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Bridges Key to Beaver Valley
By Harry Boyd
Courtesy of Little Beaver Historical Society

Bridges have always fascinated me. They tie our small Beaver Valley communities together and make it convenient for us to visit our cousins, uncles, aunts and parents. Just imagine, taking a ferry to cross one of our rivers. It would really slow down traffic.

I checked into the data available in "The 20th Century History of Beaver County - 1990-1988." Here are a few facts:

1. The first wooden bridge between Beaver Falls and New Brighton was built in 1831. In 1900 it was replaced with a steel bridge. This was torn down in 1926 and replaced with another in March of 1927 at a cost of one million dollars. This new one was called the "White Way' because it had a 6 ft wide sidewalk and had 28 electric lights. This bridge was replaced by the current bridge in 1987.

2. The oldest bridge in our area is the Fallston Bridge. It opened in 1884 and replaced a covered bridge built in 1836.

3. The Tenth Street Bridge (New Brighton to Beaver Falls) was built in 1891 for the Riverview Trolley and converted to auto traffic *in 1926. It closed in 1978 and will be eventually torn down.

4. The Vanport Bridge (Route 60) was built in 1968 and at that, time it was the, second most expensive bridge in the state. The cost was 10.4 million dollars.

5. There are 12 major bridges in Beaver County. Most are between 40 and 50 years old.. Seven have a remaining life expectancy of five years.

6. The old Sharon Bridge crossed the Beaver River at a location that can best be described as "Friends Dealership to Vollmer's Dealership." It was built in 1887 and probably carried many people from Beaver Bridgewater, Vanport and Midland over to the Junction Park. I was interested in why this bridge was closed and was really amazed to read the following: "Dismantled after 1933 detour, closed as punishment for speeding motorists." Yes sir, big as life, right there on Page 79 - "Punishment for Speeding Motorists." How's that, sports car fans? I can't help but wonder who made such a monumental decision. Probably someone who had an interest in river ferries.

The Fallston Bridge submerged by the 1936 St. Patrick's Day Flood.
The Old Townsend Plant is in the background across the river.