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Photo Album of Hill-to-Hill Bridge Construction

Identifier: SC Photo-0035

Scope and Contents Note

The images included in the album show surveyors, the construction site, equipment and workers. Workers at the site are seen looking over blueprints, using surveying equipment, posing together smiling at the camera The last eleven pages of the album contain photos of the compiler’s family and friends during college life, vacations, graduation. Mainly the photographs are attached to both sides of all the pages. The black paper pages are brittle and chipping. There are 223 photographs. The postcard type of photographs and aerial views included among the smaller photos are believed to have been made by Conradi, a Bethlehem photographer. High views possibly taken from Lehigh Valley Railroad building on southside Bethlehem. A Lehigh graduate from 1919, Rollin R. Keim’s interest in the bridge is reflected by the pamphlet he assembled in 1924 titled “The Hill-toHill Bridge, Bethlehem, Pa.; including historical review and engineering features.”


  • Creation: 1921 - 1924

Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The Hill-to-Hill Bridge type is a spandrel, reinforced concrete arch. The number of main piers and abutments are 26, number of arch spans in entire bridge 26, longest concrete arch span (11 - 12) 146 feet, largest steel truss span 171 feet, entire length of bridge 6,055 feet, length of main bridge - piers 1-14 - 2,085 feet, height of bridge roadway above water 48 feet, five ramps approaching various sections of bridge, over 425,000 bags of concrete used. Both the Pennsylvania Cement Company of Bath, Pa. and Lehigh-Portland Cement Co.of Allentown, Pa. provided the cement; Johns-Manville, Inc. of Manville, N.J. and Philadelphia, Pa. furnished all the electrical conduits; Bethlehem Foundry & Machine Company, Bethlehem, Pa. furnished all the castings for manhole covers; Trexler Lumber Co. of Allentown, Pa. furnished about one-half million feet of lumber used in falsework; Bethlehem Steel Company furnished all reinforcing steel; Morris Black, Bethlehem, Pa. furnished the sand. The bridge referred to as the Hill-to-Hill Bridge extended northside Bethlehem’s Main Street to South Bethlehem connecting the two Bethlehems, once separate municipalities until their incorporation in 1917. The bridge now carries Pennsylvania Route 378 over the Lehigh River to meet Route 22. Prior to this bridge there had been a covered bridge connecting the north and south sides of Bethlehem. Many well known Bethlehem personalities such as Charles Schwab, Archibald Johnston, W. A. Wilbur, Eugene G. Grace among many other businessmen met in 1911 to promote commerce with a free bridge. Plans for a replacement bridge were discussed as to the precise location which would least affect existing structures. Original plans submitted by R. E. Neumeyer, Lehigh Class of 1890, as consulting engineer were drawn up around 1911 and revised at least three times. Financial difficulties ensued so a combination steel and concrete bridge as proposed by F. P. McKibben, a member of Lehigh’s Civil Engineering faculty, finally was agreed upon. This plan known as Neumeyer’s bridge Plan No. 3 had a steel span across railroad tracks of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company and Central Railroad of New Jersey with concrete arches for the bridge approaches. This plan was finally agreed on in 1916 and renamed the Neumeyer - McKibbin Plan No. 3. A campaign was started to raise the necessary funds to build the bridge. Eventually $1,198,000 was raised but World War I intervened. In the period from 1917-1919 Lehigh Valley Railroad requested that the steel span over the railroad tracks be expanded. The cost rose to about $2,125,000. The bids were sent out and the lowest bid came from Rodgers and Hagerty, Inc. of New York City at $2,568,000. Construction began August 1, 1921. Clarence W. Hudson of New York City, Lehigh Class 1889, was named Engineer for the Bethlehem Bridge Commission. High steel towers (cranes) were erected in August 192l for pouring concrete. Two plants for the concrete manufacture were constructed: one at Spring St. and another on land between the river and the canal. Excavation of the piers (No. 9 and 11) began September 27, 1921, concreting operations began December 14, 1921 but a stipulation in a two-year agreement with the Bethlehem Bridge Commission dictated that concrete pouring not be done below a freezing temperature so the work was shut down January 11, 1922 waiting for favorable Spring weather. Work went into large scale operation March 15, 1922. The cement came from Bath, Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Cement Company), stone from Groman’s Quarry, along the Monocracy Creek and sand hauled from the Central Railroad of New Jersey site at Bethlehem Junction - some sand coming from Kenvil, New Jersey near Lake Hopatcong, steel beams and reinforcing rods from Bethlehem Steel Company, Bethlehem Steel Bridge Corporation did the fabrication and erection of all steel spans and Lackawanna Steel the sheet piling for coffer dam work. By June 30, 1923 the bridge was 75% complete. An average of 250 men were employed during the summer of 1923 and work rapidly progressed until being shut down again in January 1924. Operations resumed again in March and progressed during the Summer of 1924. By July 24, 1924 the bridge was complete. According to the Pennsylvania Historic Bridge Inventory, this bridge was considered an engineering marvel of its time. Based on the known history of the Hill-to-Hill Bridge, there were several Lehigh alumni involved with its building: Archibald Johnson, Eugene Grace, R. E. Neumeyer, Clarence W. Hudson and Rollin R. Keim as well as a civil engineering faculty Frank P. McKibben. Included in the album are photos of buildings in Easton specifically the Bachman House at corner of Ferry and Third streets, the Columbus statue in Easton along the Lehigh River as well as photos of Philadelphia and historic Bethlehem Moravian buildings.


1 Linear Feet ([1] album ; 223 photos)

Language of Materials



Album contains small black and white photographs many of the siting and building of the Hill-to-Hill Bridge over the Lehigh River connecting the two Bethlehems in Pennsylvania. Also in the album are photographs of young men in graduation gowns, college dorm life and young people cavorting in outdoor activities.


The arrangement begins with the photographs of the bridge building and ends with personal photographs. It is apparent that the bridge photographs are the primary focus of the album with 1923 being the featured year of photographic observation.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The photograph album was purchased from Between The Covers Rare Books, Inc. in Gloucester City, N.J., May 20, 2021.

In Progress
Eleanor Nothelfer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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)