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Washington Street Bridge

Washington Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: September 5, 2020 and September 13, 2020

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Washington Street Over Swan Creek
Toledo: Lucas County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1920 By Builder/Contractor: Toledo Bridge and Crane Company of Toledo, Ohio and Engineer/Design: Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company of Chicago, Illinois

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
85 Feet (25.9 Meters)
Structure Length
109 Feet (33.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
29 Feet (8.84 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

The trusses of this rare Scherzer rolling lift highway bascule bridge was retained as a non-functional decorations when the bridge was replaced. While this represents a significant loss of historic integrity, the bridge trusses continue to offer beauty to the crossing, interpretive value to Swan Creek's past as a navigable waterway, and an illustration of highway bascule truss design. The concrete counterweight and all machinery has been removed. Alteration took place in 1996. There was an even older Scherzer bascule bridge to the east of this bridge, that was also replaced around the same time, but its trusses were not preserved in the same manner, and were fully demolished.

In 2012, this bridge was again at risk when it was in need of repainting. Consideration was given to simply demolish the trusses rather than repair them. Thankfully, this insane idea was finally dismissed and the bridge trussses were repainted.

This bridge did not operate for boats for many years. Last year of operation for boats was ca. 1945.

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

Above: HAER Photo showing bridge prior to alteration.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge carries a 2 lane roadway over a stream in downtown Toledo.


The 1920 Scherzer rolling lift bridge is no longer operational. The truss lines were preserved when the bridge was rehabilitated in 1996, but the operating machinery was removed. The bascule had not operated in years. A new prestressed concrete beam superstructure was placed to carry the live loads. The trusses no longer function to carry live loads.

Summary of Significance

According to ODOT environmental files, the rolling lift bridge was rehabilitated with no adverse effect, although only the truss lines were preserved and set on the new bridge superstructure. It remains eligible due to the no adverse effect, but integrity is very, very weak.


The former movable bridge has moderate significance because it is no longer operable. There are several examples of the same type servicing railroads in the state.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Trusses Converted To Decorative


Photo Galleries and Videos: Washington Street Bridge

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