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This is a rare Whipple truss bridge, built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company. Wrought Iron Bridge company built many bridges in Michigan, but not many Whipple Truss bridges. In fact there are only three Whipple truss bridges remaining in Michigan. This is the oldest of that trio. There is only V-lacing present on the sway bracing. Wrought Iron Bridge Co bridges often tended to lack v-lacing. A builder plaque is mounted on one end, on the portal bracing. The plaque, like many of Wrought Iron Bridge built bridges, only gives a patent date, no construction date. The portal bracing is latticed. There were some large panels of lattice guardrails on one of the concrete abutments for this bridge, these may have been what is left of the original guardrails, but following the most recent work on the bridge even these abutment railings were removed.
A decision to build a new bridge at Gould Street in 1975 to "replace" the Oakwood Avenue Bridge allowed for the truss bridge to remain standing when it would have otherwise been demolished.
For many years this bridge was painted an unusual pink or salmon color and served pedestrian traffic only. In 2008 and 2009 it received repairs and a new paint job, confirming the city of Owosso's commitment to one of the most important historic structures in the city. The new paint color is navy blue, which an uncommon but perhaps less odd color for a bridge, and looks quite nice on a sunny day. The repairs made at this time also included placing replica knee braces (the originals had been replaced with simple angles of steel at an unknown date). It is unknown exactly which design of knee bracing the original bridge featured. The design placed on the bridge as part of these repairs is based off of one design the Wrought Iron Bridge Company used, although the era and design of this bridge suggests a more ornate design such as seen on the stylistically similar Miller Station Bridge may have been the original form. Either way, the new knee bracing is much nicer looking than what was on it prior to that and is much more representative of the general form and design of knee bracing on a pin-connected truss bridge. Other repairs included replacing some deck stringers that exhibited excessive section loss, as well as replacing the timber deck.
The bridge also had new railings placed on it to replace the non-original railings that were on the bridge. These new railings meet requirements for pedestrian safety, yet have also been designed to look attractive and have a somewhat historic appearance on account of the lattice design they have. These railings are much nicer than some of the ugly railings that have been placed on bridges being preserved over the years. A diagram from the rehab plans shows the design for these railings. If you are a bridge owner looking to restore your historic truss bridge and want to know more about these or other railing options for your bridge, please contact HistoricBridges.org.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Reused and Unorganized Photos
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