By Owen Vaughn
The 1,400 foot long Market Street Bridge is one of the longest and most elaborately decorated bridges in Pennsylvania. Constructed from 1926 to 1929, the bridge has served as one of the main ways across the Susquehanna River from Kingston to Wilkes-Barre.
It is a daily sight for most people who live in the area, and carries more significance than one would expect at first glance. The bridge serves as a subtle memorial, a bridge to the past commemorating American heroes who risked everything for the good of their country.
The first and more obvious group of heroes memorialized by the bridge is the veterans of the United States armed forces. The pillars at both ends of the bridge are topped by a pair of eagles, siting straight backed and proud, above a plaque that pays homage to the perseverance, patriotism and fortitude of United States soldiers. It is a daily reminder of the courageous men and women who protect our nation, and who have risked everything for the good of their country.
The other group of heroes, less obviously memorialized by the structure, is the coal miners of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The bridge was built as Wilkes-Barre exponentially grew from a tiny village into a metropolis, whose main revenue came from the coal miners of the area.
Northeast Pennsylvania produced more coal than any other region in the United States, and the Market Street Bridge is a testament to the growth and prosperity that resulted from their work. As the mines grew, so did the settlement of Wilkes-Barre, until it could no longer be contained by the river, and society spilled across its banks, calling for the construction of this bridge. Both of these groups of heroes will forever hold a place of respect in Wilkes-Barre, and the Market Street Bridge will stand as a testimony to their hard work and self-sacrifice.