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Commerce Street Bridge (1890)


Public Domain: Published Prior to 1923; Provided by the SMU Central University Libraries


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BH Photo #348400


Apparently finding this bridge [Commerce Street Bridge (1872)] to be inadequate, the commissioners' court awarded a contract for $9,875 to the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Works of Levenworth, Kansas, in September 1889, to erect a new bridge at the foot of Commerce Street, and also approved an additional $600 for "taking down and placing on high ground" the old bridge. Despite the terms of this first contract with Missouri Valley, the county contracted with N. O. McAdams in August 1890 to remove the old Commerce Street bridge.

On May 15,1891, McAdams was appointed by the Commissioners' Court to superintend the building of an approach to the Commerce Street Bridge.12 It is probable that this appointment was for the western approach, which is revealed by photographs to be a long, sloping trestle that descends from the height of the river spans to a level even with the streets of Oak Cliff. As first constructed, the new Commerce Street Bridge was composed of two steel Pratt through trusses and a long wood approach trestle. It replaced the iron bridge as the main public road bridge to Oak Cliff, the suburb located on the opposite side of the river from Dallas which was annexed in 1903.

A long wood bridge was also constructed near Cadiz Street, and the Zang Boulevard Turnpike, an earthen fill bridge with a single steel span across the river channel, was built just north of the present Houston Street Viaduct. The Cadiz Street Bridge, the Zang Boulevard Turnpike, and the western approaches of the Commerce Street Bridge were all washed away or inundated by the flood of 1908, leaving the residents of Oak Cliffonce again temporarily dependent on ferry service. It is uncertain how long the steel spans of the Commerce Street Bridge were in use, but at some point a concrete bridge was built to replace the metal trusses. In May 1916, the Commissioners' Court began selling scrap lumber from "the old Commerce Street Bridge," and in July authorized the county engineer to sell old creosoted blocks as well.

In October the Court advertised for new bridge posts at Commerce Street, but no other mention was made of specific contracts for new construction. In his 1937 application for registration to practice professional engineering in Texas, George G. Wickline, who had been a bridge engineer for the City of Dallas until September 1916, states that in that month he began working as a bridge engineer for the County of Dallas. He also claims credit for the design, and supervision of construction, for a "Commerce Street Viaduct."16 It is likely that the replacement of the old steel spans by a new concrete bridge took place sometime in 1916, and that George Wickline was the designer of the new bridge and any new approaches built at that time.

COMMERCE STREET VIADUCT HAER No. TX-35 Texas Historic Bridges Recording Project Spanning Trinity River at Commerce Street


Lost Pratt through truss bridge over Trinity River on Commerce Street
Dallas, Dallas County, Texas
Replaced by a new bridge in 1917
Built 1890; Replaced 1917
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas
Pratt through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+32.77582, -96.82017   (decimal degrees)
32°46'33" N, 96°49'13" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/704164/3628537 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 70765 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 30, 2022: New photo from Jesse Sharkoman Berube
  • June 29, 2022: Updated by Bambi Sharkoman: Added History
  • April 20, 2022: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added builder per HAER documentation of concrete bridge.
  • March 25, 2017: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein

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