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Louise Bridge

Hillhurst Bridge

Louise Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): C. Hanchey, CC BY-NC 2.0, flickr.com/photos/21953562@N07/

Bridge Documented: May 17, 2015

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
10th Street Over Bow River
Calgary: Calgary, Alberta: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1921 By Builder/Contractor: Fegles Construction Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Engineer/Design: Simpson Roberts Wappel
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
115.0 Feet (35.1 Meters)
Structure Length
564.0 Feet (171.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
52.5 Feet (16 Meters)
5 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge is a five span reinforced concrete closed-spandrel arch. It was named for Louise Cushing, daughter of William Henry Cushing, a former Calgary Mayor. The bridge was built in 1921 by the Fegles Construction Company (assumed to be the US-based Minneapolis company). Also known as the Hillhurst Bridge. The Louise Bridge is designated as a City Wide Historic Resource in Calgary’s Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources (as the Hillhurst (Louise) Bridge). The bridge appears to have been extensively rehabilitated including new concrete on the spandrel walls.

View Article on Rehab For This Bridge

Information and Findings From Calgary Historic Resources

Discussion of Bridge

Hillhurst (Louise) Bridge
Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge (1921)
Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge (1921)
Alternate Names: N/A
Address: 0 10 ST NW - View map
Year of Construction: 1921
Community: HILLHURST
Resource Type: City Wide Historic Resource
Original Use Type: Transport
Original Use SubType: Bridge
Architectural Style: N/A
Architect: John F. Green
Builder: Fegles Construction Company
Provincial Master Plan Theme: Transportation
Development Era: 1919 to 1929 (Post WWI to Stock Market Crash)
Legal Description: N/A
Other Significant Dates: As well as the year of completion other significant dates are: Circa 1950 removal of street railway and poles with streetlamps and streetcar lines. 1995 rehabilitation of the bridge

Legally Protected/Federally Recognized:
Federal: No
Provincial: No
Registered: No
Municipal: No

Significance Summary:
The Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge is significant because it is one of three reinforced concrete-arche bridges built in Calgary from 1915 to 1921. It is part of the change in bridge construction from steel through-truss structures -which had predominated in Calgary prior to 1912 - to reinforced-arched concrete bridges. This shift in design reflected the influence of the City Beautiful Movement on urban design in Calgary. (Design value - Community Significance)

The Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge marks an historic crossing of the Bow River established in June 1888 which initially connected the rural residents living northwest of Calgary to the Town of Calgary south of the Bow River. During the development boom of 1909-13 this crossing of the Bow River was one of three which permitted the growth of Calgary north of the Bow based in part on an expanding street railway network.(Symbolic value - City Wide Significance)

It is a landmark due to its long-standing and integral function as a primary transportation link; its distinctive design; and its 'gateway' status as entry feature to Hillhurst - Sunnyside and downtown Calgary (Landmark Value - Community Significance)

Statement of Significance
The Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge is a five-span reinforced-concrete, spandrel-wall, arched bridge supported on four piers and two abutments. The roadway is 16 meters wide with cantilevered 1.5-meter-wide sidewalks on either side. Classically inspired balustrades mark the sides of the bridge deck. The bridge crosses the Bow River to the north west of Calgary's central business district and links Hillhurst - Sunnyside with the downtown.

Heritage Value:
The heritage value of the Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge derives from its concrete, spandrel-wall arch design and classical details which include balustrades and balustrade supports with impressed panels. It is the oldest of two examples of this bridge type in Calgary with Mission Bridge (1915) being the first. It is one of three bridges which mark the early shift away from steel through-truss bridges, which had been the dominant design of bridges built in Calgary through to 1912. The Centre Street Bridge which is an open-spandrel, reinforced-concrete, arched bridge is the third example of this innovation in bridge design. The City Beautiful Movement which inspired classically derived bridges throughout North America during the late eighteenth and the early Ninetieth Century instigated this design change in Calgary. The use of concrete was suggested by various aldermen and was endorsed by Thomas Mawson a British town planner engaged by the City of Calgary. Mawson was engaged by the City and produced a dramatic City Beautiful-type plan for Calgary in 1914. The bridge survives a tangible outcome of Mawson's advice to the City.

The symbolic value of the Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge derives from its association marking a second historic crossing of the Bow River at this spot. The crossing was established with the opening of the Bowmarsh bridge in June 1888. It connected the rural residents living northwest of Calgary with the new Town of Calgary south of the Bow River. After 1906 it was one of three crossings which permitted the expansion of Calgary north of the Bow River. The Louise Bridge built in 1906 and the current Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge built in 1921 were both critical to the expansion of the street railway system. They were used as part of a loop which followed 10th Street, 16th Avenue, the Edmonton Trail and the Langevin Bridge to extend development as far north as 16th Avenue.

The Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge is an important landmark in the Hillhurst - Sunnyside community and the western end of downtown. Its landmark status derives from its graceful ornamental design, its long-standing and integral function as an important transportation link and its role as the primary entry feature to Hillhurst-Sunnyside and the western part of Downtown.

Character Defining Elements:
The character-defining elements of the Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge include its:
- location marking the site of the second crossing of the Bow River established in 1888;
- the massing of the structure from the five elliptical concrete arches and spandrel walls to the concrete deck;
- cantilevered concrete sidewalks;
- classically inspired concrete balustrades along both sides of the bridge incorporating balustrade supports and observation bays detailed with impressed panel motifs.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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