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Lake Park Drive Bridge


The south approach

This is a beautiful bridge, built in 1893 (or 1896, depending on which history you read) but the sad thing is that no one gets to see the details on the faces. Note on the left side of this photo, a fine example of Milwaukee's signature "Harp Luminaiŕe."

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2007

BH Photo #110956


The Significance of Lake Park and the Lake Park Bridges 

Written by J.R. Manning

The west shore of Lake Michigan features a tall bluff, varying in height but as high as 70 meters, that overlooks the lake. In the mid 1800's, the civic leaders of Milwaukee recognized the importance of preserving public space in the form of parks and began to buy up land throughout the area. One of the spots was the area that is now known as Lake Park. The significance of this site is nothing new, burial mounds of Native Americans were found here.

In 1854, the U.S. Lighthouse service built the North Point Lighthouse on a two acre plat that divided the planned park area. The lighthouse was moved back 100 feet because of bluff erosion, a problem that continues to this day. The city and the federal government came to an agreement in 1893 that allowed the park to be developed as planned, and the lighthouse continued in operation until is was decommissioned in 1994. The lighthouse is now a part of the park and is being restored.

The Milwaukee Park Commission contracted with Frederick Law Olmsted, the noted landscape architect, to design Lake Park. (Ohlmstead is remembered for designing New York's Central Park, the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the grounds of the Vanderbilt's Biltmore Mansion.)

This bridge was built in 1893. The Lion Bridges, that span the ravines that frame the lighthouse, were completed in 1897. The footbridge was built in 1905 and the Grand Staircase in 1908.

You can learn more about this wonderful park and the structures of it at the website of the Lake Park Friends.


Stone arch bridge over a ravine on Lake Park Drive in Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Open to traffic
Built 1896
- Gerhard F. Stuewe Co.
Stone arch
Length of largest span: 35.4 ft.
Total length: 49.9 ft.
Deck width: 26.9 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.07410, -87.86969   (decimal degrees)
43°04'27" N, 87°52'11" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/429198/4769410 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Milwaukee OE E
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 93000339 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 34854 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 2018)
Overall condition: Good
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 100 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 8, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning
  • August 6, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • July 2, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning
  • June 27, 2008: Essay added by J.R. Manning
  • February 27, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added GPS Coordinates
  • February 3, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Lake Park Friends - Friends' description of this bridge.
  • HAER WI-20 - Lake Park Brick Arch Bridge, Lake Park Drive (North entrance to Lake Park), Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, WI


Lake Park Drive Bridge
Posted February 3, 2008, by J.R. Manning (thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

For more about this bridge and the other interesting bridges and structures in Lake Park, see http://www.lakeparkfriends.org/explore/brick_arch_bridge.sht...