Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, May 5, 1860:
THE NEW BRIDGE. -- Mr. McComas has got the new suspension bridge over the Ohio so far advanced, that in a day or two he will commence tearing away the old structure, when a ferry boat will be employed until the new one is in a condition to be used. A new ferry is now being built for that purpose and will commence plying between the two shores on Tuesday next. It will be a little inconvenient for the people to come back to first principles again, but considering the necessity of the case and the short time required to swing up the new bridge, the inconvenience must be patiently endured.
Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, May 16, 1860:
THE BRIDGE CITY. -- Wheeling has for a long while been called the Bridge City, but never with so much propriety as it may be from this time forward. The Suspension bridge, to the completion of which we are all so anxiously looking forward, will soon be ready for use, provided the present favorable weather continues and the Superintendent of the work is allowed to go on without the disagreeable interruptions to which he was subject every day last week. The charter for the new railroad bridge having been secured by the necessary subscription without any effort, the friends of the project are condifent of the entire success of the great enterprise. We may, therefore, expect soon to see the structure commenced and energetically put through. Then Wheeling may justly be called the City of Bridges or the Bridge City.
from the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, June 25, 1860:
THE NEW SUSPENSION BRIDGE. -- This structure, in the progress of which the public are, of course, deeply interested in going forward as rapidly as the character of the work will allow. It is now so far advanced, that Mr. McComas, the engineer and superintendent assures us that, no preventing Providence, he will on the 19th day of the next month, drive over the new bridge with six horses attached to an omnibus, on which occasion he will invite the vehicle full of people to accompany him. The immense big cables are to be painted white; the suspenders blue, the banisters of the footwalks red and the floor beams of a drab color, so that the bridge may be expected to present upon its completion, not only a substantial and durable appearance, but also a handsome one. On and after to-day the bridge will be closed against all, including foot-passengers, and the traveling public will have to take to the water or the ferry boat as the floor of the old bridge will not be safe. The ferry boat will make trips every ten minutes up to the hour of 10 o'clock O. M., after which time those who are caught on the opposite side of the rive may expect to wade over, or straddle a log, as is frequently done now after the "wee sma' hours."
The 1998 reconstruction of the bridge will recreate this color scheme according to recent annoucements.
Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, July 3, 1860:
A MAN FALLS FROM THE SUSPENSION BRIDGE. -- Yesterday afternoon a man named Ellis Dalton, employed on the new Suspension bridge accidentally fell from the floor of the structure a distance of about eighty feet, alighting in three feet of water near the western shore. Upon reaching the water he arose quickly and commenced to strike for shore, but being badly stunned he made only feeble progress and would doubtless have been drowned but for the shallow water and the timely assistance of the men on shore. When resuced one of his legs was discovered to have been badly shattered and bruised. The wounded man was placed in an express wagon and conveyed to his residence, where he was properly treated. Dalton was walking about upon the flooring, when stepping upon a loose plank it gave way, and in his fall he clung to the timber almost until he reached the water. Alighting as he did in not more than three or four feet of water, it is the wonder of everybody that he was not instantly killed. Dalton had been employed upon the bridge but a short time, and is a stranger in the city.
Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Thursday Morning, July 26, 1860:
We yesterday took a rather hazardous tour of inspection over this structure, which we are gratified to annouce is approaching completion as rapidly as can be expected. By Saturday, as heretofore announced, Mr. McComas, the engineer and superintendent of the work, expects to cross the bridge with a four horse team, after which it will be open to the public and the tedious mode of ferrying will be done away with. The bridge, from present indications, will meet every anticipation of the stockholders being thorough though simple in its construction, light and substantial. The present bridge varies somewhat in its construction from the original one, which it is thought, has been materially improved upon for strength, lightness and convenience. The bridge will be secured against the attacks of hyperborean gales as heretofore, by guys, which will be attached both to the cables and the floor, something in the form of a martingale, and supported by stout new stacks of stone upon the shore. There will be ample room for trams to pass on the bridge, so that no inconvenience will arise. The foot walks are rather narrow, perhaps, but we are told taht hthis is necessarily so. It avoids giving a "wide surface" and more effectually secures the safety of the structure.
Mr. McComas, in commencing the new bridge, estimated its cost at thirty-seven thousand dollars, and he is now satisfied that it will not vary five hundred dollars from that sum. The first bridge cost two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and the temporary one which was recently removed cost seventeen thousand. The accident to the first bridge, and the erection of the second one depressed the stock considerably, and we are told that most of the stock has changed hands since that time at seven and a half, eight and ten dollars per share of twenty-five dollars. The improvements on the Island, in Bridgeport, and adjacent sections of Belmont county, together with the increased facilities afforded by the new bridge, will doubtless cause a rise in the shares, and holders, therefore, have begun to to congratulate themselves.
Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Saturday Morning, July 28, 1860:
THE BRIDGE. -- The new suspension bridge will be open to the public on and after Monday. This afternoon at four o'clock, Mr. McComas will cross in a four horse omnibus filled with invited guests.
Since the bridge has been closed, and the ferry put in operation, business above Monroe street, and particularly above Union street, has been remarkably dull, while those houses situated convenient to the ferry landing have observed an improvement in trade. The "far-ups" will therefore be doubly gratified at being able to command again the trade that comes over the bridge, while it may reasonably be supposed that the "far-downs" will not be too well pleased with the opening of the bridge.
Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Monday Morning, July 30, 1860:
THE OPENING OF THE BRIDGE. -- The opening of the new suspension bridge on Saturday afternoon turned out to be considerable of an event. Some three or four of Capt. Terry's omnibusses were hauled upon the bridge, preceded by a four horse vehicle, on the driver's seat of which sat W. K. McComas, the engineer of the work, who handled the checks like [ ]ehn, the very son of Ninishi. The procession, for such it was, proceeded to the residence of our hospitable friend Jacob Berger, on the Island, where a general refreshing of the inner man took place several consecutive, separate times. Returning the party stopped at Mr. P. E. Zinn's, a near neighbor of the Bridge's, and afterwards came down to the McLure House where a general disposition to be jolly was manifested, in view of the opening of the important improvement. The bridge stood the test well, and we believe it is the general opinion that Mr. McComas has made a most excellent job of it, and that it will long stand as a noble witness of his superior attainments as an engineer.
Service provided by the staff of the Ohio County Public Library in partnership with and partially funded by Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation.