6 votes

Range Line Road Bridge


The West Face

The Range Line Bridge was designed by Charles S. Whitney and his design was influenced by several medieval bridges.

The Milwaukee River does not always look this bad. Heavy rains churned up lots of silt just prior to these photos being taken.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2007

BH Photo #111097

Charles S. Whitney Bridge Designs 

Written by J.R. Manning

Charles S. Whitney was a well known bridge designer in the early to mid 20th Century. Originally from Pennsylvania, he was educated as a civil engineer at Cornell, then came to Milwaukee in 1919 to be the engineer for an architect named A. C. Eschwheiler. (See the Wisconsin Gas Company Building on the companion Landmark Hunter website.) Whitney later went to New York to join with Othmar Ammann, the bridge engineer to the New York Port Authority, to form the engineering firm of Ammann and Whitney. The firm went on to earn an international reputation for monumental projects, a reputation that it still enjoys today.

In 1929, Whitney published his treatise Bridges: A Study In Their Art, Science and Evolution. The book reveals his extensive knowledge of bridge history, which influenced his rather eclectic designs for bridges.

Other Whitney bridges in Wisconsin, included on this site, are the Highland Avenue Bridge in Cedarburg, Ozaukee County, the Lakeside Park Bridge in Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac County and two in the City of Racine, Racine County, the West 6th Street Bridge and the Mound Cemetery Bridge. The status of other Whitney bridges in Wisconsin is unknown. In his book, he listed the Reinforced Concrete Bridge in Gays Mills, Crawford County, the Otter Creek Bridge in Eau Claire, Eau Claire County and the Girder Bridge in Neenah, Outagamie County. (I believe the Girder Bridge in Neenah was replaced in the 1990s.)

The Range Line Road bridge is built of concrete, and like many depression era bridges in the area, it is clad with "Lannon Stone", a building material that is commonly used in the Milwaukee area. It was used extensively in Milwaukee County Parks during depression era construction projects for structures of all kinds, many of them were WPA projects.

From tiny control buildings to arch bridges to structures of many kinds, Lannon Stone is ubiquitous, even moreso than Cream City Brick, also a common building material in the area. Many county golf course buildings are constructed of the attractive, white stone, including clubhouses. For example, the impressive club house that overlooks the golf course in Brown Deer Park, is constructed of Lannon Stone. Brown Deer Park is the location of a PGA golf tournament, formerly known as the Greater Milwaukee Open.

The stone is actually dolomite but takes its name from the area, northwest of Milwaukee, from which it is quarried.

This bridge uses "Lannon Stone" for facing and parapet walls.


Charles S. Whitney Renaissance Revival Design arch bridge over Milwaukee River on Range Line Road in River Hills
River Hills, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Open to traffic
Built 1935
- Charles S. Whitney of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Closed-spandrel arch
Length of largest span: 50.9 ft.
Total length: 303.2 ft.
Deck width: 40.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 7, 2015
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.17055, -87.94480   (decimal degrees)
43°10'14" N, 87°56'41" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/423204/4780187 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 15000405 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 34878 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 69.6 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 23, 2009: New photo from J.R. Manning
  • August 22, 2009: New photo from J.R. Manning
  • August 21, 2009: New photo from J.R. Manning
  • September 20, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated design and designer
  • April 6, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added bridge to new category, Lannon Stone
  • March 16, 2008: Essay added by J.R. Manning
  • February 4, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net


Range Line Road Bridge
Posted March 30, 2012, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] ymail [dot] com)

I'm unsure if this article is discussing rehab or replacement of this unique and beautiful Closed-spandrel concrete arch.


Range Line Road Bridge
Posted August 22, 2009, by J.R. Manning (thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

While researching this bridge and learning more and more about Charles S. Whitney, I found out that Whitney was greatly influenced by the design of medieval bridges. One that he listed in his book about bridge design was the Greystone (or "Greyston") bridge that crosses the River Tamar, that divides Cornwall from Devon. It was built in 1439 and is still in service.

I found this photo of the bridge on flickr, posted by Alan Rosevear. Mr. Rosevear is a prolific photographer of historic structures across the pond, and he was kind enough to allow us to post his photo here.

So here is the Greystone Bridge and the subject bridge on Range Line Road in River Hills. There is no doubt of the influence the medieval bridge had on Mr. Whitney.