The west portal
According to the Shorewood Historical Society, the tunnel was used by an ice company that harvested ice from the river.
Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2007
BH Photo #110980
The structure is a rock-faced, coursed-ashler, sandstone bridge with 2 semicircular arches, perpendicular wing walls, and ornamental, triangular cutwaters on both faces of the central pier. Springing about 5 ft. above grade, the arches rise 7 ft. 6 inches over spans of 15 ft. Differences in stonework on the east and west elevations suggest that the bridge has been widened. The east elevation displays ring stones with a smooth, chamfered margin on the bottom edge; the keystone is elongated. In contrast, the west elevation makes no distinction between the keystone and the other ring stones, which are chamfered with a smooth margin on the intrados. The bridge's length, excluding wing walls, is about 24 ft.; its width about 97 ft. Although the bridge's width is sufficient to have accommodate multiple tracks, it now carries a single track, bordered on the east by a pedestrian walkway. [Note: The track is now gone, the right-of-way has been converted to a bike trail.]
Constructed by the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Westerrn Railway Company, the bridge embodies a standard stone-arch plan favored by many American railroads during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. There are seven similar, stone-arch highway crossings in Wisconsin built by the Chicago & North Western [sic] Railway. The Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western bridge differes from these primarily in its use of ornamental cutwaters and perpendicular (instead of flared) wing walls. These features make the design a significant, and architecturally interesting, variant of the standard, stone-arch, railroad bridge.
[Note: This document was prepared by Jeffrey A. Hess and Robert M. Frame III for the Wisconsin DOT. It is part of a project that was launched by the Wisconsin DOT in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration. It was published by the Wisconsin DOT in 1986, in a report entitled Historic Highway Bridges in Wisconsin, Volume 1, on pages 103-108.]