Tuesday, April 17, 2012

[Views of Cincinnati] #19 & #20

#19 - Framed by a Pennsylvania Petit

19 - Framed by a Pennsylvania Petit

A "Pennsylvania Petit" style truss on the Newport-Southbank Bridge silhouetted along with the Skyline in the distance.

#20 - Bird on a Wire

20 - Bird on a Wire

A bird relaxing on a support for power lines at the Purple People Bridge that frames the highest point of Cincinnati's skyline. NOT a promotional poster for that shitty Mel Gibson action movie.

View 224 Views of Cincinnati Locations in a larger map

The "Purple People Bridge" is a name derived out of the local culture, it's what the Newport-Southbank Bridge is most commonly called, even being used in clever t shirt slogans like: "I got mugged on the Purple People Bridge!" It opened in 1872 as the Newport-Cincinnati bridge, the first railroad bridge in the area to cross the river. In 1897, it was renovated and received its iconic "Pennsylvania Petit" truss structure in addition to being open to automobiles, streetcars and pedestrians. It became the Louisville & Nashville Bridge in 1904 and remained so until the rusted and light blue structure was closed to automobile traffic (no railroad had used it since 1987). It landed on the National Register of Historic Places, got renovated once again, painted purple and reopened as the pedestrian only Newport-Southbank Bridge while the locals dubbed it the "Purple People Bridge."

"I got mugged on the Newport-Southbank Bridge" isn't as catchy anyways.

- The former railroad segment of the bridge could still one day accommodate light rail or modern streetcars.

- The center pedestrian path is also the original pedestrian crossing. Those walking across can also use the former automobile lanes.

- The bell used on the "Purple People Bridge Climb" that so few people ever rang.

Want to read more about the bridge's history? Check out this QC/D article from 2009: Cincinnati's Forgotten Railroad History.


  1. I was on a run yesterday across the purple people bridge and thought, I wonder when QCD is going to do a view from this angle? You must have read my thoughts because here it is this morning. Very nice.

  2. Yep, finally got there. Hoping to explore it more in the future. I really like that bridge. Wish I could've caught it with a barge going underneath or something. Hope you had a good run!

  3. I rang that bell! We were one of the few that got to cross the ill-fated Purple People Bridge.

    1. What was the Bridge Climb like? Got any photos?