Old Iron Bridge Connecting Wyomissing & West Lawn

This iron bridge was on 422/Penn Ave connecting Wyomissing and West Lawn. It was built in 1926 and replaced an older, smaller iron pony-truss bridge. Only two “overhead bowstring bridges” like it are known to have survived in the state of Pennsylvania.* One ended up being placed on the Horseshoe Trail at Scarlets Mill in Robeson Township. These smaller pony-truss bridges needed to be replaced in the early 1920s because railroad regulations changed to allow double-stacking of rail-car containers. Newer trains were unable to fit under the spans of the old pony-trusses that were built in the 1800s. Their wooden decking also made them a fire hazard.

Iron Bridge Penn Ave Wyomissing
Old Iron Bridge Connecting Wyomissing and West Lawn

There were railroad tracks on the side of the bridge from the era of the trolley. The trolley used to pick up workers on Penn Ave in West Lawn and take them into Reading, crossing the old iron bridge on the way to and from. This was a main method of transportation used by common folks for a majority of the first part of the 20th century when the automobile was still being made widely affordable for the working class.

Iron Bridge Penn Ave Wyomissing
Picture sent in by V. Jones

It was dismantled in the early-1970s to make room for the new bypass. Attractions you may remember near here included the Queen of the Valley Restaurant and the old Schell’s Ice Cream location.

Iron Bridge Penn Ave Wyomissing
Picture courtesy of  Steven Rapak’s “WWO – Back in the Day” album on facebook
422 being built in 1974
Bypass bridge replacement being built in 1974
Bypass bridge replacement being built in 1974

If anyone has photos of any of the buildings that were torn down to build the bypass I would love to see and share them. [email protected]

*Informational contributions to this article made by Gregory D. Pawelski & Karin Long

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

11 Replies to “Old Iron Bridge Connecting Wyomissing & West Lawn”

  1. I remember the old Queen of the Valley, and Schell’s.I hope someone has pics. I also
    remember when 422 was a two-lane blacktop road running past the newly-built Berkshire Mall.

  2. Our house on the Penn Avenue spur was very close to the Iron Bride, and as boys we used to play under it. There was a kind of a surreal moon landscape there with dunes and craters. Early “Truth or Dare”? We used to dare one another to run naked across the tracks and back.

  3. My parents moved to Wyomissing in June of 1967. We lived on Evans Ave. one block down from the bridge. As a kid we used to walk across the bridge to go to West Lawn. Remember when they closed it to take it down.

  4. Lived up on Grand blvd. Moved out in ’68. Anyone remember the old foot bridge across the tracks, further down towards Schells. Was on it when the old steam locomotive ran down the tracks (don’t remember the engine number) Mom used to send Tom Sturgis pretzels to the guys in Viet Nam. How about sledding on jack rabbit hill? Wonderful neighborhood..

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