Historic Structures

Willamette River Swing Truss Railroad Bridge, Portland Oregon

The network of Vancouver-Portland railroad bridges across the Columbia River was the first bridge link between Oregon and Washington States, crossing the Great River of the West, and providing the necessary rail link between the four major railroads which met in the Portland-Vancouver area: the Great Northern (GN) and Northern Pacific (NP) railroads and their subsidiary, the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway Company (SP&S) from the north side of the river, and the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company (Union Pacific) and Southern Pacific Railroad from the Oregon side. Until the new bridges were built, the interchange of trains and cars was made by ferrys at Kalama and Vancouver, Washington. A highway bridge across the Columbia River, Interstate Bridge (US 99), would not be built until 1917. The Vancouver-Portland bridges run in a generally north-south line from Willbridge in northwest Portland, across the Willamette River to the North Portland peninsula, through the Portsmouth Cut across the peninsula to Columbia Slough, across the slough on a short single span and along a railroad fill-dike dividing Smith and Force (now Vanport area) lakes, low flood plain areas of the Columbia River, to the Oregon Slough (North Portland Harbor), across on the Oregon Slough Bridge to Hayden (Shaw) Island and along another fill, replacing the original Hayden Island Viaduct, to the Columbia River and the Vancouver Bridge. The total bridges, causeways, and cut complex is about 4-3/4-miles long from the north bank of the Columbia River to the south bank of the Willamette River, The bridges are comprised of 21 through truss bridge spans, three center swing draw spans, and three deck plate girder spans. The Willamette River Draw Span is the longest of the bridges, measuring 521 feet long. The Willamette River's four fixed through spans are identical with the six of the Vancouver Bridge, each 265 feet long. All piers are similar and constructed of granite ashlar faced plain mass concrete on timber piling or mass footings. Timber caissons were used to build the piers. The through truss fixed and draw spans are of the Pennsylvania (petit) type of Parker truss.

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Morley Bridge - Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad Truss Bridge, Romley Colorado

In 1879, silver was discovered in the Sawatch Mountains south of Leadville. Within months, the town of Gunnison was platted as the smelting center for mining districts around St. Elmo, Tin Cup, Irwin, and Gothic. Almost immediately, two railroads- the Denver, South Park & Pacific and the Denver & Rio Grande- raced to lay track to Gunnison from their existing termini at Leadville. During the summer of 1880. the DSP&P built westward from Nathrop up Chalk Creek to St. Elmo before quitting construction for the winter. Early in 1881, track crews pushed past nearby Morley (also called Red Town because all the buildings were painted red, and later renamed Romley in 1897) to Alpine Pass, where they began construction of a tunnel. The tunnel lay in Ute Indian hunting lands, however, and the Ute Indians reportedly laid a curse on it because the presence of men and machinery ruined the place as a hunting ground. The work was difficult and dangerous. In their remote location, the building crew experienced difficulties among themselves that they resolved by hanging one crewmember. When the tunnel was finally completed the first train through it derailed. In 1882, the first DSP&P train steamed successfully into Gunnison through the Alpine Tunnel, then the highest tunnel on the continent. The railroad built numerous other timber and iron bridges on its way from Nathrop to Gunnison, including this wrought iron deck truss over Pomeroy Gulch at Morley. Built by a DSP&P construction crew in 1881. the Morley Bridge carried railroad traffic into the 20th century. As the mines in the region gradually played out, segments of the rail line were closed, this one in 1926, and converted to a county road. The Morley Bridge was redecked to carry cars and it carried vehicular traffic until 1992 when it was converted to a pedestrian bridge. The bridge now stands unaltered and adapted to a new use. Beginning in the late 1870s, the pin-connected wrought iron truss was the roadway bridge of choice for medium- and long-span crossings in America. Made of numerous built-up metal members connected to form series of triangles in a variety of web configurations, trusses functioned as complex, long-span beams. Colorado's counties erected a typical array of truss types, but concentrated primarily on the Pratt and its subtypes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The earliest Pratts featured pinned connections in what was known as the American style of truss assembly. While the Pratt truss was a popular design for many years, the ever-changing technology of the field required constant upgrades and improvements to the earlier designs. As a result, cast-iron and wrought iron bridge members were virtually eliminated due to the availability of steel by the 1890s; extant examples are rare and significant in Colorado.

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Hilderbrand-McTighe House, Memphis Tennessee

According to local tradition, Benjamin Hilderbrand and his older brother Daniel traveled seasonally to the general area of this property as early as 1819, trading with the region's Native Americans from their base in the Natchez vicinity of Mississippi. Soon after that date, the brothers reportedly applied for a 7,000 acre federal land grant in the area of northern DeSoto County, Mississippi and southwestern Shelby County, Tennessee, though the grant was never issued. If true, the issuance of the grant probably was stalled by a continuing border dispute between the State of Tennessee, the Chickasaw Nation, and eventually, the State of Mississippi. The border dispute was not resolved until the Chickasaw Cession of 1834, and the 440 square miles of territory ceded were divided among members of the Chickasaw Nation, who were permitted to sell their properties to Anglo American settlers. One of the Chickasaws, Ton Tubby, deeded his interest in Section 1, Township 1, Range 8 West, and in Section 12, Township 1, Range 8 West, to Benjamin A. Hilderbrand on December 5, 1836 in two deeds for the total consideration of $2,980.00. On this property Benjamin Hilderbrand established permanent residence in Tennessee for the first time. Born in Mississippi in 1806, Benjamin A. Hilderbrand was among the earliest settlers of rural Shelby County. Hilderbrand moved permanently to Shelby County between 1830 and March 22, 1833, when he filed for a license to marry Susan Robertson, whom he married on March 28, 1833. Hilderbrand's bride was born 1816 in North Carolina, the daughter of Medicus Robertson, Sr. (died 1844), another early pioneer of Shelby County.

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Riverview Mansion - Burris House - McLaran-Humphreys House, Columbus Mississippi

Riverview was constructed between 1847 and 1851 for Colonel Charles McLaran (1808-91), a native of Baltimore, who migrated to Lowndes County, Mississippi, in the 1840s and became engaged in cotton production. In 1847, he was one of the founders of the First National Bank in Columbus and by 1850 was listed as the second largest landholder in the county. McLaran's name frequently appeared in local newspapers, which urged him to seek the governorship of Mississippi. This he declined, ... having no fondness for either emoltiments or honors of public office. His most prominent contribution, however, remains the construction of Riverview, which attracted considerable interest from contemporaries. To satisfy public curiosity, the Southern Standard of November 12, 1852, carried a lengthly description of the mansion and of a great festive entertainment which had occurred during the previous week. An architectural evaluation headed the article:
. . . Our townsman. Colonel Charles McLaran, recently had erected on one of the most eligible and beautiful situations within the limits of our city, a splendid and costly brick mansion, the crowning architectural structure among the many stately edifices, private and public, that adorn our city, and delight the eye of the stranger en passant, — and which, in dimensions and external grandeur — internal arrangements, style and exquisit [sic] finish is, probably, superior to anything of the kind to be found in the Southern States. In 1857, McLaran sold Riverview to John Gilmer, owner of the Gilmer Hotel in Columbus and a former state representative. Gilmer, known as an early advocate of the extension of certain civil rights to women, owned the house until 1881, the year of his death. His widow sold the property to a Columbus lawyer, W. W. Humphries, whose decendants retained the title until 1965. Threatened with demolition, the house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Pratt Thomas, prominent local preservationists. Riverview remained rented until 1971, when it became the property of Dr. and Mrs. John Murfee, Jr., who restored the home.

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Point Reyes Lighthouse, Point Reyes Station California

The Point Reyes Light Station was established to warn mariners of local hazards and also to provide an important landmark in setting bearings for San Francisco harbor. Protruding far beyond the rest of the coastline and often shrouded in heavy fog. Point Reyes figures as a dangerous spot on Pacific maritime coastal routes. Congress authorized funds for a lighthouse at Point Reyes as early as 1854. Disputes with local landowners, however, delayed construction until 1870. In the interim, seven major shipwrecks occurred at the point. Construction of the light station proved to be a monumental civil engineering feat. Work began with wagons carrying materials over two miles of steep hills from the landing to the top of the headland. Two terraces had to be carved out of the solid rock cliff, one at 100' above the sea for the fog-signal and the other at 240' for the lighthouse. Point Reyes is and always has been the windiest point on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent. Fourty mph winds are the norm and gusts exceeding 100 mph have been recorded. Weeks of unbroken fog, especially during the summer months, can reduce visibility to 1/2 mile or less. The iron plated lighthouse is bolted to the rock to prevent wind damage. The dwellings that have been built at Point Reyes over the years have been located back from the cliff to minimize wind interference. The lighthouse tower is the only survivor from the original 1870 station. It is a substantial structure built to contain a Fresnel lens (in this case the largest 1st order variety) and its architectural integrity is very nearly complete (including the lens). The structure is very similar to many others built in California at about the same time. Its squat appearance together with its large 1st order lens categorize it with the type of lighthouses built on major headlands in California. This was a building type well suited to California's long, steep, harborless shoreline. In the flatter East, lighthouses tended to be taller and the proliferation of harbors allowed for a smaller harbor marker type of lens. Point Reyes lighthouse is almost a carbon copy of the Cape Mendocino light established in 1868. Both are built of prefabricated iron panels, bolted together at the site. This was a common method of lighthouse construction throughout the country, both in the 19th and early 20th century. It allowed for fabrication at a distant location and permitted an easy and quick assembly once on the site. This would prove especially useful at the more isolated stations such as Point Reyes.

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Palm Beach Building, Newport Kentucky

This industrial building was constructed for the Dueber Watch Case Manufacturing Company in 1883 to house a watch manufacturing business established by local businessman, John C. Dueber. He founded the business in 1873 and for the first few years was located in downtown Cincinnati at the corner of Race and 4th Streets. In 1877, the business was moved to a location in Newport at the southeast corner of of Jefferson and Washington Streets. This location is one block south of the current location. Within a few short years the business expanded at such a rate that an additional facility was required to meet the demand for watches. A new plant, one block north was constructed in 1883. In subsequent years, the business continued to grow and efforts were undertaken to purchase additional land adjacent to this building in order to expand again. These efforts failed because of local opposition. Mr. Dueber felt that his business was not wanted in Newport and in 1888 merged his operation with the Hempden Watch Company of Canton, Ohio. All Newport operations were transferred to Canton. The Standard Carriage Goods Company purchased the building in 1891. This company was incorporated in 1885 and manufactured carriage hardware and leather trimings. In 1897, the company was purchased by a group of investors that included a Mr. Henry Higgins. Mr. Higgins was a superintendent with the carriage company. The new company was called the Higgins Manufacturing Company and continued to make various carriage trimmings. Mr. Higgins was a vice president within the new company. By 1906, the company had begun to phase out of the carriage trim business and venture into the manufacture of metal fly screens. This eventually led to the manufacture of metal screens for doors and windows and weather stripping materials. The company prospered and remained in operation until 1945.

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Plains High School, Plains Georgia

The first Plains school was a two-story frame structure facing Bond Street on the west side of the current school property. Plains citizens raised $1,800 to erect this building which was first opened to students in 1900. Julia Coleman, who would later be cited by Jimmy Carter as one of the major influences in his life, began teaching English at the school in 1912. In the late 1910s, there was an effort throughout Sumter County to consolidate many of the one-teacher school houses into larger, better-equipped schools. At his time, the Mossy Dell School and Planters Academy both merged with the Plains School. With the consolidation came new school buildings in the towns of Union and New Era, and on August 17, 1920, the citizens of Plains followed suit and held a meeting to discuss the construction of a new school building to replace the frame structure on Bond Street. To finance the school, the board of trustees sold $50,000 of 5 percent, 30-year serial bonds. Under the leadership of chairman W.T. Wise, the trustees advertised in the Manufacturer's Record for an architect to build the proposed $50,000 ten-room brick or stucco building. Although the name of the architect is unknown, Plains residents remember that the school was erected by local builder Ernest T. Wellons, the son of Reverend Augustus C. Wellons (who constructed many homes as well as one of the 1913 Wise Hospital building on Main Street). The old frame school suffered from a one-room fire while the new school building was still under construction, and Clarence Dodson remembers his first-grade class being evacuated from the old school and taken directly to the new one to continue classes in the completed section.

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Billy Carter Gas Service Station, Plains Georgia

During Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in 1975-76, much attention was lavished on this service station, then owned by his colorful and outspoken younger brother, Billy. He considered his station a social rather than a business venture and it served as a hangout for his down home fraternity, where men would gather to drink beer and shoot the breeze after work. The media capitalized on the service station as a symbol of Jimmy's rural southern upbringing. The building was maintained in its run-down, informal state and became a stronghold for the local residents who were disenchanted with the drastic changes taking place in Plains with Carter's ascendancy to the White House. Billy used it as the headquarters for his unsuccessful campaign as the No Progress candidate for mayor of Plains. In the 1920-30s, the service-station lot was the site of a large, two-story hotel used by many people who came to Plains for treatment at the Wise Sanitarium. Records show that the hotel and property were owned by Burr Thaddeus Wise, one of the hospital's founders, and during its years of operation had several different managers, including Ernest and Rosa Dean, a Mr. Aiken, Walter Kennedy and Flora Markette Kennedy. The hotel was torn down sometime between 1937-48 and the property was left vacant until 1956 when Mill Jennings (1909-72) opened his Amoco Service Station there. He first owned a service station in a wood building on the west end of the Main Street business block, but he wanted to move his business to a busier street. He purchased the frame structure from the Jones Sprinkler Company (now the Jones Piping Company), which had been in operation in Plains since 1933, and moved it to the hotel lot. The building was originally built by the Jones family for their daughter who used it as a practice room for ballet.

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Wise Sanatorium No. 2 - Plains Convalescent Home, Plains Georgia

The Wise Sanitarium was founded by three brothers from one of Plains' prominent families. Dr. Burr Thaddeus Wise (1882-1950), son of Plains' first mayor, Burr Thomas Wise, was the first of the brothers to become a doctor. Upon graduating from medical school at Tulane University in 1908, he began to practice in Plains with a case of supplies and a folding operating table. In 1911, his brother, Sam (1884-1943), also earned his medical degree at Tulane and, in 1912, the two men established the first hospital in Plains on the second floor of the Plains Pharmacy; it could accommodate ten to fifteen patients. In 1914, the youngest brother, Bowman J. (1888-1951), returned home from Tulane with a medical degree and joined his brothers, creating the threesome that would come to be known as the Three Wise Men. In 1916, the brothers moved from the office over the pharmacy to the second floor of a building on Main Street. The second story of the building was destroyed in a fire during the time that the current structure was under construction. The construction of the $75,000 hospital was a community effort and a great source of local pride. Much of the wood structure came from the Wise farm in Plains. Jimmy Carter's father, James Earl Carter Sr., was on the hospital's board of directors, and soon after James Earl Jr. was born at the hospital in October 1924, he became the proud owner of several shares of Wise Hospital stock. The new facility for sixty patients featured an X-ray, an operating room with skylights, and a radium department. The only other radium obtainable in the area was in Atlanta, so black and white patients with cancer came from miles around for treatment. A security deed for $5,000, taken out on June 10, 1922, describes a large brick hospital for white people and a smaller hospital for negroes. In 1931, the Americus Times Recorder reported Wise Sanatorium (sic) is also a great asset to Plains and the surrounding territory, providing expert medical and surgical attention for those needing the facilities of a hospital. Ailing people reputedly came long distances to see the Wise doctors. So many that a hotel was built on the lot where the Phillips 66 Service Station that was formerly Billy Carter's now stands.

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