A real blast from the past. I recall this bridge well and crossed it hundreds of times. My father, born in 1892 (yes, that is correct) used to jump off the bridge with friends as a youth. He told the story of a stranger coming to the bridge one day on a bicycle, climbing to the very top of the bridge and diving off... then floating to the surface. My father and others jumped in and pulled him out of the water. Once revived, the guy thanked them, got on his bicycle and road away never to be seen again! My father called the bridge Stotch or Scotch bridge or something like that. No idea why but I am sure there was a reason as he was a child when the bridge was built and probably watched some of the construction as he lived only a little over a mile from the bridge (as the crow flies).
My point about the review of my photos is that if the plaque were not either original or an exact (ie made using a rubber mold of an original) copy it typically would have a smooth, modern, look to it.
I believe you refer to Alan King Sloan's King Bridge Company website? His impressive efforts are an ongoing research project and while he has an impressive wealth of information I would not assume it to be 100% complete to be sure. If you poke around on his website you will find a catalog of standard designs. It includes standard plaques. Your plaque was Standard Name Plate #4.
Obviously, the 1886 plaque on 2nd Street isn't one of the Standard Name Plates. However, it is not uprising that one of the company's longest span trusses located in the heart of a city would be given some "non-standard" treatment.
Also, I would add that King Bridge was one of the largest bridge companies in the country. It is unfathomable that a successful company of this size would have only built one bridge in 1886. No doubt there are many bridges they built that we don't have records of today.
The lower central plaque on the bridge has the maker's name and is standard for late King Whipple trusses. In fact, you will note it even has a date cartouche at it's top. However, it is blank - apparently the commissioners wanted a bit more 'bling' hence the large date plaques at the top.
Your plaque is for a smaller, probably Pratt, truss; look up the 1885 Mine Road bridge in Mercer County, NJ for comparison.
By the way, by restoration, do you mean that you have the capability of restoring the missing section and mounting tabs on your plaque and have done so on similar examples of old cast iron? If so, I'd love to see examples of your work!
I have done some more research on the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Co. I still did not find another bridge they built in 1886. I did however come across a typo that dated the 2nd street bridge at 1883. On their website is a tab for Bridge Plates-The Builders Signature. There they have examples of period Bridge plates which are identical to the plate I have pictured. The new photos that I am seeing of the 2nd Street Bridge have a the same shape Bridge Plate on the top cross-beam but only contain the year 1886. There is no example of such a plate on the King Iron Bridge website. The website also mentions how many bridges contained 4 to 5 plaques depending on the requests. I did not understand the comment about the photos you have. I would mention that I restore old cast iron and the picture I posted is after restoration. It did contain much rust with significant build-up. It also had the original iron hangers on the back which appeared to be cut-off with a torch. I removed and retained the hangers and the period bolts.
David, I am not sure what looks inauthentic about the 2nd Street Bridge's plaques, but I have looked at my photos of the plaque up close and it shows pitting and other details typical of original cast iron, or an exact re-cast replica. It can be seen in historical postcards as well. This bridge does have an unusually elaborate collection of plaques, including date plaque on top, builder plaque in the center of portal bracing, and end post plaques as well... this is much more than a typical King may have had. The 1886 plaque you have would be more common, I think the 2nd Street Bridge's arrangement is more elaborate because it was a large span located in the heart of a city. Smaller-span bridges and those in more rural locations for example would have had the "all-in-one" plaque of the style you have... so its hard to say what specific bridge it might have came from.
I was wondering if they replaced the date plaque 1886. I came across the cast iron plaque and this is the only bridge I can find from King in 1886. I will attach a photo of the piece I found and I must say it appears more authentic than the 1886 bridge topper in the Allegany Bridge photos.
I appreciate any help with trying to identify my piece.
I have no idea what Howlet, MI is, and Howell, MI has nothing to do with either this bridge or the Huron River, but I think the bridge you are looking for is this one (see my historical photo within my narrative). http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=co...
I need help with this one I just deleted the page this bridge says Jefferson Avenue, when I mapped it Ann Harbor between Monroe and Wayne County this Photo picture says Howlet MI when I tried to find the county of Howlet instead it says Howell Michigan.
This bridge was taken down between 1996 and 1999, closer to the first date.
Thanks to you Nathan and Dana and Kay for responding.I failed to mention that while out on the water you do have to watch out for other boat traffic.As long as you are not on their property and remain in the water you can actually take pictures of this bridge and the other lift bridge which looks to be closed from what i have seen on satellite and also looking at it on street view.I do know from boating what rules do apply while out on the water.As for the security guards which i call rent-a-cops i worked in a refinery which had private security and know what they can and can't do.
Just to clarify for those not familiar, we are talking (around Zug Island) about coast guard regulated commercial waterways. These still allow access in the way smaller waterways might (such as for recreational use), but there also are these restricted zones that may override high water level etc. You would still be able to pass thru, but may not be able to utilize every square inch of the water (such as to get certain angles of photos). Certain number of feet may be required to be kept between your vessel and another vessel for a dock for example. I do not claim to be an expert on this stuff, but I have been on commercial waters with someone who as their job works on commercial barges. He told me those were things to watch out for.
Also including the NOAA Chart for this area.
Riparian rights balance the rights of citizens free access to waterways and property owners rights. Vary by state and watercourse. GENERALLY access to high water mark of NAVIGABLE waterways allowed. Michigan varies by whether lake or river. Some counties in Texas extended property to center of watercourses specifically to prevent ingress. In general courtesy is your best friend. If asked to leave , leave. Air space another thing now that camera drones are available. FAA controls 500 feet and up, 83 to 500 feet a grey area. Up to 83 feet or fair use height is property owners.
I would assume that a clear pathway for the public must be maintained on the waterway. The restrictions would (again in theory) control how close you come to the shoreline or to docked boats. While it may be true that they can't force you to delete your photos, because in that scenario you are on the privately owned island, they could call the police and have you arrested for criminal trespass. US Steel is pretty hardcore with their security. I have, near other US Steel properties, been unlawfully told I cannot take photos from a public sidewalk. Unlike taking photos from private property, they have no right whatsoever to restrict photography from a public sidewalk.
Nathan,i read your post on taking pictures from boats dated 8-31-2013.As far as i know no waterway is owned by private companies which means as long as you are not a threat to the environment you can take pictures of whatever you want.Being that this is a lift bridge also lends credence to the fact that this is a shipping lane for boat traffic.As for the rent-a-cops they cannot force you to delete any pictures without a court order being that any cameras are your private property.This also makes me wonder why they have rent-a-cops.
This is my n-scale replica of the 141 bridge.
There also used to be a two-span riveted Warren pony truss leading to the nearby island northwest of the highway bridge. This bridge was removed and replaced. The trusses are in storage, but sadly are in bad condition and given other more significant bridges available for reuse, unlikely to be reused in the future. The bridge was removed before I began photographing bridges, so I don't have any photos of it standing.
An uncovered wooden truss
What was there before this one?
This bridge has been gone for many years, with a slab of concrete in its place.
Correction;crystal beach rd,torch river,south end of torch lake,map is clam river,not torch river,used to reside there! Bridge no longer exists, was replaced early 70's......chris
That is correct, see attached from bridge plans. The structure was designed by Hardesty and Hanover.
From the photos at http://www.detroitnews.com/picture-gallery/news/local/detroi..., this appears to be a Scherzer-type rolling lift bridge, an unusual design for 2015. Is this true?
The bridge is gone. The bridge over the overflow is still there. Some old pieces of the deck are still there. I also have 2 old wood boards that broke from this bridge.
Although a great portion of the bridge was destroyed, five 88 foot long Steel Pony Truss sections of the bridge adjacent to Belle Isle were saved from the fire. They were floated downriver 150 feet and were re-used as part of the temporary wooden bridge that was used to access Belle Isle until the new concrete bridge structure was completed in 1923. The temporary wooden bridge was dismantled along with the five 88 foot Steel Pony Truss sections. One of these sections was purchased by the Swan family of Grosse Ile Michigan and had Dunbar and Sullivan dredge out the swamp that separated Snake Island (later renamed Swan Island in honor of the Swan family) from southwest Grosse Ile. Besides, who would want to live on Snake Island?. Once the new canal was completed, Dunbar and Sullivan floated the surviving 88 foot Steel Pony Truss section of the original Belle Isle bridge down the Detroit River on a barge and erected it over the new canal. The wood deck roadbed remained in place until the bridge was updated in the 1950s and was replaced by a concrete deck. Three feet of the south side of the bridge had a concrete sidewalk added for foot traffic. The Swan Island bridge is still in use, over 115 years after it was originally built and erected over the Detroit River. Interesting note, the Native Americans name for what is now called Belle Isle was translated and meant "Swan Island". I have attached a superimposed picture (Thanks to Nathan Holth of HistoricBridges.org and the Detroit Library) of the 88 foot Pony Truss bride sections on Belle Isle with a current picture ( of the Swan Island Bridge. I lived on Swan Island from 1947 until 1965 and watched the bridge being updated in the 50s.
Almost disassembled. Always interesting. Nels plan was executed. One section left.
I recognize the double section of a planned design.
I see another swing span further left of a double swing
Nothing I like seeing more in the same photo than section-loss covered by nice shiny paint!
Load-bearing arch = Engineer that has no clue how to properly restore a truss bridge.
I laughed at Frank's comment that someone claimed this bridge would be good until the 22nd Century. I revisited this bridge for the first time since its been repainted. As part of this work, the deck appears to be rearranged to offer a better view of the lower chord of the original truss. Further, the bridge was closed to traffic due to other unrelated roadwork. This offered me good conditions for close inspection.
The results are both staggering and very sad indeed. What is the cost of adding a load-bearing arch? The answer is simple. All incentive to maintain the original truss. The consequences have been catastrophic. The bottom chord is so badly deteriorated the bottom chord has totally disintegrated in some areas. Crude repairs have attempted to hold together what is left of the bottom chord. Unparalleled section loss also found in the diagonal members and vertical members in the lower "splash zone" area. The pins have lost so much section that their once-cylindrical shape is totally deformed beyond recognition.
Without the load-bearing arch, this bridge would have either been repaired or been closed to traffic many years ago no doubt. Without the load-bearing arch, the truss in its current condition would very likely collapse.
The facts are clear. Rendering trusses decorative should only be allowed if there is reasonable assurance that the owner will continue to maintain the historic trusses as if they were in fact load-bearing.
Shoring goes in at Martin Road Bridge with the BACH Steel Rivet Gang in charge. The bridge will be disassembled, restored and moved to Delaware. It's nice to see an idea brought to life with engineering and put into action.
This bridge will grace Red Clay Creek at Yorklyn Heights Preserve in northern Delaware next year.
I remember seeing that photo too; it creeped me out just a bit! Just like guns, those darn bridges keep going around and killing everyone--not the actions of any people!! B>Q I've personally found many of Doug's drawings to be helpful in giving me a pretty good idea of what some of these bridges look like, especially those without any other photos or street views. They're pretty good, and an obvious amount of effort from an obvious historic bridge fan has been put into them. So, with that, Doug, draw away!
They don't bother me Doug... And in some cases where there are no photos posted, they at least offer a decent perspective of what the structure looks (looked) like!
Considering there are some bridges on this site that have as much as 200 pictures posted and it would be easy to say that many of those are repetitious... I don't see the problem with a couple sketches.
Hell... We even had a pic of a guy laying in a casket on here at one time! I don't remember which bridge it was, but a guy got drunk and ran into it and "it killed him". I felt bad because it was a sister that was upset her brother died and posted a photo of him because she blamed the bridge... But it was still a bit of a shock!
Eric and Arts Don't look at them then if they irritate you haters!!! its a free country understand try drawing a thousand bridges of your favorite type past twenty years other than that stop slighting my work!!!
Nope, they irritate many of us but the owner of the site seems to like them.
At least they are now referred to as the sketches they are as opposed to technical drawings as they were originally referred to.
Do these bridge sketches really serve a purpose?
I have actually found two Queenposts to date in Michigan including this one.
This may be the only surviving Queenpost surviving in the state of Michigan.
I was able to find a picture of it from the state website
Robert railroad companies tend to make unreasonable demands upon anyone seeking to acquire one of their bridges. For example, if a railroad is replacing a through truss. If nobody wants to reuse the bridge, the railroad might still pick the entire span intact with a crane and set it on the ground, so as to minimize the time where the railroad is closed to trains. Then the railroad would have to pay workers to cut up the bridge for scrap. FYI scrap steel value is at an all-time low so its not a profitable endeavor. Given these parameters, one might think that the railroad would be happy to transfer ownership of the truss after its set on the ground for another person to non-destructively disassemble. However, this is not what I have seen happen. First, the railroad will require the third party to remove the bridge from the tracks at the expense of the third party. This includes labor, crane rental, engineering for the pick, as well as flaggers on the railroad tracks, even though the railroad was going to do these things on their own. Second, the railroad will charge a fee for the bridge span as if its a new product being sold at profit. One span was being offered for over $30,000.
If you think there is a way to overcome this attitude on the part of railroads then go for it, it would be nice to see these railroad bridges being reused.
The question is, how can we better communicate with railroad companies. Saving a bridge requires time, energy, and money. If we someone is willing to purchase a doomed bridge, perhaps some companies might be willing to market them. There is a free market solution to everything...
It would be wrong to fault the engineers and builders of the replacement spans... As they are just doing the jobs they are paid to do.
That being said, We who visit, contribute to, and help keep this site going are preservationists. When an injustice like this is executed against any historic bridge, we will not (and should never)restrain from saying our peace against the irrational and illogical actions of the agencies who are short-sighted in their process.
...My two cents worth
I would like to add support for the thought that nobody on this page (or my own page for this bridge on HistoricBridges.org) intended to call into question the competency of the contractors working the job. And I have no doubts that the engineers who designed the new bridge did a great job doing that. Although certainly if we (as is typically the nature of discussion on a website like this) are considering the heritage and aesthetic values of the two bridges, obviously only the old bridge had heritage and aesthetics and the new one has none.
Here are my concerns with the project. Michigan State Historic Preservation Office failed to evaluate the bridge as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. This eliminated Section 106 from the process and prevented me from having input into the discussion. I disagree that the altered spans were not historic, indeed I submit that the alterations (having occurred so long ago) were themselves historic.
Second, I question the need for a new bridge at this location, when it appears that another railroad bridge that goes to exactly the same two east and west locations is located a bit north of here. This is not the Chicago-Toronto or Chicago-New York City corridor. Its not that busy. I find it odd that today so many railroad bridges are needed here. Had Section 106 taken place, a civilized discussion about this could have taken place.
I will say this 99% of the time, railroads do not care for preservation or history. The problem with railroad companies is that they are for-profit companies, not Non-Profit Foundations. Does preserving a historic bridge get the product delivered faster? Cheaper? More efficiently? If the answer to these is no, than the railroad has no reason to preserve the bridge. The only reason many railroad bridges seem to be preserved by railroads is simply because maintenance makes sense from a financial standpoint. Its usually cheaper and less disruptive to rail traffic to keep what they have in good shape. This is why I get so frustrated with highway DOTs because they waste money by letting bridges deteriorate and then spending a lot of money to replace them.
But when a railroad decides an old bridge isn't getting the job done, watch out...
I think my message was misinterpreted. For starters, I am not an engineer. From a functional perspective, I am quite sure that the new bridge is solid, and will serve traffic well for the coming years. Secondly, I did not mean to offend those who worked on the structure. I understand it was your job, and you can be proud of your work. I understand the need to replace aging structures, however I question if alternatives were ever considered (such as using the north line through Wells, preservation of the trusses, etc). My frustration stems from driving several hundred miles from Minnesota to see a historic through truss structure, which is visually quite appealing to nearly everyone and being met with a modern, and quite plain girder structure. This is a website with contributors who have an interest in documenting and preserving historic bridges, and replacement of a structure like this is not taken well by the group on here.
Lastly, I did not intend to disparage anyone, and I am sorry if you took it like I did. However, I am a historic bridge enthusiast and after driving several hundred miles to document the historic structure, there will be a bad taste in my mouth for seeing the modern girder. Like it or not, the new bridge has little to no character. I understand it was your project and you are proud of it, however it consists of spans pre constructed in a shop, and shipped to the location. The very unique truss bridge that once stood here is only a memory, replaced by a bridge that is significantly less appealing. So when I call the bridge ugly, I am stating my mind, and likely several other contributors to this site. The bridge was built strictly for functionalism and features no visually appealing characteristics.
Naturally, railroad companies are not primarily in the preservation business. Likewise preservationists are not primarily in the transportation business. We would do well to work with each other and learn from each other.
There are historic railroad bridges that continue to serve the companies that maintain them. Preservationists are always happy to see such bridges maintained.
Of course, sometimes replacement is necessary. We don't expect an 1884 wrought iron Pratt truss to carry an Interstate. It is understandable that railroad companies face similar issues related to weight limits, width, height clearance, etc.
If we are serious about preserving historic railroad bridges, we need to be willing to work with the companies. Likewise, if railroad companies were willing to sell, or offer doomed bridges to preservationists, these bridges could be moved for pedestrian or light vehicular use by a new owner. There are options out there if we are willing to find them.
Your employer built an ugly-as-hell replacement bridge whilst passing off the historic structure as "non-historic", and you expect people to be kind about it?
I am sorry to see that John feels the need to disparage the efforts of those that were involved in the replacement of the spans in this bridge. Please understand those that designed and built the new spans are dedicated individuals that take their profession seriously. To many, the demolition of a structure such as this is not taken lightly. The history of this crossing and our place in it is understood, but in the end the realities of the structure's age, design, and materials made replacement the best viable option.
John has taken some excellent photos of the bridge, and these photos are appreciated by those of us that have spent the last five years working on bringing this project to fruition. It is understandable that John may be frustrated by the ultimate outcome, but publicly ridiculing the structure and then essentially writing it off as no longer being a suitable bridge is inappropriate and unprofessional.
Royce, that is a pretty ambitious schedule... if you are ever back in Michigan with more time feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in meeting up. We sadly don't get many bridgehunters up here.
I spent a stretch of my early life in Michigan. My dad's side of the family lives through out the SE. We spent a short vacation near Flint and unfortunately did not have a lot of time for bridges. I shot a few and took my kid to ride the Big Mac (used to scare the crap out of me when we would go camping up in the UP). I lived a short way from Port Huron near Richmond. Anyway we were pressed for time trying to make it to Niagara so not many bridges. But have some from the rest of the trip I am posting.
Well, the demolition of this rare bridge was a surprise. If only it was a bridge with a lid...
Royce: Looks like you visited Port Huron and the only bridge you photographed was the new Blue Water Bridge? Granted the old/historic bridge is harder to photo than the new bridge from the American side, but I was still surprised. Didn't visit any of the Black River bridges either?
The new Blue Water Bridge (aka the Second Span) was designed in an unusual Tied Arch design as a compromise for area residents who wanted a twin to the beautiful historic bridge (which would have been cost prohibitive). If anyone had tried to build a cable-stayed bridge here (one of the options presented to the public) the locals would have run the engineers out of town.
I grew up in Port Huron and all this seemed logical and I didn't realize how rare this was until I started documenting historic bridges in states like Missouri and Pennsylvania which think the only solution for a large-span historic truss is to demolish and replace with ugly cable-stayed bridge.
The historic span is currently being repainted. Repainting. Maintenance. For anyone reading this who lives in Missouri, these are things you can do keep a historic truss bridge in service. I grow tired of DOT claims that a rehabbed truss will fall apart after 25 years. The historic Blue Water Bridge was rehabbed in 1999. It isn't falling apart. Its just being repainted. Maybe a few minor repairs. Keep paint on a bridge and it won't fall apart. Also, look closely at the new bridge. See that brown stuff? Its called RUST. Yes, contrary to many DOTs that claim that new bridges do not require maintenance yet will last 100 years, this is not true. The new bridge will need to be repainted just like the historic bridge.
Im tracking this bridge down. I have already contacted Zehnders and its confirmed that the bridge went there, but was never used. Waiting to hear back if its stored or scrapped. If its stored going to start trying to get it brought back to Eaton Rapids
A September 2013 Google street view shows the current bridge from a point downstream, along the "old channel" of the Rouge River, as seen from West Jefferson Avenue.
This former railroad bridge has been designated as a "hot metal escape route" from Zug Island (left).
Abandoned rails are still embedded in the former West Jefferson Avenue railroad grade crossing.
The original bridge at this site was completed by Detroit & Lima Northern Railway, a predecessor of Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad, in 1898.
This photograph provides a view downstream, along the "old channel" of the Rouge River, showing Zug Island (right), and an interlocking tower (left). The tower controlled the level crossing of the railroad by Detroit United Railway's West Jefferson Avenue electric interurban line.
A passenger station was built just north of West Jefferson, c. 1923 (Burton Historical Collection photo DPA0116, accessible online from www.DPL.org).
The shop riveting portion of the rehab/restoration job has been completed by Bach Steel.
This little and easily overlooked historic bridge is about to take its place in preservation history as Bach Steel commences shop riveting on March 31, 2016 as part of the comprehensive rehabilitation of this historic bridge. This project will be the first active highway bridge to receive new rivets in Michigan in decades (all riveting projects in recent Michigan history were for pedestrian bridges).
Genuine, historically correct rivets rather than modern bolts should be considered the ONLY acceptable way to rehabilitate a riveted bridge in keeping with the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. Michigan has taken the lead in historic bridge preservation by recognizing this fact, with a total of THREE active historic highway bridges in 2016 to be rehabilitated with riveting to be a part of the contract.
Other states DOTs and SHPOs need to take notice of Michigan and follow its lead, along with a growing number of states that have done projects with riveting. Riveting is safe, cost-effective, and the only way to rehabilitate riveted bridges in keeping with the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
Especially one that (although a ruin) was when built among the earliest and largest of its kind in the entire state of Michigan. Please refer to my well-researched page here: http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=mi...
A concrete tee beam isn't a UCEB.
Ahh, ordinary UCEB.....
Ah yes, I know something of the two pony trusses over Beaver Creek. They have long been delisted from the National Bridge Inventory indicating that the road and bridges have been formally abandoned by the county road commission. This was confirmed quite clearly by the angry, armed landowners who confronted us when we visited the bridges. Long story short, road and bridges are now private and will almost certainly never be public again.
If only we had that much clout Carson!
Could you guys please fix that bridge because me and my dad have Fields there and to go to the next one we have to take spencer road insted and it would just be so much eaiser taking our machines across the bridge Thank You please do it soon.
I'm actually starting a thing on Facebook to beautify it and turn it into a pedestrian bridge. :)
Taken from below the bridge, Fall 2015. Title should read "Redridge Dam". The rail bridge was built right next to the historic Redridge Steel Dam in Stanton Township, MI. Also, it was not built by Copper Range but by the Atlantic & Lake Superior, it connected to the CR on the south side of the bridge. See here for some details: http://www.coppercountryexplorer.com/2013/11/hidden-in-plain...
Great website. I have some additional information on the subject bridge and would like it added to your notes. I am a former resident of Saint Joseph county and would like some assistance in declaring that bridge a historical site. I have a newspaper article from Helen Wickman on this bridge from 1981 that lays out some amazing detail and her interest in declaring it a historical site. The bridge in question is called the "Old Gross Bridge" just west of Three Rivers. My father is one of the current owners and we would like to see this bridge preserved. It was built in 1904 by Charles R Jackson and brother at a cost of $1550.00. If your society can help me get started with some research and assistance in writing the papers it would really be a win for the community. There was a recent article on the bridge at http://www.sturgisjournal.com/article/20151027/NEWS/15102926...
My name is Charley Barth and my cell phone number is 571-238-1905. Thank you!!!
This bridge was left to fall into disrepair for over 20 years. Village Management stated the cause as "no funds are available to take any action".
This year the State of Michigan provided several million dollars in funds to replace the bridge on Main Street due to premature failure.
With no notice to residents or documentation, funds were found to remove the bridge from it's location and dispose of the structure.
Village management has refused comment.
This bridge was originally built in 1905 when the Lansing Manufacturers Railroad was constructed from a connection with the Pere Marquette and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern at Turner St to the Oldsmobile Main Plant along the Grand Trunk in Lansing. LMR was owned 50/50 by the Michigan Central and LS&MS.
This spur was built prior to 1968 to reach Standard Block and a lumber company. There were two tracks on the east side of this bridge. Bridge was declared unsafe around 2000.
Bridge gets second life
Posted: Saturday, October 31, 2015 7:30 am
Bridge gets second life By SALLY YORK, Argus-Press Staff Writer The Argus-Press |
SHIAWASSEE COUNTY — The Shiawassee County Road Commission is selling the long-closed Martin Road Bridge in Caledonia Township — for one dollar.
The deteriorated bridge will be restored and installed next summer in Auburn Heights Preserve, a tourist attraction in Delaware that recreates life at the dawn of the automotive age.
“There are no funds available to save this bridge, and it is in such disrepair that someday it will fall in the river,” said Brent Friess, managing director of the Road Commission, which owns the bridge.
“Now the bridge will live, and show its glory.”
The historic metal truss bridge, which has spanned the Shiawassee River since 1885, will be disassembled and transported to Michigan experts for restoration in a few weeks.
Restoring and moving the bridge to its new home will cost an estimated $600,000.
The bridge was closed to traffic in 1987 because the structure sagged and was deemed unsafe. The closure divided Martin Road, a short gravel roadway bounded by Lytle and Kerby roads, into two dead ends.
The sale of the bridge, unanimously approved by the Road Commission Tuesday, was prompted by a phone call from Julie Bowers, executive director of the North Skunk Green River Association in Grinnell, Iowa, an intermediary for Auburn Heights Preserve.
“You have a bridge we want to buy,” Bowers told a surprised Friess.
As Bowers discovered through research, the Martin Road Bridge was ideal for the Preserve’s needs. For one thing, it was the right size, 119 feet long and 15 feet wide.
It also has an interesting history, being the only surviving bridge in Michigan erected by the Mount Vernon Bridge Company of Ohio and one of the oldest metal truss highway bridges in the state.
In 1990, the bridge was listed on the Michigan State Register of Historic Sites.
Finally, “it’s a beautiful bridge with very unique features,” Bowers said, citing its wrought-iron vertical posts, the detail on its forged end loops and riveted portals.
The Road Commission was open to the idea of selling the bridge. Repairing the deteriorating bridge and large-stone abutments would cost $350,000 to $450,000. Removing the structure: Roughly $50,000.
“In the past, there have been attempts to raise funds to refurbish the bridge, but to no avail,” Friess said. “The Road Commission owns the bridge and would be responsible for it if the bridge became in such disrepair that it had to be removed for safety or environmental reasons.
“This would be a costly undertaking, and one the Road Commission does not want to take the chance of occurring.”
In 1991, money to replace the old bridge with a modern concrete structure became available through the state’s bridge fund.
However, residents fought to keep the old bridge, even if it remained closed, saying they didn’t want increased traffic and that a modern bridge would be unattractive.
Leading the charge to save the old bridge was Sheila Ralph, who grew up on Martin Road. She and the late Margaret Zdunic had nominated the bridge for the State Register of Historic Sites. Ralph launched a successful petition drive.
“I could not see them tearing down this beautiful old bridge,” said Ralph, owner of Sheila’s Hair Salon in Owosso.
Twenty-four years later, she shares the Road Commission’s concerns about the bridge’s fate if it isn’t sold.
“I would hate to see it fall in the river,” Ralph said. “If someone else can enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed it, then I’m thrilled to death they’re going to save this old bridge.”
Auburn Heights Preserve, located in Yorklyn, Delaware, is a private/public partnership of the Delaware Department of Environmental Control Unit and the nonprofit Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve.
The Preserve features a furnished mansion built in 1897 and the Marshall Steam Museum, which boasts the largest collection of operating steam cars in the world.
Currently, Preserve officials — through the Iowa-based association — are purchasing several historic bridges for the attraction, including ones in Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
The Martin Road Bridge will be a point of interest in the Preserve, Bowers said, traversed by pedestrians, bicycles and antique cars. Signage will tell its history.
“The bridge is going to be preserved with in-kind techniques to make it look like it came from the factory that day in 1885,” Bowers said.
“Many people will see it, enjoy it and hear its story.”
photo by The Argus Press
This bridge will join several others at Auburn Heights Preserve. A lift system has been designed and is now being engineered to disassemble yet this year. Permits and purchase are in place. This bridge was at risk for collapse due to crumbling stone abutment. The county recognized the importance of acting and there is no cost to them for their part. This bridge has some very unique detailing in the connections and sizing for verticals and eyebars.
If you don't believe enough in your words to put your name on them. Why should anyone else care.
Dude, it's a joke. Lighten up. And use your name.
Chris, you're just wasting your time trying to reason with the clowns who cause problems. They're not gurus by any means. A few appear to work for highway agencies, engineering firms or related fields, and the rest are photographers and guys who consider bridges a hobby.
Nothing wrong with that, except that a small clique of the wanna-be's start acting like their interests are the only ones worthy of being included, and then they antagonize other people's work that doesn't fit their own personal taste. Then they flood the Forum with nasty comments for days, such as someone would ASS-U-ME you're talking about people who've been dead for decades when clearly you're not.
The site master has chosen to not intervene for some reason, and that's his right to do so. So, as you correctly stated, a lot of users have had enough and left, taking all of their work with them. Mr. Gehman's bridges were excellent, along with those of other guys who left.
Compare the list of contributors, with the list of updates for the last few months. The number of regular active users has dropped by a couple hundred. This has gone on for a long time, but unfortunately it's allowed to continue every few months when the nonsense flares up again.
The Masters of the Bridge Universe...I assume you mean those such as Conde B. McCollough, John Roebling, A.Y. Bayne, Caleb & Thomas Pratt...they're silent because they're all dead.
This has been a good discussion. Before I edit another contributor's entry, I like to ask myself whether or not my edit is objective or subjective.
Objective corrections might include changing bridge type from Parker truss to Pennsylvania truss, or perhaps Phoenix columns to Keystone columns. In other words, objective edits would be based on facts, not on opinions, theories, or speculations.
Subjective edits include editing the popular name, or adding information based on speculation. This could include adding a category "U.S. 40" because I think that the bridge might have carried an old alignment of the highway. It could also included changing the name from "4th Street Bridge" to "Joe Schmoe Memorial Bridge". Finally subjective edits migh be based on opinion, such as adding the category, "Modern" to a truss bridge that was built in 1964. "Modern" might mean post 1970 to one person and post WWII to another.
I will often make objective edits, but I tend to leave the subjective edits to the original contributor or to locals. For example, I would defer to the Oregon folks on the issue of a proper name for a bridge in Portland.
Just my $0.02
The comments by Chris Cates are right on the money. After having my entries edited ad infinitum, I also gave up on the site and removed my photos--like Chris, photos of bridges that no longer exist, even though I don't know an eyebar from a Phoenix column. Oddly enough, I find the sister site, Landmark Hunters, much more laid back and less fanatical. Some of the ranting on the BH forum is entertaining, though.
This is exactly the reason I do not contribute to this site anymore. I enjoy going out and looking for old bridges and other infrastructure...that's it. While I'm sure the bridges I've posted are "beneath the concern" of the handful of bridge gurus on this site, I really didn't care at first, but this is getting old. All the guy did was ask for help on locating a bridge in the Detroit area.
Speaking of the Detroit area, my grandfather moved to Detroit after World War II and would frequently take trips out in the country to Macomb County. Back then, places like Rochester, Utica and Romeo were nothing; just little towns that the railroad occasionally passed through, and horse country (in fact, up until the late 90's there were still some old stables located in Rochester, near the big blue water tower and Grand Trunk off Avon Road, but those are gone now). My grandfather enjoyed bridges as well and would take photos of them when out in the country hunting. Bridges off Card Road while still in use, 27 Mile Road, Romeo Plank near the old dam, Waldenburg Road over the Clinton (which is 22 Mile Road), Runyon Road/Tienken (25 Mile Road), the original bridge at 23 Mile and Romeo Plank before the current 1950's one, etc. Most of the bridges are long gone and totally forgotten. Luckily, he wrote the date and road on the back of the photos. Most of the bridges aren't listed on this site and, judging by the photos, were ready to collapse at any moment. I could go on and on about undocumented bridges in Macomb County, but I won't, no need to. Like Bob Dylan said, "I'll keep it with mine.".
I posted some generic WPA bridges some time back, and a few railroad bridges as well, but all are in Texas. I was tempted to post the Macomb County bridge photos on this site, but, after reading how people are treated, I declined. We all cannot be "experts" on all things bridges and most of us just enjoy the search and taking photographs. What's sad is that the majority of the people on this site are just like me, they ENJOY bridges, they do not care or know about the engineering of bridge construction in 1903, they just want to see old bridges. While the passion for construction and design is great, it's the way it is presented that is the issue. While the need for editing is necessary to update a design or wrong coordinates, it gets out of hand when someone posts a bridge that, say, for 80 years carried the Katy, and they call it something like "Smith Bridge" because that's what the locals call it and have always called it. Then someone from Minnesota jumps in and states that it is a light commuter line for the past three years and deletes the old reference and name. The nit-picking of entries is getting very, very old; and I think the site is missing out on some great old information and photos because of it. Too many people are fed up.
I would also add that in the context of Michigan's rich and diverse collection of historic movable bridges including some first or only surviving of a couple types... this little modern non-historic bridge should be beneath the concern of any bridge enthusiast who visits Michigan.
Although this is a drawbridge, it is not a bascule...take a look at the aerial view, which gives a very good, close "birds eye" view; this is more of a retractable type than anything. The moveable center spans slide over the outer spans to create an opening. Bascules have leaves that rotate upward to open.
Well, its certainly not where you have it mapped, you for some reason have a demolished stringer bridge mapped http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=mi...
The bridge you have described is modern and has no heritage significance so I don't have any information on it, but if you actually read the article you linked to it clearly says its in Grosse Pointe Marina on Lake St. Clair. I would assume Grosse Pointe Marina is located in Grosse Pointe, which is in Wayne County, not St. Clair County. A simple google search should confirm all this.
On a recent backwoods trip through the U.P. we found this little gem. I felt like I was back in 1970 as a kid driving backroads with my dad. We stopped for a walk and stretch break. Then headed back up to the big lake.
I'm assuming they wanted extra clearance for doublestacks.
Aside from 'upgrading' the line, its a shame the trusses weren't disassembled for reuse. If the trusses couldn't be kept in their original location, they could have been donated for use on rail trails or utilized other purposes, including their original purpose on another active rail line.
As of yesterday, this is all that remains of what was once Michigan's rare and beautiful multi-span pin-connected Baltimore truss, in its very special(for Michigan) setting right next to another historic truss. Tom LaPrise took the below photo, and thanks to Tom's diligent and much-appreciated efforts, HistoricBridges.org is able to offer a large, comprehensive photo gallery showing the demolition and replacement of one of Michigan's most significant historic railroad bridges. Full coverage is available here: http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=tr...
You can start by not stealing other's work.
Images 16-19 are all property of @tDetroit forum user Busterwmu
Photo #14 is property of @tDetroit forum user Busterwmu
Changing the colour of an image doesn't negate copyright: http://www.boatnerd.com/news/newsthumbs/newsthumbs_807.htm
Photo 6 is a work of Ron Piskor's and therefore the copyright belongs to him and BoatNerd.com.
Even under CC BY, you are supposed to credit the original creator of the image.
The Independence Bridge replaced the Belinda Street Bridge: http://www.baycitymi.org/resources/links/item/311-bay-city-b...
Also, the entry is quite clearly made for the 1893 swing bridge, not the bascule you sketched.
Maybe this bascule bridge replaced it.
It has been announced that the bridge is going to have a replica rebuilt on the same site, as funds have finally been raised. It will be identical to the original but with modern construction. More info here: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/475-000-plans-to-re...
I have also attached current, up to date images of the area. The bridge foundation on both ends of the road looks stable, and the area is clean. The waterlevel however seems lower than normal.
You can see more images I snapped here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/132672738@N03/
Frank... thanks for sharing the photos, I had been curious to see what the decorative railings looked like but haven't found the time to make the drive down there. As a preservationist, decorating modern bridges isn't really my thing... but I have to admit this decorative camelback railing is much better than the hideous thing that Kent County did on Thornapple River Road years ago, or what MDOT did with the M-32 Spur bridge in Hillman.
Attached are photos of the replacement bridge with "camelback" railing.
At one time It was a 3rd street swing bridge in Bay City Michigan.
I am somewhat familiar with Michigan bridge history, and there definitely was a 6th Street Bridge in Saginaw. The likely builder was Smith Bridge Company of Toledo. Similar styled bridge. http://bridgehunter.com/ky/meade/bh43007/
How about this?
I can find no proof of this bridges existence, the satellite shows an empty lot and the NRHP has no listing for it. The NBI shows it, but that was the only proof i could find.
I think the bridge Robert shot may be over Beattie Creek, to the north of where the GPS pin is.
I grew up in the house at Bailey Creek formerly owned by M.A Bailey you have it wrong, there is no ill fated forgotten bridge there, the only bridge is across M-35, there is a place you can cross the creek but it is not man made, I lived there in the late 60s to late 70s and wandered the woods nearly every day of the year
These are photos of the original bridge taken by the father of a friend around 1975.
The original bridge was removed and replaced by a new bridge in 2013.