Strauss Bridge Plans available for research
Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge over San Joaquin River at Mossdale, California. Image courtesy of Special Collections, Stanford Libraries.
The Joseph Strauss Bridge Plans collection has been reprocessed and rehoused and are now available for research in the Reading Room. Originally donated by the School of Engineering in 1966, the drawings in the collection had been stored rolled in tubes or in paper-wrapped bundles. In 2019, Gurudarshan Khalsa began working to unroll the drawings and flatten them for rehousing in large folders. In early 2020 David Krah finished unrolling and rehousing the drawings, and revised the existing finding aid. The drawings spent some time flattening out under weights during the break in the action and are now returning to permanent storage. Researchers can now page individual sets of drawings for use in the Special Collections Reading Room.
Using weights to flatten unrolled bridge plans. Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge proposed Deering bridge over North Branch Chicago River. Image courtesy of Special Collections, Stanford Libraries
Known to many as the Chief Engineer of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Joseph Strauss’ most widespread impact has been through the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company. Headquartered in Chicago, Strauss’ company built a wide variety of movable bridges incorporating one of his patents for a bascule type bridge employing a concrete counterweight. Locally, a well-known example of this design exists at 3rd Street and Channel Street in San Francisco (the Lefty O’Doul Bridge).
The Strauss Bascule Bridge Company designed moveable bridges across waterways all over the United States and Canada with concentrations in Chicago, Eastern New Jersey and California. The collection includes designs from Cuba, Mexico, Norway and a competitive submission for the Palace Bridge in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Each drawing set contains 15-30 (or more) drawings including elevations and site plans as well as technical details of linkages, bearings, material specifications and mechanical operations.
Channel Street Waterway at Third Street, San Francisco California. File 1038: S.T.B.B. 1931-1932, Roll 86, Item 2. Image courtesy of Special Collections, Stanford Libraries
Review the finding aid on the Online Archive of California: Joseph Strauss Bridge Plans, 1905-1935
Page items from the catalog record: Joseph Strauss Bridge Plans, 1905-1935
Several drawing sets have been digitized and are available to view by clicking the above catalog record link.