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Collection Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey

West Virginia to Wyoming

Wheeling Suspension Bridge, Wheeling, West Virginia.

View through arch of east tower. Photograph by Jack E. Boucher, March 1977. (Reproduction Number: HAER WVA,35-WHEEL,35-44)

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge has been called "the father of American suspension bridges." Designed in 1849 by Charles Ellett as part of the National Road (later U.S. 40), the bridge spans a distance of 1,010 feet across the Ohio River so as to allow boats to pass underneath it. The bridge has been altered several times by noted engineers including Ellett's partner, William McComas, and William Hildenbrand. It remains the oldest vehicular suspension bridge in the world that is still in use.

Johnson Wax Corporation Building, Racine, Wisconsin.

Exterior close-up of tower from south. Photograph by Jack E. Boucher, August 1969. (Reproduction Number: HABS WIS,51-RACI,5-6)

The great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright made national headlines in 1936 with his designs for the Pennsylvania house known as Fallingwater and this building, the Johnson Wax Corporation Building in Racine, Wisconsin. Using reinforced concrete, brick, and innovative glass tubing, Wright created one of his most distinctive commercial designs for Johnson Wax. The eight-story research tower shown here was completed in 1947 to complement the original building. Each floor of the tower is cantilevered out from a central cylindrical core. The exterior walls are made of layers of curved glass tubing and brick.

School House, South Pass City, Wyoming.

Interior view of classroom showing west wall. Photograph by Jack E. Boucher, October 1974. (Reproduction Number: HABS, WYO,7-SOPAC,19-6)

The settlement of the West embodied in the image of a one-room frontier schoolhouse reminds us of how sparsely populated many areas of the country were in the 1800s. This 1910 building was actually the third school in South Pass City, the previous two having burned, and remained in use until 1946. The Wyoming Recreation Commission furnished this building as a typical frontier schoolhouse.