Swinging Bridge to Reading’s Outer Station

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The Swinging Bridge - Reading Outer Station

It was deemed the “Swinging Bridge” Built in 1874 by the same firm that designed the Brooklyn Bridge, Reading’s rail bridge was heavily used by pedestrians to get over the train yard to Reading’s Outer Station. According to this Reading Eagle article,

The Outer Station, which stood off North Sixth Street, handled passenger and freight service on Reading Company lines.

and yes, the bridge did swing…

“You and your friends could actually make it swing if you had the right rhythm,” he explained. “It would swing enough to make mom nervous.”

The Outer Station closed in 1969 and fell victim to arson nearly 10 years later. Still, the swinging bridge survived until 1983 when Conrail, the successor to the Reading Company, tore it down.

It turns out that when word got around that Conrail was going to tear down the bridge, a group of local engineers approached the company about taking the span, said Joel Caves, an engineer with Spotts, Stevens & McCoy in Wyomissing.

Not all of the bridge could be salvaged, but the group moved both towers to the Berks County Heritage Center in Bern Township.

The metal stood there until the early 1990s, when members of the United Labor Council were looking for a project to honor union workers, Caves said.

The Worker’s Memorial was completed in 1991, and the one tower has stood at Heritage Park ever since.

The Swinging Bridge - Reading Outer Station

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Gregg Obst
6 years ago

I was wondering more specifically where “Heritage Park” is where this single tower remains ? I tried looking on Google maps but it shows nothing more than the Berks Heritage Center but I’ve been there a hundred times and have never seen a tower like that there. Thanks for any information.

Gregg Obst
6 years ago
Reply to  Alexa Freyman

Thanks Alexa. I’ll need to put that on my bucket list of spots to check out.

Berks Nostalgia