This bridge, completed in 1890, is the oldest surviving structure to have spanned the Susquehanna River and is one of the largest multi-span, truss bridges ever fabricated by the nationally significant Phoenix Bridge Company. It is also the oldest metal span bridge of its type in the U.S. and is one of the most visible bridges in the country to preserve the technology of the company's patented Phoenix column. Originally known as the "People's Bridge" because of its lower fee to cross, the structure was erected to end a long-standing toll monopoly enjoyed by the neighboring Camelback Bridge, now the site of the Market Street Bridge. Both bridges continued to collect tolls well into the 1950's. Permanently closed to vehicular traffic after damage from Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972, the Bridge was almost demolished, an action that was averted through the structure's listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Since then, it has been a pedestrian and bicycle span. The Bridge was again damaged by the ice flood in 1996, when three sections of its western span were washed away. The eastern span survived in its entirety, was thoroughly restored in 1997 and stands as a lighted icon symbolizing the Bridge's continued resilience and historical importance to the growth of the Harrisburg region.
Walnut Street Bridge's Harrisburg entrance in 1891 shortly after its construction.
1950 view of the Bridge's tollbooths on City Island.
1890's view toward Harrisburg of the Walnut Street (foreground) and Camelback (beyond) Bridges crossing City Island.