This bridge is truly a unique structure. It is a large, high-level concrete t-beam bridge with extensive decorative detailing and design that passes over a small creek and a larger valley. It features a concrete balustrade railing that was being used on steel stringer bridges during the period. The bridge has to be viewed from below to truly appreciate the blend of structure and architecture that is present in this bridge. Located in a scenic lakeside town, this bridge is a landmark that contributes positively to the town.
The bridge is in overall good condition, however the original railings are spalling considerably. MDOT plans to rehabilitate this bridge and place near-replica railings on the bridge. The railings will be exact replicas except they will be a little higher than than the original railings, to meet safety requirements. However, the benefit to this is that the ugly modern metal poles which are mounted on the original railings will no longer be needed. MDOT's solution represents a sound decision that meets both the needs of preservation and safety.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Sites Online
The West Mitchell Street Bridge is a seven-span, reinforced concrete highway bridge, 60 feet wide and 330 feet in length with broad ogee-like arches supporting the asphalt deck. Side balustrades flank the sidewalks which line the roadway.
Statement of Significance
The West Mitchell Street Bridge was erected in 1930 by the Michigan State Highway Department. It is a noteworthy example in Petoskey of Moderne design. It was built under the supervision of Grover C. Dillman, State Highway Commissioner, by Whitney Brothers Contractors. It is one of the most notable "City Beautiful" bridges in Michigan from the standpoint of its design and detailing and also among the state's early twentieth-century reinforced concrete girder bridges. The new "modernistic" styling of the later 1920s and 1930s, which informed the design of this highway bridge, clearly inspired the use of concrete and the streamlined or stylized forms that derive from an appreciation for the machine and its products. The design of the bridge was also inspired by a respect for the historic architecture and traditions of the past as displayed in its graceful, ogee-like arches evocative of Moorish or Tudor design.
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