Nicholson Bridge 100th anniversary featured in Dietrich Theater exhibit

June 22nd, 2015 10:40 am

Nicholson Bridge, or Tunkhannock Viaduct, is the theme of an exhibit of historic and recent photos and memorabilia on display at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock through August.

TUNKHANNOCK — A image often chosen to represent Wyoming County is that of Nicholson Bridge, officially the Tunkhannock Viaduct. This September, Nicholson will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the completion of the bridge in 1915. The Dietrich Theater, located at the epicenter of Wyoming County, is also celebrating the anniversary by hosting an exhibit of photos, both historic and recent, and memorabilia of the era.

The exhibit is open and free to everyone through August when movies are shown or by appointment.

The Nicholson Bridge is the world’s largest concrete arch bridge. The story of its construction is documented in the Dietrich Earnshaw Gallery exhibit with photos of the many construction workers and the various stages of the building of the bridge over a three year period. Construction on the bridge began in May 1912 by excavating all 11 bridge piers to bedrock, which was 138 feet below ground. In total, excavation for the viaduct removed 13,318,000 cubic yards of material, more than half of that rock.

There are many more fascinating facts about the Nicholson Bridge. To name just a few:

• Almost half of the bulk of the bridge is underground and it is built on bedrock.

• It is two tracks wide.

• It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

• It was built by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W), owned today by the Canadian Pacific Railway and is used daily for regular through freight service.

The Dietrich Theater exhibit includes photos and artifacts from the Nicholson Heritage Association and the collection of Marion Sweet, the Wyoming County Historical Society, Pam DeWitt and was installed by Mark Mitchell, Kent Ward, and Margie Young.

A presentation by Marion Sweet, President of the Nicholson Heritage Association, entitled “Tunkhannock Viaduct 100th Anniversary,” will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, followed by a reception. In her presentation, Sweet will tell of the challenges of the construction and maintenance of the bridge, how it changed the life of Nicholson residents and the famous people who have visited it.

Since 1990, the local community has celebrated the building of the bridge on the second Sunday of September, called Nicholson Bridge Day, including a street fair, parade and more. This year 100th anniversary celebrations in Nicholson are scheduled for Sept. 11, 12, and 13. For details, visit

For information about the exhibit or the presentation on Aug. 16, call the Dietrich Theater at 570-996-1500.