The Koppel Bridge was built and owned by the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler, and New Castle Railway (more commonly known as the Harmony Line). The original Koppel Bridge (known as Magnificent Seven) was constructed mostly of wood and the sparks from the trains passing underneath often set the bridge on fire. Chuck Hall recalled that this was a tricky fire to combat as the firemen had to hang under the bridge to extinguish the flames. The reason the bridge was known as the Magnificent Seven was due to the fact that the bridge had seven piers. Though it was made of wood, the Swanson Brothers of Youngstown built a solid bridge that stood fifty seven feet above the water from 1890-1913 and was the longest bridge on the ”Harmony Line” .
Mr. Hall had many other memories of the bridge including when he was young and didn’t have the money for the toll. He along with his friends, would walk down a short distance and walk across the very narrow train bridge which was extremely dangerous. The important thing was to not let your folks know you did that.
I have been told that a popular thing young people would do was to turn off your car lights and run the toll booth to avoid the five cent toll. May 15, 1957 marks a special day as the last tool was collected to cross the bridge. As Bob Mallary pointed out that the alternative was a long drive. He remembers commuting to Geneva and going across the old bridge daily between ’57 and ’59. It seems to Bob the bridge closed down for a time for repair and he had to go down River Road to 588 and into Beaver Falls and then back up the hill to Geneva.
As I have mentioned, many have shared their memories of the Koppel Bridge but we would still like to hear your memories. Please share your memories below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published December 16, 2008