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West New Jersey Truss Bridges

The Neshanic Station Bridge in Somerset County, New Jersey, is one of the lenticular truss bridges constructed by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company of East Berlin, Connecticut. Neshanic Station is one of my favorite of the lenticular truss bridges because of its unusually striking bright white, and it is two lenses long. It also has an ornate builder plaque over the portal, giving the construction date of 1896. There are also decorative flourishes on the railings, with flower-shaped joint covers where the braces meet.

The Nevius Street Bridge, in Raritan, is the oldest through-truss bridge in Somerset County, dating from 1886. It was constructed by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio. A parallel road bridge was constructed in 2006, and this bridge was re-purposed into a pleasant pedestrian bridge with benches overlooking the Raritan River.

In Hunterdon County, about halfway between Centre Bridge and Lumberville-Raven Rock Bridge on the Delaware River, there is a tiny gem of a bridge that should not be missed. This is the Rosemont-Raven Rock Bridge, crossing narrow Lockatong Creek on one iron through-truss. Although the decoration on this bridge is not overwhelming, by any means, it is more ornate than most other bridges in the region. Instead of finials on the truss corners, the bridge sports finials on top of every vertical column, all along the top chord of the truss. The bridge also has geometric designs, comprised of interlaced circles, in the portal braces. Finally, the top chord over the roadway displays a lovely ornate plaque presenting the construction date of 1878 and the name of the Lambertville Iron Works, Builders.

Hunterdon County, which owns the Rosemont-Raven Rock Bridge, is clearly aware of, and proud of, its special features. There is a parking lot at one end to accommodate visitors and a large exhibition plaque, placed by the Hunterdon County Cultural Heritage Commission, describing the bridge as one of the earliest uses of Phoenix columns in an iron Pratt through-truss bridge in the United States.

There are more details of the Neshanic Station Bridge, and some other Berlin Iron Bridge Company lenticular truss bridges, in Chapter 2 of my book, Bridgespotting: A Guide to Bridges that Connect People, Places, and Times. A full tour of the Delaware River Bridges, including Rosemont-Raven Rock, is found in Chapter 9 of Bridgespotting Part 2: A Guide to Even More Bridges that Connect People, Places, and Times.

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