2 votes

Elkhart Avenue Bridge


Pre 1923 photo

Elkhart County Historical Museum Collection

BH Photo #444763


This was an early example of a Columbia Bridge Works bridge. The portal design included beautiful cast iron bracing and unique "3-prong" finial design at the endpost/upper chord connections. The only other example I have seen was in the small town of Howard in Knox County, Ohio. It was built in 1874 by CBW and sadly was demolished in 2007.



Lost Pratt through truss bridge over St Joseph River on former Elkhart Avenue.
Elkhart, Elkhart County, Indiana
Replaced by a new bridge
Built in the early 1870's by the Columbia Bridge Works; replaced in 1918 with a Warren Deck Truss structure.
- Columbia Bridge Works of Dayton, Ohio (also known as)
- D.H. & C.C. Morrison of Dayton, Ohio [also known as Columbia Bridge Works]
3-span, pinned Pratt through truss (Wrought and cast iron)
Also called
Old Johnson Street Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.69317, -85.96611   (decimal degrees)
41°41'35" N, 85°57'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/586034/4616226 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 84686 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 31, 2020: Updated by Tony Dillon: Changed the name in sake of historic accuracy.
  • January 30, 2020: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • March 17, 2019: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added categories "One-lane traffic", "Pin-connected", "Wrought Iron", "Wooden deck", "Cast iron"

Related Bridges 


  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


Elkhart Avenue Bridge
Posted February 1, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Elkhart Avenue Bridge
Posted January 31, 2020, by Mike Daffron (daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com)

BTW, I have a Jeep Liberty SVU.

Elkhart Avenue Bridge
Posted January 31, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)


I had missed your earlier comment about saving the trim for the bridge in Avon. There was talk of a full restoration for that bridge complete with replicated portal details and finials back in 2006 with an engineering firm I worked for. Unfortunately here it is 14 years later and other than new decking and lattice rails a more complete job has been ignored.

It could be a stunningly beautiful landmark!

Old Johnson Street Bridge
Posted January 31, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

In true Bridgehunter SUV (Sorry Mike D. we'll beat it like a dead horse) fashion I decided to do a bit of detective work. In 1874 around the time this old beauty was erected that crossing was indeed Elkhart Avenue. It came in at an angle from the SW, then crossed the river perpendicular and angled back off to the NE. Johnson Street did exist to the North but ended at the bridge. Since that time Johnson Street has been extended to the South. And while that SW segment of Elkhart Avenue still exists, the road to the NE is now called Beardsley Avenue.

Old Johnson Street Bridge
Posted January 30, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


I found the Law & Order SUV Bridgehunter episode CBW photos!



Art S.

Old Johnson Street Bridge
Posted May 27, 2019, by Art Suckewer

Absolutely Tony!

Too bad they didn't keep the trim from Howard St. This one could use the bits: http://bridgehunter.com/in/hendricks/bh36735/


Art S.

Old Johnson Street Bridge
Posted March 17, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Here's one for ya Art S!

No doubt in my mind it's an early 1870's Columbia Bridge Works product as those funky "pronged" finials match this one...