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Charlotte Highway Bridge

Centerline Bridge

Charlotte Highway Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: 2006 - April 16, 2014

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Bridge Park Trail Over Bridge Park Drive
Rural: Calhoun County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1886 By Builder/Contractor: Buckeye Bridge Works of Cleveland, Ohio
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
173.0 Feet (52.7 Meters)
Structure Length
176.8 Feet (53.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
14.4 Feet (4.39 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

Additional Information: View an episode of PBS show Destination Michigan which features Historic Bridge Park

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

This bridge has been moved and restored, and now resides in Historic Bridge Park.

Formerly located in Ionia County, the Charlotte Highway Bridge is one of only three Whipple (double-intersection Pratt) highway bridges left in Michigan, and is a relatively large span example. It is also the only remaining bridge in Michigan built by the Buckeye Bridge and Iron Works of Cleveland Ohio. Very few bridges by this company remain nationwide. The company was later bought out by the Variety Iron Works of Cleveland, Ohio. The Charlotte Highway Bridge is the fifth truss bridge to be erected in Historic Bridge Park. It forms an impressive entrance into the park as it passes over the park entry road with its complex truss configuration and bright red paint.

Historical Text Describing Buckeye Bridge Works

Source: Leading Manufacturers and Merchants of the City of Cleveland and Envrions, 1886

M. & J. Miller, Buckeye Bridge and Boiler Works, near corner of Case Avenue and Hamilton Street. -A prominent house in Cleveland engaged in contracting for the erection of bridges, etc, is the Buckeye Bridge and Boiler Works, located at Case Avenue and Hamilton street, of which Messrs. M. & J. Miller are the enterprising proprietors. This business was established in 1872 by Messrs. Miller & Jameson, who were succeeded in 1878 by Mr. J. Miller. Eventually in 1886 the present firm was organized, the copartners being Messrs. M. and J. Miller, both of whom are thoroughly practical men, and possess an intimate knowledge of all kinds of bridge construction and boiler-plate work. The new works and office are located near the corner of Case avenue and Hamilton street and are very extensive, having a frontage of 300 feet by a depth of 312 feet. The buildings are thoroughly equipped with the latest improved machinery and appliances, including machines for dishing heads, plate planers, steam-riveting machinery, etc. One hundred and twenty mechanics and operatives are employed in the various departments of the Buckeye Bridge and Boiler Works, while the machinery is operated by a seventy-horse power steam engine. Messrs. M. & J. Miller manufacture to order all kinds of iron, truss, and beam bridges, also boilers, tanks, stills, blast furnaces, and all kinds of plate work, jail cells, and bank vaults. The various productions of this responsible house have no superiors for quality of materials, workmanship, and general excellence. The firm built the Willoughby bridge at Willoughby, Ohio, also bridges at Ogden and Golden City, Utah, and numerous others in all parts of the country. Messrs. M. & J. Miller give their close personal supervision to the operations of their works, thus insuring only such iron work as will withstand the most critical tests. Both partners were born in Reading, Pa., but have resided in Cleveland for the last quarter of a century. They undertake the construction of all kinds of iron bridges, and no more honorable, reliable, and efficient bridge builders can be found.

Journal of Visits To This Bridge During Restoration:

During fall of 2005, I visited and found that the only activity that had gone on at the park is the creation of reproduction floor beams for the bridge. The original floor beams were apparently in too bad of a shape to be restored. The reproduction beams are true to the original, and they are riveted together the way the originals were.

A visit in February of 2006 revealed that the flooring system of the bridge was assembled. Also, the rest of the bridge pieces had been brought on site. I found this fascinating, as I always like to see what the parts look like when separate and on their own. It is often easier to visualize how everything fits together on a truss bridge when you see it in pieces like this. As a result, I have added a bunch of photos to the gallery.

An August 2006 visit revealed that the actual truss assembly is in progress, and a portion of the bridge's trusses were put together. Some of the crew was there, and I talked with them a bit and learned that they were hoping to get it put together by this winter. I have added photos to the gallery from this visit.

Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory

Narrative Description

Charlotte Hwy. / Grand River

The Charlotte Highway Bridge is one of only three double-intersection Pratt (Whipple) trusses extant in Michigan. The Builder, the Buckeye Bridge Works of Cleveland, Ohio, was a significant metal truss bridge builder in the midwest in the nineteenth century, and this is the only known surviving example of their work in Michigan.

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Reused


Photo Galleries and Videos: Charlotte Highway Bridge


View Photo Gallery

Reassembly and Pre-2014 Photo

A collection of overview and detail photos including photos showing the bridge being reassembled at the park. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
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View Photo Gallery

2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation

Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
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View Photo Gallery

2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation

Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


Maps and Links: Charlotte Highway Bridge

The above map shows the current location of the bridge. The bridge originally crossed the Grand River on Charlotte Highway, Ionia County, Michigan,

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

Search For Additional Bridge Listings:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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