Thursday, February 23, 2012

[Views of Cincinnati] A Crossing in the Commonwealth

#5 - A Crossing in the Commonwealth

My friend Jake and I were once talking about the Brent Spence Bridge. I remarked to him that it looked "awful." It looks rusty and worn in comparison to the bright colors of the Roebling, Big Mac and People bridges. He said that he liked its appearance, that it made Cincinnati look "tough." In a way he was right. While out pursuing a different angle for 224 Cincy, Ryan Texas Ranger and I came across some infrastructure hidden on a hillside in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a crossing that looked "tough."

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The day started out with nice weather. This whole winter has been relatively mild with very little snow. In true Midwestern fashion, the weather soon turned overcast and bitterly cold. Ryan and I met up in search of an angle that we had seen in a Cincinnati Magazine from 1988. While looking, we came across a bridge that crosses the railroad tracks in Newport.


On one end, the pedestrian bridge links to a school and industrial facility on York St, its imposing stairs and wooden structure high above the regular sidewalk. On the other end, the bridge is tucked into the neighborhood between two houses.


It's rusty, the fence is torn in parts and graffiti abounds. Nothing artful, just a bunch of swastikas and names written into the metal. Potato chip bags, pop cans, beer bottles and other trash line the sides.


The grating is stable, but bowed in sections. The whole thing likes to shake and you get this uneasy feeling walking across it. Between the houses, the entrance to the bridge is kind of obscured. Given its appearance and condition, we wondered if it was even supposed to still be open.


The tracks below service the Amtrak "Cardinal" line between Maysville, KY and Cincinnati's Union Terminal when it crawls into the area late at night.


While we were there shooting, only one other soul crossed the bridge.


The bridge is unique in that it doesn't really mirror or look similar to the pedestrian bridges around the area. The supports are made of wood as opposed to concrete. Maybe it was built by the railroad?


The bridge is certainly an oddity. I've never seen anything that looks like it in the city or surrounding area. It seems like some obscure rural crossing that would be more fitting in a "small town." Its gritty appearance and Midwestern charm certainly add to the "tough" quality mentioned before. As you reach the end of the crossing, the city of Newport, KY lays ahead of you while the rusty suicide fence frames the Cincinnati skyline, viewable off in the distance.


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1 comment:

  1. Love the site. Found it by looking up Bluegrass Boardwalk.

    I started reading and then found this post which mentions the Cardinal and it visiting Maysville, my home town.

    Keep up the great work!