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1st Avenue Bridge

1st Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: 2016

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
1st Avenue Over Wreck Pond
Location
Sea Girt: Monmouth County, New Jersey: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1916 By Builder/Contractor: Owen J. Melee of Long Branch, New Jersey and Engineer/Design: John T. Simpson of Newark, New Jersey

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
41 Feet (12.5 Meters)
Structure Length
41 Feet (12.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
36 Feet (10.97 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
1300W27

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

This attractive arch bridge retains good historic integrity. The historic bridge inventory provides details below.

Information and Findings From New Jersey's Historic Bridge Inventory

Summary

The 1916 reinforced concrete arch has paneled parapets with posts with stepped caps. Within the boundaries of the Spring Lake multiple property listing, the unaltered bridge appears eligible under the nomination's specified criteria for landscape and recreation structures. It spans Wreck Pond, a naturally occurring recreational feature and park, and is part of the street plan and general landscaping and public improvements that contributed to Spring Lake's transformation into a resort community. The bridge is individually eligible for listing in the National Register under Criteria A and C, and is a contributing element of the Spring Lake Multiple Property District.

Setting/Context

The two lane bridge with two sidewalks spans Wreck Pond on the corporate line between Spring Lake to the north and Sea Girt to the south. The neighborhood is a well-maintained coastal resort community with late-19th and early 20th-century detached houses bordering the lake. Spring Lake Borough is a National Register multiple property listing (1870-1935) including hotels and boarding houses, residences, churches, commercial and civic buildings, and landscape and recreation structures.

Physical Description

The First Avenue bridge carries two lanes of traffic with two sidewalks over Wreck Pond. The bridge is a 77-foot span reinforced-concrete elliptical arch. It has concrete parapets with paneled posts with stepped caps. The parapets extend over the long, plain concrete wing walls. Utility pipes have been added on the downstream side of the bridge. The span appears to survive in unaltered condition.

Historical and Technological Significance

The First Avenue reinforced concrete arch bridge built in 1916 is significant for its historical association (Criterion A) with the development of Spring Lake as a shore resort from 1870 to 1935. It meets the registration requirements for landscape and recreational structures (Property Type #5, Section F, pp. 23-28) in the 1990 Spring Lake Multiple Property Documentation Form. Spring Lake is a well-preserved resort community with numerous surviving hotels, summer residences, churches, civic and business buildings, and landscape features. It is representative of several Jersey Shore resorts that in the late nineteenth century were established and promoted by real estate developers.

The Spring Lake Multiple Property Documentation Form did not develop bridges as a specific property type, but it did broadly define general landscape and recreational structures as "the various interventions which contributed to Spring Lake's transformation from a farming to a resort community." It listed as examples of possible eligible types tree-lined streets, the grid street pattern, boardwalks, public parks, and lakes.

The First Avenue bridge, constructed in 1916, was part of the efforts that changed Spring Lake's natural landscape into a cultural landscape. The bridge spans Wreck Pond, a feature mentioned in the multiple property nomination as conspicuous for little premeditated landscaping, and as important for suggesting "the way the early resort must have looked like." The bridge was indicative of human intervention into the natural landscape, and was historically associated with efforts to improve streets and highways in the growing shore resort. The reinforced-concrete arch bridge type was considered as aesthetically appropriate for parks and naturalistic landscaping, and it was not surprising that it was chosen for this location. Bridge plaques indicate that the bridge was designed by engineer John T. Simpson under the supervision of county engineer George D. Cooper. Owen Melee constructed the bridge and was known to be active in the construction of several other early reinforced-concrete bridges in Monmouth County. The bridge is technologically representative of period reinforced concrete arch construction, and conveys the context of the multiple property nomination through its design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and historical association. No plans or records of bridge construction were located at the county engineer's office.

Boundary Description and Justification

The bridge is eligible under the existing registration requirements spelled out in the 1990 Spring Lake Multiple Property Documentation Form National Register nomination. The boundaries of the nomination are the Spring Lake Borough corporate boundaries. Wreck Pond is Spring Lake Borough's southern corporate boundary and the bridge spans the pond, so it is within the National Register listed area.

Sources

Office of New Jersey Heritage. National Register File: Monmouth County; Spring Lake, New Jersey as a Coastal Resort, 1870-1935, 1990.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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