This bridge is the smallest of three similar historic steel arch bridges in the area. These bridges are noted for their beauty and unusual design. The three bridges are the Walden-Bluff's Edge Bridge, the Walden Lane Bridge West, and the Walden Lane Bridge East. A fourth bridge is similar design was demolished back in the 1950s. These bridges were all part of Walden, which was the estate of Cyrus H. McCormick, Jr. who was the oldest son of Cyrus Hall McCormick. Cyrus Hall McCormick, Sr. is famous in history for his contributions to the industrialization of agriculture including his promotion of a mechanical reaper. Cyrus Hall McCormick, Jr. was president of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, and later the merged International Harvester Company.
Structurally, the three bridges are noted for their extremely unusual columns. Most steel deck arch bridges have vertical columns that rise up from the arch rib to support the deck of the bridge. Each of the columns of the bridges are positioned at right angles to the arch ribs, and as such they fan out from the arches and meet the decks at an angle. This design is extremely unusual and it makes these bridges extremely rare variants of steel arch design. All three bridges also display unusual abutments that have a curved design, apparently to complement the angled skewbacks for the bridge. While abutments for steel arch bridges must always accommodate the angle of the skewbacks, the design of these abutments with an overall curve beyond the area of the skewbacks is highly unusual and appears to have done for aesthetic reasons. It likely made the stonework much more complicated to complete.
This bridge stands out among the three bridges because unlike the other two bridges this one has a skew. The skew is 30 degrees. It has led to additional unusual details for this bridge. Each of the three arch ribs is offset to accommodate the skew. This in turn required the abutments to be specially designed. The stone abutments are already unusual and complex in design with the curved design. However, these abutments are even more complex and unusual, since they have three sections, each offset to match the position of the arch ribs. This is a rare case of a bridge where the abutments themselves have almost as much historic significance as the superstructure. The bridge is as much an example of unusual and well-built stonework as it is of steel arch construction.
This bridge has been rehabilitated and is in good structural condition. It also retains good historic integrity with no major alterations. However, there are some minor alterations including replacement of rivets with bolts, and some welded plate additions, both particularly with the columns toward the ends of the bridge. The concrete balustrade railings do not appear to be original, but they provide a historical appearance. It is not known if they are meant to simulate the actual original railings for this bridge. The stone abutments are in excellent, unaltered condition.
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