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Photo Album of Bridges by G. W. Philips

 Collection — Volume: PHOTO0018.01
Identifier: SC Photo-0018

Scope and Contents

The album contains 82 gelatin and glossy black and white photographs; one chromolithographic postcard and one gelatin postcard; one blue print and one newspaper article.


  • 1900-1930
  • Majority of material found within 1900-1930


Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Through personal acknowledgement, it appears this collection is of engineering construction inspected by G. W. Philips. The Pennsylvania bridges appear to be located along a route outward from Harrisburg toward Erie or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The bridges named: Hyner Bridge, Irvine Memorial Bridge (Tidioute Bridge), Kettle Creek Bridge, Parade Street Bridge (Erie, PA), Queen’s Run Bridge, Ritchey Run Bridge. Some of these bridges are located along what is known as the Bucktail Trail (U.S. Route 120) through Clinton County which was named for the Bucktail Rangers, a Pennsylvania regiment in the Civil War. Originally the Bucktail Trail was known as the Old Sinnemahoning Trail which the Native Americans used to travel between the western branch of the Susquehanna River and the Allegheny River. G. W. Philips is pictured in some of the photographs inspecting construction. Some of the photographs show railroad track realignment (Glen Union) as well as bridge construction. Ten pages of photographs of Pennsylvania bridge construction is of the Hyner Bridge which carried Route 120/105 across the Susquehanna River near Renovo, Pennsylvania, at one time a major railroad town. The Hyner Bridge, a multi-arched concrete bridge, reputed in 1929 to offer a short cut highway route between Philadelphia and Erie was perhaps Mr. Philips largest project possibly performed for the Pennsylvania Department of Highways/Transportation. A chromolithographic postcard of the Hyner Bridge was sent to G. H. Philips in 1930 by “Daddie” (G.W. Philips to his son, “Ham”) encouraging a trip to see the bridge. A gelatin postcard to “Friend Philips” of the closing of the arch of the Hell Gate Bridge from Walter J. Parsons in 1915? seems to explain the inclusion of eight pages of construction photographs of the Hell Gate Bridge across the East River in New York City. Mr. Parsons appears to have worked on constructing the Hell Gate Bridge. The Pennsylvania Railroad built the Hell Gate Bridge to facilitate railroad travel to New England. The Hell Gate arch bridge was designed by Gustav Lindenthal as a steel arch 1,017 feet long arch. The whole length of the structure including concrete arch abutments from Long Island to the Bronx is 17,000 feet long. The top of the arch is 280 feet above water. The bridge carried four railroad tracks. It was opened for use in 1917. Henry Kern Photographer of Long Island City took some of the Hell Gate photographs as so acknowledged on the backs of some of the photos. Hell’s Gate separates Astoria, Queens from Randalls’ (Ward) Island In the East River, New York City.


1 volume ( The album contains 82 photographs of assorted sizes; one color lithograph postcard and one gelatin postcard; one blue print; one newspaper article glued onto the pages. The album measures 30.5 x 25.5 x 2 cm with a black buckram covering over thin cardboard with 24 dark grey paper pages. Beneath some of the gelatin photographs are penciled captions. Some of the items have ink writing on the back of photos or postcards.)

Language of Materials



The album contains a collection of photographs of six Pennsylvania bridges and several railroad works possibly inspected by G. W. Philips in a period from 1900 to 1930. Perhaps the most well-known Pennsylvania bridge is the multi concrete arch Hyner Bridge over the Susquehanna River near Renovo, Pennsylvania. The Hell Gate Bridge over the East River in New York City is an anomaly among the construction photographs in the album as the only New York bridge. The album is an interesting collection of period photographs of assorted engineering construction.


The album begins with three gelatin photographs of engineering scenes around Ritchey Run, Pennsylvania followed by a photograph acknowledged to be taken in 1900 as the first bridge inspected by G. W. Philips. Subsequent photographs and a newspaper article carry the chronology into 1930 with a dated postcard of the Hyner Bridge.

Related Materials

Bronx Public Works collection

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commision. 1986. Historic Highway Bridges of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Reiner, Sharon. 1977. The Bridges of New York. New York: Quadrant Press.

Separated Materials

If any material has been removed from the collection, for cataloging, or for other reason, mention it here, such as books, maps, photographs, posters, etc.

Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
January 3, 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)