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Cherry Street Bridge (1884)


Public Domain: Published Prior to 1923


BH Photo #354363


Lost Pratt swing/Whipple through truss swing bridge over Maumee River on Cherry Street and Interurban tracks
Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1884; westernmost through truss span lost in a steamship collision 1908 and replaced by temporary timber trestle; entire bridge replaced 1914
- Smith Bridge Co. of Toledo, Ohio
- Interurban
- Toledo, Port Clinton, & Lakeside Railway (TPC&L)
Pratt through truss swing with Whipple through truss and Pratt pony truss approaches
East to west:
Three 10-panel Whipple through truss spans
One 17-panel Pratt through truss swing span
One 10-panel Whipple through truss span (wrecked 1908 by steamship)
Two 7-panel Pratt pony truss spans
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.65227, -83.52799   (decimal degrees)
41°39'08" N, 83°31'41" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/289493/4614257 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 67343 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 18, 2022: Updated by Paul Plassman: Added categories "10-panel truss", "Navigable waterway", "7-panel truss", "17-panel truss", "Lattice Railing", "Finials"
  • October 21, 2021: Updated by Paul Plassman: Added photos and design details
  • October 21, 2021: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • October 12, 2021: Updated by Paul Plassman: Added link to information about steamship collision
  • October 12, 2021: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • April 18, 2018: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein
  • March 31, 2018: New photos from Dana and Kay Klein
  • March 9, 2018: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • February 21, 2018: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein
  • January 13, 2017: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein
  • September 11, 2016: Updated by Luke: Added category "Smith Bridge Co."
  • April 30, 2015: Added by Luke

Related Bridges 



Cherry Street Bridge (1884)
Posted October 13, 2021, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It's definitely been lost in the annals of time that these beautiful spans once donned magnificent paint schemes. Too bad they didn't have color photography back then so we could truly see it!

Cherry Street Bridge (1884)
Posted October 12, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Interestingly, both colors on Gallman are correct but I agree with you, I like the white better. I like the fact that they at least tried to replicate the missing trim. BTW, Keowee was originally at least four colors.

Nels recently did a really nice job on a two color bowstring. There may be some stuff in the pipeline but no guarantees.


Art S.

Cherry Street Bridge (1884)
Posted October 12, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


While you're kidding, you're not really wrong. The builder's home town bridges, e.g. Penn Bridge Co.'s Fallston Bridge and Columbia Bridge Co.'s Keowee St. Bridge were multi-color, over the top wonders. The builder's photos are eye opening. The same applied to important town bridges. But before standardization, most bridges had elegant details and cast additions that added charm and beauty above pure utility. At this point, we're happy if a bridge still exists even though, often, many of the original details have been lost.

With the exception of the utilitarian cast Whipples, almost all of the cast iron bridges had striking initial paint jobs.

Early photos take a little interpretation because they are black and white but with bit of study, you get a sense of the coloration. Occasionally you can find a period painting that reveals the colors but another reference to give you a sense of things are 1860 - 1880 color pattern charts from steam engine makers.

Once we stem the tide of destruction, it would be nice to get some of these details replicated.


Art S.

Cherry Street Bridge (1884)
Posted October 12, 2021, by Paul Plassman

Or else Toledo saw what Napoleon, Ohio had built five years before them on Perry Street (another Smith span: https://bridgehunter.com/oh/henry/river/) and were jealous that a small town like that would get ahead of them in building a deluxe iron bridge when all they had was an old wooden swing span!


As amazing as it would be to see a bridge like this today (basically Wells Street x 4 in size!!) it would be even more impressive to see one actually decked out in multiple colors such as you describe! Paint schemes like the all-black Gallman Bridge in Newark, Ohio just don't quite do the trick--I liked the original white much better. But hey, at least it's being preserved!

Cherry Street Bridge (1884)
Posted October 12, 2021, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

They saw what Fort Wayne, IN was putting up on Wells Street this same very year and IMMEDIATELY called the nearest bridge company to demand their most ornate package with all the extras! That's a joke. Maybe! Its in Toledo, it probably was a source of pride for Toledo-based Smith Bridge Company. If you like old photos of fancy pin-connected trusses, Chicago used to have some real gems before the swing bridge extermination brought on by the War Department.

Cherry Street Bridge (1884)
Posted October 12, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Absolutely agree! My guess is three colors. Amazingly, as you find more builders photos, you'll discover this was the norm rather than the exception ack then. The B & O Bollmans were over the top as were most of the cast iron bridges.

Once we stem the tide of losing them, we can work to restore the lost trim an color! While there are a few in the country that have been restored properly, imagine encountering something like this while simply out for a drive!


Art S.

Cherry Street Bridge (1884)
Posted October 12, 2021, by Paul Plassman

Looking at this University of Toledo image of this bridge's incredible portals....all I can say is WOW! Definitely a contender for the position of "Ohio's Most Ornate!"