed in 1869. The bridge we see crossing the gorge now is the Rainbow Bridge, and it was completed in 1941 with a span of 1450 feet. It is located just north of its immediate predecessor, the Upper Steel Arch Bridge.
The Upper Steel Arch Bridge, also known as the Honeymoon Bridge and Falls View Bridge, was the third bridge built in this spot, and is believed to be the one featured in this image. In January, 1897, the Niagara Falls and Clifton Suspension Bridge Company decided to strengthen and expand the existing Suspension Bridge, but the engineer they approached to redesign the bridge decided it was necessary to construct a new one. The bridge, with a span of 840 feet, was completed and opened on June 23rd, 1897. It had one floor with a wooden deck, double tracks for electric trolleys, and room for carriages and pedestrians. The Upper Steel Arch Bridge had a reputation for being unstable as it was known to sway under heavy loads or high winds. Unfortunately, the abutments of this bridge were built only a few feet above the water level of the river, leading to many issues from the ice in the Lower Niagara River, and eventually its tragic fate. On January 25th, 1938, almost 100 feet of ice twisted the steel frame of the bridge. Two days later, movement of ice on the American side pushed the bridge off of its abutment, leading to the collapse of the bridge into a twisted steel "W" in the gorge below. The bridge landed on the ice and was cut into six sections that were left on display for tourists for the remainder of the winter until the ice broke up.
This photo belongs to the Reesor Collection, which is a group of photos taken by Milton W. Reesor, a local amateur photographer. He took many photos of friends, family, animals, outdoor activities, machinery, the railway, and more in and around St. Marys from 1898-1910.
- Local identifier
- Reesor Collection
- Language of Item
- Geographic Coverage
Latitude: 43.0903426670048 Longitude: -79.0677291217041
- Dan O'Toole
- Copyright Statement
- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
- Recommended Citation
- Reesor Collection. "International Steel Arch Bridge, Niagara Falls." St. Marys Museum, reesor246.
- Location of Original
- St. Marys Museum Archives
- Reproduction of digital objects is restricted to fair use for personal study or research; any other use must be done with permission of copyright holder.
- Reproduction Notes
- This image is a watermarked low resolution reproduction.
High resolution images are available at the St. Marys Museum for a fee.
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