The bridge river crossing at this spot is Harrisburg's oldest and most historic. First to be erected was the Camelback Bridge, known for its irregular and "rolling" covered bridge profile and the first bridge to ever cross the Susquehanna River that flows through three states. Authorized for construction in 1809 and completed in 1816, the Bridge's financial success as a link to the farmers of Cumberland County to its west helped to establish Harrisburg's early importance as a major transportation center. During the Civil War, the Bridge served as the "escape route" for the residents of the Cumberland Valley who were fleeing from southern troops advancing toward Harrisburg. The invasion never occurred as destiny chose Gettysburg, although skirmishes between Union and Confederate troops on Harrisburg's West Shore three miles from this site, signified the reality of the threat. Destroyed by flooding in 1902, the Bridge was replaced by the two-lane forerunner of the present-day Market Street Bridge. Graced at its Harrisburg entrance by two of the main portico columns from the Old Capitol Building, which burned in 1897, the Bridge harkened the advent of the City Beautiful Movement. Further enhanced in 1926, the Bridge, as we know it today, was widened to four lanes and designed with graceful stone arches as a grand gateway to Pennsylvania's Capital City.
Late 1800's photo of the Camelback Bridge
Center Left Photo
Center Right Photo
Camelback Bridge's interior captures its "rolling" bridge decking.
Harrisburg entrance of the two-lane bridge, completed in 1905, which replaced the Camelback. Note the salvaged columns from the old State Capitol.