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Fassett Street Bridge



Published prior to 1923


View this photo at books.google.com

BH Photo #364775


Bridge linked Fassett Street on the east near where the large Anderson grain terminal now stands to Walbridge Avenue on the west, near the present-day northern end of the I-75 DiSalle Bridge. Length is a very rough estimate.

Disaster Upon Disaster: The Troubled Timeline of the Fassett Street Bridge 

Written by Paul Plassman

Disaster upon disaster upon disaster—this accurately sums up the troubled life of the Fassett Street Bridge. Structural collapses, ship collisions, bad weather, ice, and fire—all plagued it during its 65-year life span.

Some of the highlights/lowlights from this bridge’s adventuresome story:

-- The bridge’s troubles began almost literally from day one. Upon its completion in 1896, the city of Toledo wound up being unable to pay the last $8,000 of its bill. Miffed at getting ripped off, the contractor removed a part from the bridge’s swing span so it couldn’t swing (1975 issue of the Toledo Blade).

-- Toledo residents were leery of the long, fragile-looking bridge right from the beginning. The city fire department had to stage the Fassett Speed Test, in which a horse-drawn fire wagon raced over the bridge as fast as possible, to reassure the nervous public that the span was safe.

-- Ice floes took out the swing span in 1906.

-- The bridge had to be repaired again in 1928 and 1933.

-- A strong windstorm knocked down three deck truss spans on September 30, 1935. The bridge stayed closed for three years until three more heavily built spans were installed in 1938, with funds partially provided by the Works Progress Administration.

-- The weight limit was demoted to 5 tons in 1940.

-- In 1945, engineers recommended that the bridge be closed for good—Toledo ignored this advice.

-- A Great Lakes freighter hit the bridge in 1946, forcing it to shut down for two months.

-- More repairs were undertaken in 1951.

-- The Canadian freighter "Forestdale" hit the bridge on April 17, 1954, knocking the swing span out of alignment.

-- The freighter Champlain destroyed three spans of the bridge in a collision during a blinding thunderstorm on April 5, 1957, leading to its permanent closure.

-- During its demolition in 1961, a span tilted and dumped a construction truck into the Maumee River.

-- And finally, the west end of the bridge was ravaged by fire in August 1961.


Lost Pratt through truss bridge over Maumee River on Fassett Street
Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio
Partially destroyed by collision and razed
Built 1896; Damaged 1906, 1935, 1946, and 1954; partially destroyed 1957 after high winds unmoored a freighter, which slammed into the bridge; rest of bridge razed 1961
East to west:
Short steel trestle approach
One pin-connected Pratt deck truss over railroad tracks
One 9-panel pin-connected Pratt through truss span
One 11-panel pin-connected Pratt through truss swing span (rebuilt in 1906 after damage from ice floes)
One 8-panel pin-connected Pratt through truss swing span
Nine pin-connected Pratt deck truss spans (three of these collapsed in 1935 and were replaced with three 6-panel riveted Warren deck trusses with arched lower chords)
Long steel trestle section over swampy lowlands
One 12-panel pin-connected Pennsylvania through truss span over New York Central RR
Long steel trestle approach leading to the Walbridge Avenue terminus of the bridge
Total length: 3,575.0 ft. (0.7 mi.)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.62927, -83.53144   (decimal degrees)
41°37'45" N, 83°31'53" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/289131/4611711 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 67344 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 18, 2021: Updated by Paul Plassman: Added essay, design details, additional history, and links to LOTS of historical photos
  • October 12, 2021: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • September 1, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • September 19, 2016: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • September 17, 2016: New photo from Dave King
  • April 30, 2015: Added by Luke



Fassett Street Bridge
Posted October 18, 2021, by Paul Plassman

What I wouldn't give to go back in time and see this one! Not only was it long and ornate, but it looked like the builders took about every truss type and size they could think of and combined them all together into this magnificent hodgepodge of a bridge! There is an enormous amount of history behind it too, with the essay I added providing only a brief overview of it all.