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continued from page 12             bridges. One of the most recent was a   standard desirable in such works”. We
         ther  King Jr.  park on  the east side.   third suspension bridge. In September   can only guess what he meant about
         The bridge is the centerpiece of many   1990, a celebration was held in central   those  “vile  distilments”,  but  his  basic
         community festivals and events, and   Minneapolis to mark completion of the   complaint shows  his  disgust with the
         serves as a great venue for parties and   third  bridge. Even  though  the  county   intervention  of political motivation in
         special events.” Thomas M. Griffith is   and also one of the local main streets   the creation of bridges.
         not mentioned.                     already  were named  after a French   At some point after he began to make
                                            cleric who wrote a book about Ameri-  his home in Richmond County NY (bet-
         TWIN BRIDGES FOR TWIN CITIES       ca, County Commissioner Jeff Spartz   ter known as Staten Island) he had an-
           During  the  Civil  War,  Griffith  was   offered a motion which passed unani-  other run-in with politicians. It seems
         employed as inspector of ironclad ships   mously to name the third bridge the   he  was  asked  to design  a bridge as  a
         at the  Brooklyn  Navy Yard.  He  re-  Father  Hennepin  Bridge. As of 2017,   crossing for the tidal strait Fresh Kills.
         ceived an Army commission and there-  Thomas Griffith has dropped complete-  Possibly this was at the location where
         after became known as Major Griffith.   ly off Twin Cities’ radar screen.   the Richmond Avenue bridge is today.
         After the  war,  Minneapolis  continued                               He didn’t get paid for his work. He re-
         expanding eastward, eventually reach-  THE PATENT                     taliated by attaching the phrase “with-
         ing the boundaries of the state capital   In the summer of 1882, Griffith ap-  out any political pull” to his calling
         at  St.  Paul.  The  location  of  Griffith’s   plied for a unique suspension bridge   card and some of his business papers,
         bridge at what is now the center of   patent. It was granted one year later   declaring openly he was owed money
         the metropolis was a major factor in   as U.S. Letters Patent 285257, Sep-  by Richmond County. Thomas Griffith
         the  change.  According  to  Griffith,  “…  tember 15, 1883. His description of the   died in  December  1908 at age  85. He
         The  old  bridge  had  for  several  years   basic  concept  reads:  “This  invention   was buried in a cemetery on Long Is-
         been subjected to a much heavier traf-  relates to a suspension bridge which is   land near his home. No one has ever
         fic  than  was  contemplated  by  its  pro-  composed entirely of pieces of a moder-  verified  if  he  received  any  payment
         jectors…”  The  city  realized  a  more   ate length and weight, which can easily   from the county. WRN
         substantial structure  was crucial  for   be carried by men or pack-mules, and
         continued  growth.  Griffith  was  called   which when once delivered at the site   A DISMAL POSTSCRIPT
         back  and asked  to design  and build   of the proposed structure can be easily   Recently,  the  City of  Minneapolis,
         a stronger twin for his first bridge on   and cheaply put together, so as to form   unfortunately, has achieved some neg-
         the  same  site.  He  began building  the   a complete, strong, and elegant bridge.”  ative notoriety in  the world’s  bridge
         replacement in 1875 and finished two                                  lore database. On August 1, 2007 dur-
         years later at a cost of about $175,000.   WAPP                       ing evening rush hour traffic, the near-
           The second Mississippi  River wire   As part of his 1878 discussion of the   by 8-lane continuous steel truss bridge
         bridge was called the Hennepin Av-  second  Minneapolis  Bridge,  Griffith   on Interstate 35W collapsed into the
         enue Bridge. At first it served the pur-  posted a cryptic but revealing criticism   river killing 13 people and injuring 145
         pose intended adequately.          of the local government: “In design the   more. On February 19, 2012 the 5-year
           Several  innovative  techniques  were   new structure is nearly what the engi-  old Sabo stay cable pedestrian bridge
         implemented  by  Griffith.  He  inserted   neer intended it to be. In workmanship   began to fail when  two of  the stays
         a sheet of rubber between the towers   also it is as nearly so as a demoralizing   dropped free  onto  the  bridge due  to
         and the ends of the Howe trusses to   conflict some of the vile distilments of   wind-caused connection failures. It has
         minimize transmission of vibrations.   ward politics could permit us to reason-  been put back into use after repairs.
         He  augmented the  stiffening  by plac-  ably hope for,  although  not up to the    - Don Sayenga, October 2017
         ing timbers which he called
         “spars”  between  the  main  Thomas Griffith’s Brazos River Bridge at Waco is still in service today.
         cable and the trusses near
         the  middle of  the  span.
         Griffith explained: “In case
         the bridge  should be sub-
         jected to such  storms as
         have proved destructive to
         suspension  bridges, these
         timber spars will probably
         prevent the rupture of the
         suspending  rods  at those
         points where  they are the
         first  to  be  subjected  to
         those shocks and jerks…”.
         Despite the success  of the
         second bridge, it was de-
         molished in 1890 to make
         space for a new steel arch
         bridge.
           Traffic  across  the  river
         has continued to increase
         year after year, forcing con-
         struction of more and more

         14     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   October 2017
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