Theodore Burr

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Theodore Burr (August 16, 1771 - 1822 [or November, 1824]) was an inventor from Torrington, Connecticut, who was credited with the Burr Arch Truss bridge design and was cousin of vice president Aaron Burr. Theodore Burr came to Oxford, New York in 1792. By 1794, he had built a grist mill (once owned by Fletcher & Corbin), and a dam to power the mill. In 1800 he built the first stringer bridge across the Chenango River in Oxford. From 1809-1811, he built an impressive Federal style house on the site of an ancient Indian Fort (at 8 Fort Hill Park) for his family. (Wings were added to both sides of the house at a later and unknown date.) The building still stands and houses the Oxford Memorial Library.

Around 1804, Burr built the first "sizable bridge" crossing New York's Hudson River, at Waterford, New York. It lasted until 1909, when it was destroyed by fire. The "Burr arch truss", used two long arches, resting on the abutments on either end, that typically sandwiched a multiple kingpost structure. Theodore Burr built nearly every bridge that crossed the Susquehanna River from Binghamton, New York, to Maryland in those days. His successes made him the most distinguished architect of bridges in the country. Today's modern bridges with their graceful arches can be traced back to Theodore Burr and his contemporaries.

Between 1811 and 1818, Burr designed, then constructed or supervised, five crossings of the Susquehanna River. The first four were in Pennsylvania at Nescopeck Falls (Berwick), Columbia, Harrisburg, and Northumberland. The last was the 4,170-foot (1,270 m) Susquehanna River Bridge near Port Deposit, Maryland.

Burr was awarded US Patent No. 2769 on April 4, 1817 for his arch and truss bridge design.

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