One of the most unique double deck bridges in the world The Foxburg Bridge in Armstrong County

Double Decker bridges in Pa are nothing new in Pittsburgh you have the Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne  have been around since the fifitys .
But one very unique double decker bridge was along the Allegheny River in Foxburg  Armstrong County.






 


I encountered it in the summer of 1974 while on a Boot & Paddle canoe trip from Boyscout camp in Tionesta to Pittsburgh.  a total of 150 miles of paddling I have done it twice as a teen.

It was  foggy morning when we came across this bridge when I noticed a cars headlights going one way when all of a sudden a train was coming over the top the opposite direction 

So what was going on  not much it seems as a way to save money engineers had combined  2 functions into one bridge . Autos ran inside the cage part of the bridge and trains ran on top. a most unusual arrangement as usually trains and or trolleys in the case of the Smithfield Street Bridge  ran side by side.

Unfortunately the bridge which was built in 1921 was torn down several years ago and what pictures are available are not very representative of this unique engineered marvel now gone .



Silver and Gold Mines Yes they existed in Pa. at one time I actually got to mine in one

I would bet most of you never knew there was an actual working Silver Mine in Pa. near lancaster Pa.
Called the Pequa Silver  Mine.






As a young man in 1970's I got the chance to check it out one time after a next door neighbor Lenny Miscovitz   told me about investing in it and gave me a small printed folder  on it. By the time I got there it was no longer a working mine more of a tourist attraction near Lancaster Pa.  it is now a park and off limits the shafts have been sealed after the shafts flooded and caved in. It was another of Lennys many bad investments which ultimately saw his losing all of his inherited money in one of those Nigerian money scams.

http://www.pequeatwp.org/park-info/

While this was one of the actual documented mines there where many other smaller strikes and pits where mineral washed down with the glaciers and occasional small pockets are still to be found 





One such pit was said to be in Fayette County some where around where Laurel caverns is located .

While I did not find fame and fortune exploring the Pequa mine that day I did find all kind of neat quartz minerals to bring home and even a very small piece of silver worth about 25 cents   Which I had a camera with me that day but I did not . The matrix rock which holds the silver is extremely hard and requires dynamite etc if you want to do any real mining
 Unfortunately most of my mineral collection was lost or stolen over the years by people who thought they had some valuable mineral sample boy where they ever wrong.
However it was neat to go down in that old mine a see it all. But the older gentleman with me was not happy with what he was finding and decided not to spend much time and left the shaft  after about 15 minutes of exploring and I followed him out shortly. Good thing I later heard there had been a collapse a few days after we where there.


Tommy Knockers the Little Fairys who played tricks on and Warned Miners in W,Pa. Coal Mines

They called them the Tommy Knockers no not the Steven King Movie by the same name
These where the mythical little people like leprechauns  who lived underground who both fooled and warned the many Miners of Welsh decent  of a tragdy about to happen underground with there knocking on the walls










The Tommy knockers where also responsible for mischief as well in the mines  hiding a miners tools when he would take a break then go back to work and they would be gone or moved.  many Tommy Knockers where believed to be the departed soul of miners killed in cave ins aas well who would warn there fellow miners a cave in was about to begin.


More likely a joke than real deal but many miners believed it.  as did Native American Tribes who describe a race of small people who caused mischief in the deep woods

How ever many years ago when I was a young man and I heard the Tommy knockers in an old silver mine  I was exploring for minerals when I collected them in Lancaster Pa area and got the hell out good thing there was a collapse couple weeks after my visit. Which is another stoy in itself and luckily no one got hurt .

I know when I was a kid many mine entrances where still left open in my area and the old miners would talk about not going in the mines due to the Tommy Knockers mischief  and fact when a shaft was filled in and blocked it trapped the little people underground and could not move onto the next mine workings. In carrick where I lived it was all undermined and at one time you could ride a train underground from carrick all the way to library . How ever when kids started getting to curious all the shafts in the area where finally sealed off after a couple nearly lost their lives.