The existing Market Street Bridge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is located where Market Street now crosses the Schuylkill River. The bridge succeeded ferry boats and a couple of rudimentary floating bridges across the Schuylkill River. (While the British were in possession of Philadelphia during the American Revolution, there was a pontoon bridge at this point and later a plank-floor bridge on floating logs.) The Market Street Bridge was also the final link in the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike.
When the directors of the Schuylkill Permanent Bridge Company of Philadelphia elected in 1801 to build a wooden structure across the Schuylkill instead of the stone arch bridge originally planned, they called on Timothy Palmer to complete the job. Palmer (1751–1821) was the best-known wooden bridge builder in the country, and the resulting bridge became his best-known work. Palmer and his workmen completed the structure on two previously-built piers at a cost of US$300,000.
Two Other Bridges:
As Palmer had predicted, the bridge stood with little attention until 1850, when a fire gutted it. It was rebuilt and widened for an additional railroad car track, as by then it was also used for railroad traffic. The Market Street Bridge lasted until 1875, when it was completely destroyed by another fire. It was quickly replaced by a wooden structure, which itself was replaced by an iron cantilever bridge completed in 1888.