This railroad overpass stands out on city streets for its use of R4 railings, and this may be the result of this area formerly being home to the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Most railroad overpasses in Detroit with R4 railings are on state trunklines as this railing was used by the State Highway Department, while Wayne County Road Commission (and perhaps the City if they ever designed railroad overpass bridges) appear to have used other railing types. The use of R4 on this overpass may indicate this bridge, located on State Fair Avenue, was built with assistance from the state to help facilitate access to the Michigan State Fairgrounds. This has not been confirmed however. If the plaque on the bridge had not been stolen, this mystery might have had more light shed on it.
Today the area immediately northwest is undergoing big changes. After being largely vacant up until ca. 2011, a large shopping center (including the only Meijer in the city limits of Detroit) has since been constructed, while closer to the bridge a massive Amazon warehouse is being built. This area is today a useful spot for anyone visiting these less touristy areas of Detroit (such as historic bridges on this website) who wants access to traditional shopping options, including gas and food.
On the other side of the coin, despite Detroit having a surplus of vacant land compared to other large cities, the few surviving historic buildings in the area related to the Michigan State Fairgrounds are being demolished. Detroit has had many problems over the years, this is not in dispute. But the city also has a long history of blowing up historic buildings. Given the tourism other cities like Pittsburgh and Chicago enjoy from preserving historic buildings, it would seem a better way to revitalize Detroit by preserving and adaptively reusing its historic buildings. In this case, a Colosseum is being demolished for a transit center. While cities in the Midwest may have a reputation as being "rust belt" cities, the great cities of the Midwest (including Detroit) are (or were) also home to the finest historic buildings of all large cities in the United States with the exception of cities in the Northeast. Visit a "newer" big city like Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, etc and it is amazing how few historic skyscrapers and historic municipal buildings like arenas and such are absent from the landscape, largely because those cities only became huge cities in more recent years. Detroit has a great potential for massive heritage tourism if it would work harder at preserving buildings that survive today (especially when huge amounts of funds are available like the $18 million going into the transit center). Bridges like this would also benefit from preservation, as they often suffer from deterioration of their architectural elements. Almost all railroad overpasses in Detroit that retain ornamental railings have severe deterioration of the railings because nobody maintained the paint system. This bridge is no exception with complete section loss noted in the railing posts.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Unorganized Photos
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