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Tennessee Avenue Bridge

Allen County Bridge 539

Tennessee Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: September 21, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Tennessee Avenue Over St. Joseph River
Location
Fort Wayne: Allen County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1912 By Builder/Contractor: Lafayette Engineering Company of Lafayette, Indiana and Engineer/Design: Asa Waters Grosvenor of Fort Wayne, Indiana

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1998
Main Span Length
105 Feet (32 Meters)
Structure Length
220 Feet (67.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
26.6 Feet (8.11 Meters)
Spans
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
200269

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 is one of the more ornately decorated concrete bridges to be found. Some concrete arch bridges faced the spandrel walls in stone, this bridge instead has a brick facing, which is very rare and gives the bridge a unique, distinctive appearance. The bridge is complimented by the more limited use of stone on the arches and railing. The bridge is assumed to contain a Melan type of reinforcing, since noted local engineer and designer A. W. Grosvenor preferred this type and likely used it in his design of this bridge. Melan arch bridges are extremely rare on a nationwide basis.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

This is the oldest extant Grosvenor design and one of the most intrically-decorated bridges in the state. Engineering News printed a two-page description of the structure's decor. The bridge retains its architectural integrity.

Architectural Description

A.W. Grosvenor of Fort Wayne designed a number of concrete arches which different contractors built in and around Allen County in the second decade of the 20th Century. About half a dozen bridges he designed have survived.

The Lafayette Engineering Company won the contract to build this 236', two-span structure for $38,000. Each 105' ring is segmental, raised vertically on the abutment and pier, and probably reinforced with I beams in accordance with the Melan system. Solid spandrel walls retain the earth fill which supports the 25' asphalt roadway between sidewalks. The bridge has an ornamental facing of dark brick and white oolitic Bedford sandstone. The rings are faced in stone, the spandrel walls in brick, and the balustrade panels of brick while the coping and posts are of stone.

Other Information

The Allen county commissioners approved Asa Grosvenor's proposed plans for the Tennessee Avenue Bridge on 12 June 1911, and let a contract a month later to the Lafayette Engineering Company, Walker Marshall, president, for $38,000. The board rejected a number of proposals for a metal-truss structure. The county accepted the structure as satisfactorily completed in December 1912. The rings are segmental, probably with Melan-system reinforcing, and raised vertically on the abutment and pier. Solid spandrel walls retain the earth fill which supports the asphalt roadway between 7-foot sidewalks. The bridge has an ornamental facing of dark brick and white oolitic Bedford limestone. The rings are faced in stone, the spandrel walls in brick, and the balustrade panels of brick while the copings and posts are of stone. This is the oldest extant Grosvenor design and one of the most intricately-decorated bridges in the state. Engineering News printed a two-page description of the structure's dcor. The bridge retains its structural and architectural integrity. 105 foot spans; Flemish bond brick facing on spandrel walls and rails.

References

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

SIECO, Inc., Bridge Reinspection Report: Allen County (1993, 1995). Bridge nameplate. Allen County, "Commissioners Record," 7: 90, 118-119, 220, 275; 8: 142

"Construction News," Engineering News, 15 September 1910: 120; 20 July 1911: 26.

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

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Tennessee Avenue Bridge

 
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Maps and Links: Tennessee Avenue Bridge

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