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Monday, November 8, 2010

Kinzua Bridge

There are many different types of ruins, and certainly not all of them are made of stone or date to antiquity. Within the category of ruins, we include modern ruins as well: buildings that have been abandoned and invaded by nature, modern ruins of war, etc. In one of the next few posts we will give a detailed list of our criteria for "ruins." However, I'd like to get the ball rolling by showing some pictures of the only structure - to the best of my knowledge - that I have ever visited which has since fallen into ruins: The Kinzua Bridge in Pennsylvania, USA, a 92 m tall and 625 m long span used for the railroad. At one point it was the tallest railroad bridge in the world. In 2002 I helped lead a group of about 40 high schoolers on a hike across the bridge. A few months later, the bridge was closed to pedestrian traffic, and a year later a freak tornado destroyed the bridge, knocking over several of the support piers. Today one can still see the start and end points of the bridge, but the fallen supports remain lying in the valley. The bridge was removed from the National Registry of Historic Places. The State of Pennsylvania decided to leave the ruins in place as a testament to the forces of nature, and no doubt as an intriguing draw to the Kinzua Valley Park.

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