Rating:
10 votes

Wells Street Bridge

Photos 

The east face

As seen from the Harrison Street Bridge

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in October 2007

BH Photo #109717

Street View 

Facts 

Overview
Whipple through truss bridge over St. Marys River on Wells Street in Fort Wayne
Location
Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana
Status
Open to pedestrians only
History
Built 1884 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Co.
Builders
- Alvin John Stewart (Engineer)
- Carnegie Steel Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Iron/Steel Manufacturer)
- Hicks & Holmes (Substructure)
- W.H. Goshorn (Engineer)
- Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio
Railroad
- Interurban
Design
15-panel, pinned Whipple through truss
Dimensions
Total length: 180.0 ft.
Deck width: 23.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.7 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 15, 1988
Also called
Bloomingdale Bridge
County Bridge #541 (Old numbering system)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.08283, -85.14411   (decimal degrees)
41°04'58" N, 85°08'39" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/655890/4549611 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Fort Wayne West
Inventory numbers
NRHP 88001575 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 15798 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 19, 2022: New photos from Paul Plassman
  • March 26, 2017: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein
  • October 9, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • December 27, 2011: Updated by J.P.: Added category "Carnegie"
  • March 6, 2010: Updated by J.P.: updated builders
  • February 5, 2010: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Added "non-pink" pictures.
  • January 26, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning

Related Bridges 

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Dana and Kay Klein
  • Paul Plassman

Comments 

Wells Street Bridge
Posted June 8, 2022, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I have been asking for the finials to be replicated (that is if they don't still exist in a basement somewhere) for several years now. It certainly needs to happen to complete the look of this iconic span.

Wells Street Bridge
Posted June 8, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Paul,

You touched on exactly what makes this bridge unique. By my estimation, the "picture" we get of the past by looking at historic truss bridges today is flawed by two critical types of bridges that largely do not survive today.

1. "Urban" 19th century truss bridges. Most were replaced due to high traffic increases that occurred in cities as motor vehicles became popular. This is what the Wells Street Bridge illustrates.

2. "Lightweight" bridges. I don't believe all bridges were "built to last" (companies even engaged in "skinning the bridge" to make it as cheap as possible) but it follows that most bridges we see today were the bridges that WERE built to last. Rare surviving possible example of this type: https://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=k...

Wells Street Bridge
Posted June 8, 2022, by Paul Plassman

Restoring the finials would certainly add even more bling! Having visited this bridge, I can say that pictures can't do it justice...with the heavier members the trusses have a much grander feel than any of the other one-lane spans around Fort Wayne like Bostick Road and Hurshtown, and the incredible ornamentation certainly gives a gateway-like impression to the portals!

Wells Street Bridge
Posted June 8, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Apparently, this bridge's missing knee braces have been replicated and reinstalled onto the bridge. A very nice project for this nationally significant historic bridge, which is one of the few surviving urban pin-connected trusses with all the excesses of urban design (width, decorative elements, etc). I wonder if the city has any plans to "complete the look" with replica finials which are now the only major thing missing to my knowledge.

https://www.fwbusiness.com/fwbusiness/article_d998ee1e-af0f-...

Wells Street Bridge
Posted February 5, 2018, by saraanitra (Thebuzzworkllc [at] gmail [dot] com)

Currently closed to all traffic tho Iím not sure if closing is permanent.

Wells Street Bridge
Posted October 2, 2017, by Dennis DeBruler (bruler [at] xnet [dot] com)

An article about some history of the bridge: http://historycenterfw.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-oldest-iron-...

Wells Street Bridge
Posted November 19, 2009, by Josh Brown (josh_brown10 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

There could be some truth to that story. I've heard a similar one except it involved a student in a marching band. Who knows! Stories are born and twisted every day. I wish I still lived in Fort Wayne so I could search the newspaper archives for such a story.

Wells Street Bridge
Posted November 18, 2009, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This is indeed the same bridge! The first time i saw it had those barriers and fencing as well. My understanding is that at one time when it was open to pedestrians before it was restored, a jogger fell through the floor of it. It is definitely one of the most ornate spans in existence, and it is nice to see it taken care of. I would like to see them replace or replicate the finials that used to adorn it, but that is just me being picky!

Wells Street Bridge
Posted November 18, 2009, by J Brown (josh_brown10 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Is this the bridge that was falling apart and had concrete barriers at each end? I remember playing on this bridge as a child. I am very happy with what they've done with it. I remember walking across it with my grandmother and I don't know if I remember correctly, but I think I remember seeing a parade on this bridge when I was very small. Could have been anywhere I guess but I'd like to think it was there.

Wells Street Bridge
Posted July 3, 2009, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It is indeed a gem Harold!....I would love to see them replicate and replace the finials that originally adorned it.

Wells Street Bridge
Posted July 2, 2009, by Harold Scudder (hlscudder [at] cablespeed [dot] com)

I remember this bridge from several years ago when I first visited my sister and her husband, who lived at the end of the bridge on Cass St. A beautiful bridge then, and still a beautiful bridge. I'm glad Fort Wayne had the foresight to save it.

Wells Street Bridge
Posted January 24, 2008, by Anthony Dillon (dillon [dot] fam [at] att [dot] net)

This may well be the most ornate bridge remaining in the United States. It would be nice if the city had the finials that originally topped this bridge replicated.

Wells Street Bridge
Posted July 6, 2007, by Charlotte A. Weybright (cwey0408 [at] earthlink [dot] net)

Wells Street Bridge - access from Superior Street on the south and Wells Street on the north.