Many surviving suspension foot bridges suffer from a common major loss of historic integrity which is the replacement of their original stiffening truss system. This bridge therefore, is highly significant as an example of a suspension foot bridge that retains its original riveted stiffening truss. It also is the only suspension bridge in the Fort Wayne area, an area noted for a diverse, impressive collection of historic bridges. The bridge is somewhat hidden in this area since no major sidewalks lead to the bridge on the west end. The bridge is almost invisible to the many people who drive by it. Regardless, the bridge is a significant example of an uncommon structure type. The bridge was built ca. 1920. The bridge has built-up riveted steel towers that include decorative finials. The stiffening truss is a rivet-connected Warren truss composed of lightweight angle.
Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey
Statement of Significance
Suspension bridges were never common and are increasingly rare in Indiana. The fixing of the cables to the towers, rather than over and through them, is unusual for suspension bridges even where the type of bridge is relatively more common. The span retains its structural integrity and decorated finials atop its towers.
Flanking each side of St. Mary's River in Foster Park, 20' towers of a pair of latticed channels raised on concrete bases support a pedestrian suspension bridge. A 2"-thick cable is pinned from one tower top to the other and a deck suspended on round rods from the pair of cables. To brace the towers against the pull of the center span cables and deck, another set of cables is pinned to the back of the tower top and then attached with adjustable bolts to buried concrete anchors behind. To keep the expansion and contraction of the cables from putting undue strain on the towers, they are pinned to shoes below rather than being rigidly fixed. The round rods hanging vertically from the suspending cables extend through a pair of channels to which the floor beams are also attached at the deck's base. External braces reach from the pair of channels below to the vertical round rod above to support the deck's railings and to lend a bit more stability to the deck and its timber walkway.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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