The bridge

Moving Henszey's Bridge


The Dedication
10 May 2002

The dedication ceremony was held only three days after the bridge was lifted into place. It was a beautiful May afternoon, and a good crowd filled the terrace outside Central Penn's new Advanced Technology and Education Center, itself dedicated only the day before.

Side view

The cranes had been removed, so it was possible to get a view of the downstream side of the bridge from below. The side of the bridge that faced upstream at Ontelaunee Creek faces downstream at Central Penn.

Blue sky

The bridge under blue skies.

Eric DeLony

The first speaker was Eric DeLony, head of the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record. Early in the process of saving Henszey's Bridge, Mr. DeLony helped persuade Todd Milano of its historic value. After describing the bridge's idiosyncracies for the audience, he added: "Cambridge University may have its famous Mathematical Bridge, but now Central Penn has its Henszey's Arch."

Close up

A view of the bridge's midpoint shows the end of one of the I-beams that support the deck. Interestingly, it does not rest on the bridge's bottom chord -- the flat, thin piece of metal with the double rows of rivets. Instead, the beam is supported at each end by two T-shaped members that hang from the arch above, forming an elongated triangle. The bottom chord was designed only to hold the two ends of the arch together -- it's the "string" in the "bowstring arch." The bridge's design became more complicated when the downward-curving camber rods and their heavy plates were added below the bottom chords, along with the diagonal tension bars that connect the plates to the archs.

Jim LeVan

James LeVan is pastor of the First Baptist Church, in Slatington, just up the hill from the bridge's original location. Amazingly, he also grew up near the bridge when it spanned Ontelaunee Creek. He remembers digging for turtles in the mud beneath the bridge, and listening as car tires went whap-whap-whap on its oaken planks.

Mary Hermany

Mary Hermany and her family live in the farmhouse overlooking the bridge's former site at Ontelaunee Creek. Although the bridge was closed to vehicles years ago, she said people in the neighborhood continued to walk across it. "The bridge was right in front of our home -- I looked at it every day of the week," she said. "I hope everyone enjoys it as much as we did."

Bill Stahle

Bill Stahle is a Central Penn alumnus -- Class of '44 -- whose father also graduated from the college (in the Class of '22). Mr. Stahle was one of the bridge project's biggest supporters, organizing a 2001 trip to the Ontelaunee Creek site and chaperoning President Milano on numerous other visits.

Full view

The bridge seen from the other side of the campus.


A close-up of the downstream (formerly upstream) arch.

Window view

The view from the second floor of the new building, alongside the door to which the bridge leads.

Added March, 2003


Decked and railed, the bridge has been serving Central Penn for almost a year now.