HistoricBridges.org Menu: HistoricBridges.org Menu:

We Recommend These Resources:
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Gillespie Avenue Bridge

Gillespie Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 22, 2010

View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Gillespie Avenue Over Clinton Avenue
Rural: Oakland County, Michigan: United States
Structure Type
Concrete Rigid-Frame, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1936 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: Harold Hawley Corson

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
33 Feet (10 Meters)
Structure Length
34 Feet (10.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
36 Feet (10.97 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

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

This small bridge is historically significant as an early example of a concrete rigid-frame bridge in Michigan. It also is a rare surviving example of the type in Michigan. Unlike the neighboring Canadian province of Ontario which built countless numbers of rigid-frames over a period of decades, Michigan does not appear to have built very many rigid-frames, even though the Michigan State Highway Department did have a standard plan for the bridge type. Either way, few examples survive in Michigan today. The Gillespie Avenue Bridge was not an example of the state standard plan however. It was built a year after the MSHD standard plan was developed, but was independently designed by Harold Hawley Corson, a consulting engineer.

Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Sites Online and the Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory

Narrative Description

Gillespie Street crosses the Clinton River just downstream from a dam that forms a lake tot he south. Chain-link fencing edges the south side of the Gillespie Street Bridge. Recessed panels ornament the shallow spandrels of this petite concrete rigid-frame structure. railings are simple metal panels with square-rod spindles supported by concrete posts trimmed with recessed panels. Sidewalks run along both sides of the roadway.

Statement of Significance

The Gillespie Street Bridge, built in 1936, is a relatively early example of rigid-frame construction in Michigan. Wayne County introduced rigid-frame bridges in the state in the early 1930s, and the Michigan State Highway Department adopted the design in 1935-1936. While the style was popular into the 1950s, few well-preserved structures of this type remain. The Gillespie Street Bridge is eligible for the National Register as an excellent example of concrete rigid-frame design.

There was apparently no bridge at this site before the Gillespie Street Bridge was erected as part of the extension of that road. The city deepened the channel of the Clinton River at the same time that the bridge was built.

The bridge was designed for the city of Pontiac by Harold Hawley Corson, a consulting engineer. Born in nearby Birmingham in 1886, Corson received a civil engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He worked on the construction of the Detroit River Tunnel and briefly employed by the U.S. Reclamation Service. From 1922 to 1927, he apparently did some consulting work for the Michigan State Highway Department. He returned to Birmingham in 1927, where he served as the town's engineer until at least the 1940s. It was during this period that he prepared the plans for the Gillespie Street Bridge for the city of Pontiac. It is unclear why he selected a rigid-frame design for this small span. Rigid-frame bridges had been introduced in Michigan a few years earlier, and he perhaps sought to experiment with this new bridge type at a modest scale.

Rigid-frame bridges had initially appeared in Michigan in the early 1930s, and he perhaps sought to experiment with this new bridge type at a modest scale. The first concrete rigid-frame bridge in the United States was built in Westchester County, New York, in 1922. The design was considered both attractive and practical: it offered a broad, arch-like opening with a relatively shallow superstructure and a minimal loss of headroom beneath the span.

As an interesting relatively early example of rigid-frame construction, the Gillespie Street Bridge is eligible for the National Register under Criterion C.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Gillespie Avenue Bridge

View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


Maps and Links: Gillespie Avenue Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

View Bridge Location In:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within a half mile of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles of this bridge.

Google Maps

Google Streetview (If Available)

Bing Maps


Apple Maps (Via DuckDuckGo Search)

Apple Maps (Apple devices only)


HERE We Go Maps

ACME Mapper

Waze Map

Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App

Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)

Wikimedia Commons (Find Nearby Photos)

Directions Via Sygic For Android

Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser

USGS National Map (United States Only)

Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)

CalTopo Maps (United States Only)

Home Top


About - Contact

© Copyright 2003-2021, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.

Admin Login