This bridge is noteworthy as an example of a Melan arch bridge. Melan arch bridges use solid steel arch ribs inside the concrete instead of rebar for reinforcing. This bridge is particularly significant because it was built to the original Concrete Steel Engineering Company patents that used a Melan type reinforcing. This bridge has been rehabilitated, and the railings while historic looking do not appear to be original. However, it appears that the Melan reinforcing was not removed and replaced, and remains safely concealed within the concrete. Thus, this bridge is a good example of a rehabilitation and preservation project. This is worth noting because in Indianapolis, they tried to pass off a project where they removed and replaced the Melan reinforcing with rebar as a preservation project, which is not accurate. Such a project is a demolition and replacement project.
Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey
Statement of Significance
Melan-reinforced arches are no longer plentiful in Indiana. This may be the only bridge built according to the Concrete Steel Engineering Company's patents. Although the original rails have been replaced, the local landmark retains most of its architectural integrity. City officials like the new bridge. "Permanent bridges of this character should hereafter be erected," opined the South Bend City Civil Engineer in 1907.
The Marsh Bridge Company of Des Moines, Iowa, won
the contract to build this 279', three-span, Melan-reinforced concrete
arch bridge for $84,750. Marsh Bridge subcontracted the reinforcing to
Concrete-Steel Engineering Company which fabricated the steel following
its patented system. The county paid Malverd A. Howe of Rose Polytechnic
Institute to inspect the plans. A. J. Hammond (designer) Concrete-Steel
Engineering and Marsh Bridge (builders).
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Melan
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