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Techumseh Street Bridge

Allen County Bridge 537, Coombs Street Bridge

Techumseh Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: September 21, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Techumseh Street Over Maumee River
Location
Fort Wayne: Allen County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1912 By Builder/Contractor: Herman Tapp Construction Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana and Engineer/Design: George Jaap

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2010
Main Span Length
102 Feet (31.1 Meters)
Structure Length
310 Feet (94.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
27.6 Feet (8.41 Meters)
Spans
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
200267

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historical Articles That Mention This Bridge

This bridge was designed by George Jaap, which is noteworthy because many of Fort Wayne's historic concrete arch bridges are associated with A. W. Grosvenor. It turns out even this bridge may have Grosvenor influence since when this bridge was built there was some thought that Jaap was copying Grosvenor's designs. That this bridge employs a Melan type reinforcing, which is a rare type of reinforcing but was also used by Grosvenor extensively, suggest there may be some truth to that. The extensively detailed and decorated bridge has a stone facing to enhance its aesthetic value.

In 2010, the bridge was extensively rehabilitated. Effort appears to have been made to maintain the bridge's original design and appearance.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

Despite Drayer's attack on Japp's competence, this bridge has outlived its detractor, and retains its structural and architectural integrity. Japp may have borrowed Grosvenor's structural plans, but the very considerable decoration was his own. The stone-facing of the spandrels and piers and the design of the rails are different and noteworthy.

Architectural Description

The Herman Tapp Construction Company of Fort Wayne won the contract to build this 321', three-span reinforced and filled concrete arch for $56,390. George Japp, who designed the structure, endured an attack upon his competence which C.E. Drayer of Cleveland submitted to Engineering News. Drayer accused Jaap, among other things, of plagiarizing A.W. Grosvenor's plans for the Tennessee Avenue Bridge.

Each of the rings is segmental, raised vertically upon the piers and abutments, and uses the Melan system of reinforcing. The central ring spans 100' and the outer ones 90'. Solid spandrel walls retain the earth fill supporting the 28' asphalt roadway between concrete sidewalks and neoclassical balustrade rails. The spandrel walls and piers are faced with sandstone.

Other Information

The Allen county commissioners accepted George Jaap's plans and specifications for the Coombs Street Bridge on 24 March 1912 and then proceeded to a letting for construction. At $56,390.40, president G. Max Hofmann of the Herman Tapp Construction Company of Fort Wayne underbid Jaap by less than $100. Construction continued well into the fall of 1913. Each of the rings is segmental with Melan-system reinforcing and a rise of 12 feet and nine inches. The rings are raised vertically upon the piers and abutments. Solid spandrel walls retain the earth fill and carry the asphalt roadway between 5-foot and 10-inch sidewalks bordered by coped parapets with neoclassical balustrades. The spandrel walls and piers are faced with sandstone. George Jaap, who designed the structure, endured a public attack upon his competence by C. E. Drayer of Cleveland in the Engineering News. Drayer accused Jaap, of among other things, plagiarizing A. W. Grosvenor's plans for the Tennessee Avenue Bridge (#539). Jaap had become experienced with concrete work in part as a result of the many contracts for bridge construction and repair that he received from the Allen county authorities. Despite Drayer's attack on Jaap's competence, this bridge has outlived its detractor and retains its structural and architectural integrity. Jaap may have borrowed Grosvenor's structural plans, but the very considerable decoration was his own. The stone-facing of the spandrels and piers and the design of the rails are different and noteworthy. 100 foot center span.

References

Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc., Bridge Inspection/Reinspection Report: Allen County (Indianapolis, 1973, 1977, 1981).

 SIECO, Inc., Bridge Reinspection Report: Allen County (Columbus, 1993, 1995).

Bridge nameplate.

Allen County, "Commissioners Record," 7: 42-44, 373; 8: 138, 171, 319, 387, 404, 434-435, 439, 464, 468, 493;

"Old Bridges " (Surveyors Office), 13E: 41.

"Construction News," Engineering News, 14 March 1912: 143; 4 April 1912: 186.

C. E. Drayer, "Concrete Bridges with Stone and Brick Facing," Engineering News, 24 June 1915: 1214-1215.

R. L. Polk and Company, Fort Wayne City and Allen County Directory: 1911, 562;

Fort Wayne City and Allen County Directory: 1912, 626;

Fort Wayne City and Allen County Directory: 1913, 613.

Two signs carved in cement:
1] "County Commissioners - 1912 - James D. Butt, F. Wm. Franke, John B. Wyss / 1913 - James D. Butt, F. Wm. Franke, Wm. C. Schwier / Ralph W. Guenther - County Engineer / O.B. Wiley - Assistant Engineer"
2] "G.M. Hoffman - (APR?) Construction Co. / Designed by George Jaap / AD 1912"

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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