Some (In)Frequently Asked Questions:
1. You’re ‘live-tweeting’ a series of events that happened over 100 years ago? Really? Why?
Why not? The idea to do this was actually inspired by Amy Shira Teitel’s Vintage Space twitter feed, in which she has live-tweeted the Apollo missions. Most recently she live-tweeted Apollo 15’s mission to the moon (with only a 45 year delay) and this inspired me to share my own project in this unique way. Given the nature of my own project, my live-tweeting will take place in shorter bursts spread out over the next several months.
2. Okay, but it’s not exactly a municipal treasure, it’s falling apart. Why bother?
The St. George Bridge which was built over the 1907-1908 winter and finished that spring. It is one of the eldest of a series of public and private structures built between about 1906 and the start of the First World War, that have become historic landmarks. Buildings like the sandstone City Hall, Memorial Park Library, or the Lougheed Block, the National Hotel and many, many more date from this period.
There’s actually a great story behind this particular structure and it is a shame that’s its condition has deteriorated so much. Remember this bridge has given 110 years of service, and for most of that time providing crossings for a far greater number of vehicles (and much heavier vehicles) than it was ever intended for. It’s a shame that this particular bridge cannot be preserved as a pedestrian and bike pathway like its sibling, the Hextall Bridge in Bowness.
3. Where are you getting this information from?
All the live-tweeting is based upon my own research, mostly derived from contemporary media reports, original documents from the Corporate Archives of the City of Calgary, and the Archives of the Glenbow Museum. Some of my research I’ve already used as the basis for articles for my publication (hosted on Medium): Strictly A River Crossing
4. Why start with the civic election in 1906? Isn’t that almost a full year before the actual start of construction?
Actual construction of the structure did indeed begin in November of 1907, however, the lead up from the 1906 Civic Election was instrumental in getting this project underway. After years of false starts and failures, the City finally managed to get the project underway starting in 1907.
5. What do you mean years of false starts? For one bridge?
A bridge connecting these three Bow River Islands to first the Town and later, City of Calgary, so that the Islands could be used as by the residents as a park had been promised as far back as 1883. I’m currently finishing an article for Strictly A River Crossing on the early promises and attempts to bridge the Bow and connect the Islands.
6. Why are some of the tweets coming from a different twitter account?
When I initially started this project I didn’t think it was necessary to set up a specific twitter account for the live-tweets. Hence, the first 81 tweets were sent using my personal twitter account @jackshope. However, after the first couple of months, I have found that there are a couple of backend things that can make this much simpler for myself if I have a separate, specific twitter account for this project. That account is @Zoobridge_YYC. Starting from tweet 82, all future live-tweets will originate from that account, although I will be sure to re-tweet them with my own account.