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What is my name and who built me?

The bridge was the famous Kentucky River High Bridge built by C. Shaler Smith in 1877. It was the first major bridge built by cantilever methods in the United States.  

 Kentucky River High Bridge
Kentucky River High Bridge

Smith, born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1836, began his career working on the early railroads and with Albert Fink on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1858. He then moved south working on the Wilmington, Charlotte and Rutherford Railroad in North Carolina in 1859. During the civil war he sided with the South and became a Captain and built one of the major powder works in the South at Augusta, Georgia. After the war, in conjunction with Benjamin Latrobe, he formed Smith, Latrobe & Company, later the Baltimore Bridge Company, and specialized initially in building Fink Trusses. In the early 1870s he built several long and high railroad viaducts. He worked with James Eads on the construction of the Mississippi River Bridge at St. Louis and designed, among other efforts, the eastern approach spans. He was then called to design the High Bridge. John Roebling had started building a suspension bridge at the site in the early 1850s but after building the masonry towers and anchorages the project lost its funding and the site remained that way until 1874. Smith’s plan was to erect a continuous truss over two river piers by cantilever methods and after the span was complete to convert it into a cantilever truss by placing pins 75 feet from the piers towards the abutments. To do this he built a temporary wooden false work pier about 197 feet from the abutment and cantilevered the span, anchored to Roebling’s towers, to the wooden pier, and thence by cantilever methods to the permanent iron pier and thence to mid-span where it connected with the cantilever from the opposite side. He used double intersection Whipple wrought iron trusses for his single-track deck superstructure.

 Kentucky River High Bridge with temp pier
Temporary wooden false work pier and permanent iron
pier with traveler

 

 C. Shaler Smith
C. Shaler Smith

In the early 1900s it was decided to upgrade the structure at a higher level and to provide for double tracks. Gustav Lindenthal was named Chief Engineer and he built his bridge around Smith’s without halting traffic. The new bridge opened in 1911 and still serves.