GREATER CLEVELAND – It is entirely appropriate that Cleveland, home to the King family and site of its bridge fabricating factory, would also be the place where King bridges provided key components of the area’s transportation infrastructure, a role that some King bridges still play today. It is also fitting that the home base of the King Bridge Company is the location for the most important of the King bridges still remaining, including the last of its major bridges, the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge and its most notable moveable bridges, along with some through trusses and a large number of railroad beam girders still in active use. Thankfully, Greater Cleveland celebrates its historic bridges, including its Kings.
The company catalogues featured a number of major bridges built in Cleveland and vicinity which have now been replaced.
The Central Viaduct (replaced)
Built in 1888, this was a major project of the company for its time and its inauguration was a much celebrated event for the City of Cleveland and for Zenas King.
Two Other Major Viaducts (replaced)
These two major crossings were important elements the transportation infrastructure of Cuyahoga County.
The Willoughby Viaduct (replaced)
This was the last important bridge built by the King Bridge Company and the first bridge to be built of reinforced concrete, the new technology of the time. It was built in 1920 to carry US route 20 across the Chagrin River and lasted until 1979. (See Special article on the Willoughby Viaduct in the HISTORY section)
KING BRIDGES STILL IN PLACE
Despite the demise of these important King bridges, there are still a sizable collection of structures still in place and in use. These include:
1. The Veteran’s Memorial (Detroit-Superior) Bridge -1918- Cleveland
This 591 foot steel arch was the last major steel bridge built by the King Bridge Company. It is one of the largest bridges spanning the Cuyahoga River connecting the east and west sides of the City and has recently undergone extensive rehabilitation to keep it operational into the 21st century. In addition to remaining an important traffic artery, it is a key feature of Cleveland’s historical inventory, industrial heritage, and skyline panorama. It is cited in “Great American Bridges and Dams” by Donald C. Jackson, John Wiley & Sons 1988. ( See MAJOR BRIDGES in the HISTORY Section and link to http://web.ulib.csuohio.edu/SpecColl/bccc/bccc07.html)
2. The Center Street Swing Bridge -1901- Cleveland- This is the last remaining vehicular King bridge and is still in operation, providing access to the new entertainment complex in the Cleveland Flats. It is historically important, both for its design and for its role as a working swing bridge. It is listed in “Landmark American Bridges” by Eric Delony, HAER, Little,Brown and Co. 1990 and in “Great American Bridges and Dams” by Donald C. Jackson, John Wiley & Sons 1988. It will be kept in operation as part of the Cleveland’s impressive inventory of historic bridges. (See MOVABLE BRIDGES in the HISTORY Section for more details).
3. The B&O Scherzer Bascule Bridge-1907- Cleveland, **The King Bridge Company provided the steel structure for this important bascule bridge near the entrance to the Cuyahoga River. It was one of the longest of this time and is now preserved as a permanent feature of Cleveland’s historic bridge inventory. It is pictured in“Great American Bridges and Dams” by Donald C. Jackson, John Wiley & Sons 1988 (See MOVABLE BRIDGES in the HISTORY Section)
4. The Short Line RR Viaduct -1908- Cleveland
We believe that the 2007 photo on the right is the Short Line Viaduct built for the Nickel Plate Railroad by the King Bridge Company in 1908 and is still functioning.
(See RAILROAD Addendum 3/27/05 in NEW and the link to the article on this bridge http://web.ulib.csuohio.edu/SpecColl/nkp/bridge/)
5. Six Beam Girders on the Lorain & West Virginia RR – Lorain County
These beam girder bridges are still in use by the excursion trains run by the Lake Shore Railway Association through Elyria, Amherst Oberlin, Pittsfield, and Wellington during the summer and for special occasions. (See http://www.lakeshorerailway.org/)
6. The Fitzgerald Rd. Bridge in the Cuyahoga Valley NRA -1922- Cleveland
This may be one of the last bridges built by the Company before it effectively went out of business in 1923. It is one of two truss bridges in the National Recreation Area, the other having been built by King’s big rival, the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio. http://bridges.midwestplaces.com/oh/cuyahoga/service-road/
7. The Hillside Road Bridge in the Cuyahoga Valley NRA
Plus a number of existing railroad bridges in Cleveland with King Bridge Co. plates
8. Seven CSX Beam Girders – 1910-1912
9. Six Norfolk & Southern Beam Girders- 1911-1917
10. CTS Rapid Transit Beam Girder –Lorain& W143rd
11. The Clay Road Bridge* Western Reserve Greenway Trail – 1897
The King Bridge Company built a number of bridges in this County, which is also known for its old covered bridges. The bridge at Mill Creek was moved to a new site over Clay Road in 2004 to become part of the Ashtabula County Greenway rail trail from Canton to Ashtabula. It is included in the Ohio Historic Bridge Inventory. (see PRESERVATION Section for more details)
12. The Johnson Road Bridge – 1905 13. The Horton Road Bridge -1899.
These two fine bridges are still standing and in use on country roads. While the Johnson Road bridge may be saved as part of a scenic easement designed to protect the banks of the Grand River proposed by the Grand River Partnership, the Horton Road bridge is apparently scheduled for replacement in the near future, from information on Ron Jones, Ohio Historic Bridges website (www.oldohiobridges.com) along with Nathan Holth (http://www.historicbridges.org).Too bad. Also a twin of these bridges can be found in neighboring Crawford County, PA. It is the Conneaut Outlet Bridge on Stopp Road by Shaw’s Landing. It has an impressive King bridge plate and is documented on Holth’s website. It is on PENNDOT’s list for replacement in 2010. (See the see the Pennsylvania report in the REGIONS section)
And some additional King Bridges in Ashtabula County
The Ohio Historic Bridge Inventory by Ron Jones done in 2005 lists two other King bridges in the County and James Baughn’s website lists one
14.The State Road Bridge -1900 (ch 354)- Monroe Twp.
15.The Hall Road Pony Truss -1901 – Richmond Twp.
16. The Clyde Hill Road Bridge -1889 (Baughn list)
17. The Rock Creek Cemetery Bridge