California Powder Works Bridge - Santa Cruz County, California
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member DougK
N 37° 00.628 W 122° 02.635
10S E 585057 N 4096460
Quick Description: The Powder Works Bridge stands out as one of the best surviving examples of a Smith truss bridge in the United States.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 4/17/2015 7:47:42 PM
Waymark Code: WMNQ8A
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 1

Long Description:
From the Nomination form:

Powder Works Bridge is an outstanding example of nineteenth-century covered bridge construction. Built in 1872, the bridge is historically significant as an essential component of the California Powder Works, which was the first black powder mill on the West Coast. It is an excellent example of a Smith truss, a nationally- significant timber bridge type, of which only twenty-three historic examples survive. Powder Works Bridge is highly significant as the last remnant of Smith Bridge Company operations on the West Coast, which represent the last effort to market timber bridges on a national scale. Patented by Ohio native Robert W. Smith in 1867, the Smith truss had all diagonal truss web members; it was light, strong, and efficient; and for a short time, it allowed wood bridges to successfully compete with iron bridges as an industrial product.

Powder Works Bridge is an impressive and well-maintained timber Smith through truss covered bridge.3 Overall, the superstructure is 180 feet long (including the portal overhangs), 28 feet deep (including the roof), and 30 feet wide (including the roof overhangs), with a clear span length of 163’-0” and a roadway width of 19’-3”. The Douglas fir trusses are fourteen panels long, each panel measuring approximately 11’-3” wide, except the two center panels, which are 8’-10” wide.

From the NHL announcement:

Constructed in 1872, this covered bridge is one of the most outstanding surviving examples of a Smith Truss, a nationally significant timber truss type developed and patented in 1867 by Robert W. Smith in Toledo, Ohio. This truss type features diagonal truss web members that resulted in a light, strong, and efficient design whose components could be mass-produced at a factory and shipped to distant sites.


Nearby Plaque on Monument

Street address:
Keystone Way
Santa Cruz, California USA


County / Borough / Parish: Santa Cruz

Year listed: 2015

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Transportation Engineering

Periods of significance: 1872

Historic function: Transportation / road-related (vehicular bridge)

Current function: Transportation / road-related (vehicular bridge)

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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