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East Washington Street Bridge - New Castle PA

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I’m not sure when the first Pittsburg Street Bridge was constructed, but the New Castle News of January 18, 1888, mentioned, “The Pittsburg street bridge over the Neshannock was first re-built in 1858, then in 1865, and in 1869, and in 1887. The bridge is 152 feet in length and cost the county $13,880 the last time it was re-built.” Streetcars (tracks visible) began running across this bridge in late 1891. The county court house is visible in background. In June 1909 this structure was torn down and work began on a new concrete bridge, which was completed four months later. (c1902)

The old Pittsburg Street Bridge across the Neshannock Creek. The arches were added to this structure in 1893. (c1906)

The small buildings on the left side of the Pittsburg Street Bridge were torn down in April 1912 to make room for the start-of-the-art New Castle Dry Goods building. (c1908)

In early June 1909 the old Pittsburg Street Bridge was torn down and work immediately began on this new concrete span. In the background can be seen the Johnson Building on the north bank of the Neshannock Creek. This amazing photo and the subsequent five photos were taken by Pennsylvania Railroad telegrapher George Elmer Fisher, a amateur photographer who lived in New Castle for a time. (1909) Full Size

Work underway on the new bridge – soon renamed as the East Washington Street Bridge. (1909)

A closeup of the work. (1909)

Both spans of the concrete bridge appear to have been poured – although still encased in wooden scaffolding. (1909)Full Size

While work got underway tearing down the old bridge in June 1909 this temporary footbridge was erected to allow pedestrian traffic to cross the Neshannock Creek. In the background is the north side of the creek. (1909) Full Size

Apparently folks liked to loiter on this footbridge and watch the progress of the new concrete bridge. A brief mention in the New Castle News of July 9, 1909, reads kind of like a stern warning towards laziness in general, “No loitering is now allowed on the foot bridge across the Neshannock, it ought to be stopped at many other places, too.” In the background is the old Mill Street Bridge, which would be replaced in 1919-20. Another temporary footbridge would be erected nearby at that time. (1909) Full Size

In early June 1909 the old bridge was torn down and work immediately began on this new concrete span. The new bridge, soon renamed as the East Washington Street Bridge, was opened for traffic on Friday, October 1, 1909. Mayor Harry J. Lusk had the honor of being in the first buggy to cross the structure that afternoon. (c1914) Full Size

A black & white version of the photo above. The bridge had a single pier that was anchored in the creek bed and supported the center of the span. The pier would have issues with deterioration and have to be ocassionally repaired over the years. The aging Mill Street Bridge, which was torn down and replaced in 1919-20, is visible in the background. (c1914) Full Size

The 74-foot-long concrete bridge, which connects Croton Ave with the downtown area, was upgraded with new lamp posts and flower beds beginning in 1915-17 and periodically over the years since then. (c1920)

A night time view of bridge with the Dean Block building, which opened in early 1902, dominating the background scene. (c1914)

An old photo depicting the East Washington Street Bridge. (Jun 1917)


  1. I have pictures of that bridge being built and the dates are 1904/1905? These pictures were taken by Lee Fisher I believe. They were on some sort of glass template, so the detail is amazing! He lived on Quest Street and was an amatuer photographer. Google the name. The pictures are worth a look!

  2. (EDITOR’S NOTE) Mike, thanks for the heads up! I have a few of those great photos by George Elmer Fisher (1864-1953) and posted a few here in response to your message. Jeff

  3. My question is about the large building in the background on the left, what was it’s purpose, when was it built. I know as a child I vaguely recall it as ran down with apartments in it. It was always such a large presence, I wondered what it was. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

  4. (EDITOR’S NOTE) Wayne, Which photo(s) are you referring you? If you mean the photos of the newer bridge (built 1909) that is the Dean Block on the left along Croton Avenue. It was built in 1901-02 and was initially the home of the New Castle Business College – and then various small businesses over the years. By the early 1960’s it was home to the Dean Block Apartments. It was neglected and was condemned in the 1980’s. The smaller but similar building, without the raised roof, is the old Dufford Block. These buildings, and a smaller one closer to the bridge, were all torn down and are now part of a waterfront park beside the Rescue Mission. Hope this helps! Jeff


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