This bridge was built in the 1880s, apparently as a wooden bridge, by the Hawks Furniture Company to facilitate the transport of goods and people between the company's buildings on either side of the Millrace Canal. In 1905, the wooden bridge was replaced with the stone arch bridge seen today.
Business on the west side of the canal never stayed around, and the bridge lost purpose and has stood unused through the decades. If it were not for this fate, the bridge likely would have been demolished and replaced long ago, and we would not be able to observe the unusually narrow deck width of this bridge... indeed too narrow for even a single lane of vehicular traffic. There may have been other bridges in the country built with narrow decks like these, fit for horse and foot traffic, but not wide enough for even earlier forms of automobile, but most of those examples were replaced many decades ago. This bridge is a rare surviving example of a bridge with such a narrow deck width. In addition, this bridge is also a rare example of a stone arch bridge in northern Indiana. Nearly all of Indiana's stone arch bridges are in a cluster southeast of Indianapolis. Each surviving example outside of this cluster is regionally/locally significant because it is rare in that area.
Today this bridge has found new life as a non-motorized crossing that provides access to the popular Millrace Canal Trail, which runs along the west side of the canal. The historic significance of the bridge has been recognized, and an interpretive sign discussing the bridge is located along the canal trail at the bridge.
Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey
The Hawks Water Power Company replaced the old wooden bridge over the canal with the stone-arch structure. Hawks Water Power contracted with Henry Cripe to build the arches for approximately $400. Described as "one of the finest double stone arch bridges in this locality," the bridge directly serviced the Hawks Furniture Company which had buildings on both side of the canal at this location. Edwin and Frank Hawks may have controlled the canal's stock, too. For city residents, the new bridge was expected to "be of great benefit to the patrons of baseball, who go to Tonawanda Park via the canal bank." Multi-colored igneous stone. Concrete-encased arch rings. Concrete slab deck. Metal post and wire cable railings.
Goshen Daily Democrat, 29 July 1904; Goshen Daily News-Times, 26, 29 July 1904.
Earlene Nofziger to James L. Cooper, email messages of 18 September 2003 and 14 January 2004.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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