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Charlotte Highway Bridge

Centerline Bridge

   


Charlotte Highway Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: 2006 - April 16, 2014
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Bridge Park Trail Over Bridge Park Drive
Location
Rural: Calhoun County, Michigan
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1886 By Builder/Contractor: Buckeye Bridge Works of Cleveland, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2007
Main Span Length
173 Feet (52.7 Meters)
Structure Length
176.8 Feet (53.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
14.4 Feet (4.4 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
34200072000B010

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This bridge has been moved and restored, and now resides in Historic Bridge Park.

Formerly located in Ionia County, the Charlotte Highway Bridge is one of only three Whipple (double-intersection Pratt) highway bridges left in Michigan, and is a relatively large span example. It is also the only remaining bridge in Michigan built by the Buckeye Bridge and Iron Works of Cleveland Ohio. Very few bridges by this company remain nationwide. The company was later bought out by the Variety Iron Works of Cleveland, Ohio. The Charlotte Highway Bridge is the fifth truss bridge to be erected in Historic Bridge Park. It forms an impressive entrance into the park as it passes over the park entry road with its complex truss configuration and bright red paint.

Historical Text Describing Buckeye Bridge Works

Source: Leading Manufacturers and Merchants of the City of Cleveland and Envrions, 1886

M. & J. Miller, Buckeye Bridge and Boiler Works, near corner of Case Avenue and Hamilton Street. -A prominent house in Cleveland engaged in contracting for the erection of bridges, etc, is the Buckeye Bridge and Boiler Works, located at Case Avenue and Hamilton street, of which Messrs. M. & J. Miller are the enterprising proprietors. This business was established in 1872 by Messrs. Miller & Jameson, who were succeeded in 1878 by Mr. J. Miller. Eventually in 1886 the present firm was organized, the copartners being Messrs. M. and J. Miller, both of whom are thoroughly practical men, and possess an intimate knowledge of all kinds of bridge construction and boiler-plate work. The new works and office are located near the corner of Case avenue and Hamilton street and are very extensive, having a frontage of 300 feet by a depth of 312 feet. The buildings are thoroughly equipped with the latest improved machinery and appliances, including machines for dishing heads, plate planers, steam-riveting machinery, etc. One hundred and twenty mechanics and operatives are employed in the various departments of the Buckeye Bridge and Boiler Works, while the machinery is operated by a seventy-horse power steam engine. Messrs. M. & J. Miller manufacture to order all kinds of iron, truss, and beam bridges, also boilers, tanks, stills, blast furnaces, and all kinds of plate work, jail cells, and bank vaults. The various productions of this responsible house have no superiors for quality of materials, workmanship, and general excellence. The firm built the Willoughby bridge at Willoughby, Ohio, also bridges at Ogden and Golden City, Utah, and numerous others in all parts of the country. Messrs. M. & J. Miller give their close personal supervision to the operations of their works, thus insuring only such iron work as will withstand the most critical tests. Both partners were born in Reading, Pa., but have resided in Cleveland for the last quarter of a century. They undertake the construction of all kinds of iron bridges, and no more honorable, reliable, and efficient bridge builders can be found.

Journal of Visits To This Bridge During Restoration:

During fall of 2005, I visited and found that the only activity that had gone on at the park is the creation of reproduction floor beams for the bridge. The original floor beams were apparently in too bad of a shape to be restored. The reproduction beams are true to the original, and they are riveted together the way the originals were.

A visit in February of 2006 revealed that the flooring system of the bridge was assembled. Also, the rest of the bridge pieces had been brought on site. I found this fascinating, as I always like to see what the parts look like when separate and on their own. It is often easier to visualize how everything fits together on a truss bridge when you see it in pieces like this. As a result, I have added a bunch of photos to the gallery.

An August 2006 visit revealed that the actual truss assembly is in progress, and a portion of the bridge's trusses were put together. Some of the crew was there, and I talked with them a bit and learned that they were hoping to get it put together by this winter. I have added photos to the gallery from this visit.

Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory

Narrative Description

Charlotte Hwy. / Grand RiverThe Charlotte Highway Bridge is one of only three double-intersection Pratt (Whipple) trusses extant in Michigan. The Builder, the Buckeye Bridge Works of Cleveland, Ohio, was a significant metal truss bridge builder in the midwest in the nineteenth century, and this is the only known surviving example of their work in Michigan.

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Photos and Videos: Charlotte Highway Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
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Reassembly and Pre-2014 Photo
A collection of overview and detail photos including photos showing the bridge being reassembled at the park. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original / Full Sized photos and Mobile/Smartphone Optimized (Reduced Size) photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
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2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery
2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer

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