On December 17, 1891, a large crowd gathered to watch the placement of the keystone for Wheeling's new Main Street stone arch bridge, which was designed by city engineer Frank Hoge. After speeches and toasts, the 159-foot bridge opened to traffic in early 1892 as the longest single-span stone bridge in the country, serving as both a practical passageway and a symbolic gateway near the myth-laden mouth of Wheeling Creek, where the city was named and the steamboat invented. The elegant mathematical design continues enabling the durable bridge to carry modern traffic despite only being intended for horse and buggies when its keystone was laid 132 years ago today.
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Photo Credits: Ohio County Public Library Archives, Wheeling WV; Library of Congress