The 1934 Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge is the oldest cantilever over the entire Kanawha River. The structure is unusual for several different reasons. It is an extremely rare example of a cantilever in which the entire top chord is divided into only 9 sections. With most cantilevers, the top chord curves upwards to form pointed towers. With the Dick Henderson Bridge, the top chord has a linear upwards slope and towers with flat tops. It is the only cantilever bridge like it in the area. In the early 1930's, virtually all steel bridges were comprised of built up v-laced compression members. The Dick Henderson Bridge only uses rolled H-section beams for all of its members. H-section rolled beams did not even begin to be used on bridges until around 1920. The beams are more often seen on bridges from around 1940 and beyond, making the Dick Henderson Bridge look much more modern than it is. Unfortunately, the bridge is to be replaced around 2013. Why is a historical restoration not considered an option for this unusual, innovative bridge? The National Register Eligible bridge should be considered the most significant bridge over the entire Kanawha River!
Kanawha County, West Virginia