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Greenlawn Cemetery Bridge

Greenlawn Cemetery Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: September 22, 2019

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Cemetery Drive Over Cemetery Drive
Location
Columbus: Franklin County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1898 By Builder/Contractor: Fritz-Rumer-Cooke Company of Columbus, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2003
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
50 Feet (15 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
25XXXX6

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

One of the oldest stringer bridges in Ohio, this is also highly significant for its elaborate ornamental details. The bridge today crosses a drive that is no longer used in the cemetery and the bridge itself is open to pedestrian traffic only, although it was orginally designed for vehicular traffic with sidewalks. The bridge features a brick deck on steel deck plate. The deck plates appear to be original as they are bolted to the stringers with old style square head bolts, and part of the deck pan system includes riveted steel curbs along the edge of the sidewalks.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge, located in the southwest section of Green Lawn Cemetery (Section 55), carries a former carriage road over another one in a depressed section. The landscape features meandering lanes, specimen trees, and native plantings. Green Lawn Cemetery was established in 1848 and covers over 360 acres. Green Lawn owes its existence to the rural cemetery movement of the mid-19th century. This movement was an attempt to relocate cemeteries from cramped urban quarters and church yards to pastoral settings outside the cities. The cemeteries were to be more than burial places but public, park-like spaces where citizens could enjoy nature. Influenced by the Romantic movement, the rural cemetery movement also aspired to fine architecture, including a manipulated landscape of roads, paths, and lanes amongst specimen trees, gardens, and planned views. The original section of Green Lawn Cemetery was designed by landscape architect Howard Daniels and architect Frank Packard. Columbus's Green Lawn Cemetery ranks as a fine example of the rural cemetery where the original vision of the founders continues to influence its layout an development up to the present day.

Physical Description

The 3-span, steel stringer bridge has built-up riveted girders and steel-plate deck with brick pavers. The bridge is supported on ashlar sandstone abutments (vermiculated finish) and built up steel bents. In keeping with its setting, the bridge is architectonic with elaborate, decorative wrought-iron railing (featuring a sunburst motif); cast iron rosette bosses and pilasters at the fascia beams; and bent columns featuring curved knee braces accented with punch work and the same rosette bosses.

Integrity

No significant alterations were noted. Steel-plate deck and brick pavers were placed in 2003. Not noted if they are new features or in kind replacement. Some built-up bents have section loss and are holed through.

Summary of Significance

The 1898 Green Lawn Cemetery bridge ranks among the oldest examples of the steel stringer bridge type in Ohio, as well as among the most architectonic (Criterion C). The use of built-up riveted beams reflects the period prior to the transition to rolled sections for beam sections of this depth. Following the transition to rolled beams, the steel stringer would become the most common bridge type for highway use in the state. The three-span design with the curb-column bents is not untypical of railroad bridges of this era, but it is uncommon to find it for use as a grade-separation for highway use and, in this instance, it becomes a planned scenic feature within the manipulated landscape of the cemetery, carrying one winding lane over another within a natural ravine. The application of architectural features, such as bosses, pilasters, brackets, and decorative railing enhances the visual interest. Steel stringer bridges consist of a series of parallel longitudinal steel beams supporting a deck, usually of reinforced concrete. They are by far the most common inventoried highway bridge type over 20' long in Ohio with approximately 3,000 extant examples dating from circa 1895 to 1961 (Phase 1A, 2008). The reasons for this are several, including simplicity and adaptability to standardized designs, economy of construction, and the ability to re-use beams when a bridge is widened or replaced. Also not to be discounted is the fact that Ohio historically is a steel state with numerous mills. The steel stringer bridge continues to be built today, making it one of the longest-lived bridge technologies in modern times. Ohio's technologically significant examples of the steel stringer technology tend to be those unaltered examples dating to the early period of use and development in the late 19th century and standardization during the first decades of the 20th century. About 80 surviving examples are documented to predate 1921. Some earlier examples represent design variations, such as concrete-encased beams or concrete jack arch decks. Later examples may represent important refinements, particularly the first applications of continuous designs in the early to mid 1930s, but the tendency is for the population to be highly undifferentiated; only a very few steel stringer bridges rise to levels of historical or technological distinction.

Justification

The bridge has a high level of significance because it ranks as one of the oldest and most significant examples of a very common bridge type.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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