Brownsville: First Metal Arch Bridge in the US and a Borough on the Rise

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The last time we were to Brownsville was a number of years ago. At that point it looked like a post-apocalyptic ghost town. When the industry fled the area, so did many of the people, leaving all of the giant business buildings decrepit and collapsing. We went back to the borough recently and were pretty shocked at the transformation progress. While there is still lots of work to be done, many of the buildings that were beyond repair have been demolished, opening up green space, and the salvageable buildings are either being used for nice grassroots businesses, or in the process of getting reused. A town square has opened up, with green space and a amphitheater for performances, right in front of the town’s greatest contribution to the country and possibly the world, the proof of viability of using iron in bridge building.The first building we will look at is the Union Station. While this building remains in limbo, my hopes are that this building gets rehabilitated into something beneficial for the community.

The bridge still has some obstruction from overgrowth and some old foundations, but until recently, the bridge was largely surrounded with a number of abandoned buildings. These have since been demolished, and soon all of their foundations will be taken out, opening up views of this historic bridge once again.
Many of the surviving buildings are in the process of being restored.
This nicely manicured spot was home to decrepit buildings that have been torn down and replaced with a nice parklet, complete with an amphitheater and gardens, with the historic bridge located next door.The bridge was widened at some point, and this pony truss section was added, being old enough to be considered historic as well.Here is the iron arch construction that makes this bridge so meaningful.

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