This bridge is historically and technologically significant as the only rainbow arch bridge in Indiana. The bridge has been rehabilitated and much of the original material was replaced, although the replacements were in-kind, maintaining the original appearance. The arch ribs remain original material.
Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey
Statement of Significance
Reinforced concrete through arches were frequently built in other parts of the country in the early decades of the twentieth century, and extant ones have often been listed on the National Register. Here is the only example extant in Indiana. Designed by a local engineer and built by a regionally-known contractor, the Meridian Street Bridge remains - as intended - a monument of statewide note to Portland's vigor. The bridge retains its architectural and structural integrity, including some of its electric light standards.
The South Meridian Street Bridge knit Portland and South Portland together. A wrought iron bowstring through arch (possibly of Wrought Iron Bridge Company design) spanned the Salamonie here since about the 1870s.
Around 1013 Portland's city leaders included a new concrete bridge in their civic improvement efforts which included a number of sewer lines, electric street lights in the city center, and brick paving and sidewalks for Meridian
Street. Jay County was also planning the construction of a new Court House. O.O. Clayton, the city civil engineer who prepared a design for the proposed new bridge, planned a monument which kept the Salamonie River waterway as
unobstructed as possible in an effort to limit the damage and inconvenience caused by frequent flooding. Clayton and the city's elected officials lobbied the county commissioners who on 2 December 1913 agreed to "build a better and
neater bridge than they would in the country" but who insisted that the city pay for the sidewalks on a new bridge. Clayton met with the commissioners again to convince theme that the new bridge out to be of concrete and to approved
a plan of his own design. Although challenged by Daniel Luten with the lowest bid at $9,840 - probably for a filled-spandrel concrete arch - the commissioners honored "the Clayton plan" and awarded the contract to I.E. Smith of
Richmond for $10,240.
112 foot span; only concrete thru and tied arch in Indiana
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
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