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Made in England - Built in Canada: Name Me

 Fraser River Bridge
Fraser River Bridge

This is the Fraser River Bridge built near Cisco (Siska) British Columbia by Conrad C. Schneider. Schneider was an immigrant to the United States in 1864 and quickly became one of the leading bridge engineers in the country. He was given the task of designing the Fraser River Bridge and a similar bridge across the Niagara Gorge adjacent to John A. Roebling’s suspension bridge around 1882. He chose the cantilever design for both bridges. At the time, only C. Shaler Smith had adopted the cantilever design for bridge building – one over the Kentucky River (the Kentucky High Bridge) and one over the Mississippi River near St. Paul, Minnesota (the Minnehaha Bridge). These were both parallel chord bridges that were erected as continuous bridges but converted into cantilever bridges after the iron was completed.

Schneider’s cantilever bridges were constructed with the anchor spans built on falsework and the cantilever arms erected by cantilever means. The central suspended spans were erected partly by cantilever methods as well. He designed the Fraser River first but the iron had to be fabricated in England and shipped to British Columbia. As the result the Niagara Bridge was finished first and is known as the first modern cantilever bridge with a central suspended span. The Niagara Bridge opened on 1883 and was 906 ft. long. It was removed in 1925 and replaced by a steel arch bridge. The Fraser River Bridge was only 525 ft. long and opened in 1884. The original span was replaced in 1910 and was moved to cross the Niagara Canyon on Vancouver Island in British Columbia where it still serves the Esquimalt & Manaimo Railway. 

Conrad C. Schneider
Conrad C. Schneider

Schneider was named president of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1905 and was awarded the Norman Medal in 1905 and 1908. The first award was for his paper entitled “The Structural Design of Buildings” and the second for his paper entitled “Movable Bridges.” He also received the Roland Medal from ASCE in 1886 for his paper on “The Cantilever Bridge at Niagara Falls.” He died in 1916 and his memoir in the Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers stated in part:

Mr. Schneider was dearly beloved by his many friends on account of his sterling character and his kindly disposition. He was always willing and ready to assist brother engineers with advice, giving to them freely from his rich fund of knowledge, and large indeed is the number of engineers to-day in responsible positions, who owe their training and their positions to him. He was most democratic in his ways and of a lovable disposition, and gained, in the highest degree, the respect of everybody who came in contact with him. He always stood for good work, good designs, and good details, and the Engineering Profession is greatly indebted to him for the present high standard that has been obtained in bridge and structural work. His was a most useful life, well lived, an example and an inspiration to the Profession, that will remain in the memory of all who had the privilege of knowing him.