MHT File Photo
Lombard Street Bridge
Over Gwynn's Falls, Baltimore, Baltimore City
The Lombard Street Bridge is an 88' cast iron span consisting of three lines of trusses--two outer trusses of composite cast and wrought iron in a diagonal Pratt design and a center composite bowstring truss of Pratt-system web. Both chords are cast iron water mains, bifurcated at each end-bearing at which point there is a cast iron post and wrought iron tie.
Designed in 1877 by engineer Wendel Bollman (1814-1884), the Lombard Street Bridge is believed to be the only bridge of its kind in existence. It is a unique, bifurcated water-main form which is an integral part in the support system for the bridge. Other water-main bridges are constructed through the use of the arch rather than the truss. It was built to carry city traffic over the Jones Falls stream and water through the design system. The bridge was disassembled c. 1975 because it could no longer handle the heavy volume of traffic on Lombard Street, one of the principal east-west streets in Baltimore. It is stored on the property of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. The bridge is also significant for its association with Wendel Bollman, a self-taught engineer who invented the Bollman truss in 1852. The Bollman Truss bridge became one of the most outstanding advances in 19th century bridge design. Bollman designed many bridges for the B & O Railroad and for various other firms from Chile to Iowa, including Maryland. He built 12 bridges in Baltimore, including the Lombard Street Bridge, which carried city street traffic over the Jones Falls and water through the original design system for almost a century.