10: Bridges

10:1 First Bridge Across Rocky River
10:2 Bridge Over Rocky River
10:3 Rockport Township Bridges
10:4 Rocky River Bridge
10:5 Grape Vine Bridge
10:6 High Level Bridge
10:7 Hilliard Bridge
10:8 Hilliard Bridge
10:9 Rocky River Bridge
10:10 Push New Bridge for Rocky River
10:11 Council Acts on Lakefront Highway Plan















10:1

Bridges

FIRST BRIDGE ACROSS ROCKY RIVER

CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER DIGEST, 1820, p. 29, No. 20

Proposals will be received until the first day of November, by the subscribers, for building a good and substantial bridge across Rocky river, opposite the village of Granger.  Chester Dean, Dutus Kelley, Trustees of Rockport township.  (verbatim)
 
 

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10:2

Bridges

BRIDGE OVER ROCKY RIVER

CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER DIGEST, 1820, p. 990, No. 2275

CR Jan 11:2/3,4,5 - In Senate

December 23.

Mr. Kelley presented a petition of sundry citizens of the county of Cuyahoga, praying, that part of the three per cent fund may be appropriated to build a bridge across Rocky river, in said county which was read, referred to the joint committee on the three per cent fund, with leave to report by bill or otherwise.
 
 

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10:3

ROCKPORT TOWNSHIP BRIDGES (ROCKPORT PLANK ROAD CO.)

ANNALS OF CLEVELAND (NEWSPAPER DIGEST, 1850) Pg. 19, No. 144; Pg. 68, No. 521

144 - DTD Mar. 5:2/2 - The Ohio Legislature passed the bill authorizing the commissioners of Cuyahoga county to loan money to enable the Rockport Plank Road co. to build a bridge over Rocky river.

521 - DTD Oct. 5; ed:2/1 - The indebtedness of the county in 1844 was $11,535.87.  The commissioners, Diodate Clark, Theodore Breck, and Noah Graves, had put us out of debt by 1847.

The county was recently saved a large expenditure by the acceptance of the Rockport Plank co.'s proposition to loan it $6,000 to build a substantial bridge over Rocky river.  "Commissioners who have managed our money affairs so judiciously merit every one's confidence, and the county thus out of debt is a model."
 
 

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10:4

ROCKY RIVER BRIDGE

HISTORY OF THE CITY OF LAKEWOOD - F.C. LOWING

The splendid bridge that now spans Rocky River is but one of the several structures that have accommodated the many thousands who have crossed that stream within the past hundred years. While it is a marvel of beauty and of efficiency, and carries a traffic that is the greatest in the history of that popular thoroughfare, yet it is not the only one that has cheered the hearts of a public that has faced the necessity of crossing the stream that runs beneath it.

In the early days Rocky River was crossed with a ferry.  When a few years later a bridge was built on a slight elevation from the water level, this first bridge--a modest affair compared to the present structure--was considered a great convenience to people wishing to cross this stream.

The second bridge to span Rocky River was built by the plank road builders and was a toll bridge.  It divided the dip from the high river bluff to the water's level, and took part of the up and down tug from the burden of the early motive power employed by pioneer farmers and travelers.

The third bridge was a present-level structure, of iron and stone, and a serviceable affair that saved the teams from a dangerous descent and a hard upward haul "on the hither" shore.

But with the elimination of the plank road, and a desire to cross the river with an electric line, there came also the necessity for a bridge that would carry this added burden.  This was provided in the present steel-strengthened cement structure that is one of the most handsome and convenient bridges to be found in Northern Ohio.
 
 

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10:5

GRAPE VINE BRIDGE  MRS. GREENLEY

The Grape Vine Bridge was the only means of crossing Rocky River in the vicinity of Hilliard and Riverside roads.  It was swumg between and from Mrs. George Mason's farm, now "Rainbow Gardens" or "Riverside Gardens", across the river diagonally to west side of the river.  When the wind blew hard, it would swing as a grape vine would in the wind.

School children used this bridge to go to Finney's School at Finney's Corners, now Center Ridge and Wooster, where an old brick school now stands.  The present building replaced the little frame schoolhouse painted red.  Big cords of wood were piled high in the yard and brought in, enough to last a few days, and dry out enough to burn.

The high school was on the west side of Warren Road (a more pretentious building).  It stood, just where the old brick school now stands.  The Board of Education, I believe now occupies it.  Emily Hathaway, afterwards was Mrs. James B. McCreary, also was the eldest daughter of Mrs. Phian Herrington-Hathaway-Mason, attended high school and walked from their farm on Riverside (Hogback Road) south of Hilliard Road at bend of road.

The old "Grape Vine" bridge was used by the children to go to school, and also grown ups to cross the river, this was we are told, (after much searching) and believe this to be true, was at the George and Phian Mason farm, east end of it--zig-zagged across the river to the west side of bank and then up a narrow path to the top of the hill.  Mr. Mason built a bridge of his own later, wide and safe enough for his team to cross, this remained for many years.

The school was located at "phinney's Corners", and called Finney's School, New Center Ridge and Wooster Road.  Cords of wood were piled high outside of the little red schoolhouse.  A brick school replaced the little wooden school and it too is now an old school.

When they had finished Finney's School, they were privileged if they could , to go to High School.  This was on the west side of Warren Road, about the spot of the Board of Education Building now stands.

To here these girls in pigtails, some perhaps in curls, gingham perhaps calico, with pantalettes walked from farm homes, lunch pails in hand, all the distance in snow, rain and lots of it, to Warren Road for Education.
 
 

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10:6

HIGH LEVEL BRIDGE

LAKEWOOD PRESS -- December 27, 1917 Pg. 3

Fifty Cleveland men are able to write into their biographies the fact that they rode in the first street car that crossed over the new Superior Avenue high level viaduct.

And along with this accomplishment may be written the further fact that they rode through Cleveland's first subway.

Every one in that pathfinding car, which crossed the bridge December 25, shortly before 4 p.m. realized that it might not be as important an event to America as was that voyage by Christopher Columbus some 400 odd years ago, yet as far as Cleveland is concerned the journey was an epochal one in a transportation sense.

"Wonderful", and "It's getting more and more like New York in Cleveland", were some of the ejaculations heard in the car.

Right in the middle of the bridge the car stopped and some of the more timid thought they would not get out in time to eat turkey on Christmas, but Paul Wilson, secretary to President John W. Stanley of the Cleveland Railway Company alayed all fears by passing around some expensive looking cigars and inviting all hands out to inspect the bridge station.

This is a transfer point, with a wide passage way leading down from West 25th Street for pedestrians.  It is located on the lower deck of the viaduct, which has been reserved exclusively for street cars.  Motors and horse drawn vehicles and pedestrians will have to make their way over the structure on the upper deck.

The station is just a roomy chamber on the lower level with wide platforms.  Ultimately there are to be four tracks, with a tunnel extending beneath for use of passengers.

There was only one track down when the "pathfinder" left West 25th Street in the afternoon and started east for the trip.  First the car tobogganed down the subway incline and just when the speed got fast enough to satisfy the "joy riders" the motorman put on the brakes, and the car went into the subway in low gear.

The car negotiated the curves and straight stretches of track and then, while passing over the Cuyahoga River, it came out into the light again.  It made one feel like an aviator when glancing from the window out over the river flats, with big lake boats anchored in the stream, smoke pouring up from factory chimneys and workmen scurrying about.

Then the car left the bridge and s tarted up Superior Avenue and the trip was over.

There was a conductor on the car but he didn't say a word that sounded anything like "fare, please".  Every one concluded that President John J. Stanley of the company, despite deficits in funds, gave the trip in the special car as a Christmas present.  Mayor Davis and Street Railroad Commissioner Sanders were along, so they must have authorized the expense.

Among others on the trip were Peter Witt, County Engineer Stinchomb, builder of the bridge; Clarence Neal, city finance director; Daniel Boone, and these officers of the company:

George L. Radcliffe, general manager; Frank A. Emerson, Sales agent; Charles H. Clark, superintendent of construction; Maj. Joseph H. Alexander, assistant to President Stanley, and A.E. Duty, general superintendent.

The lone track on the new viaduct will be used for eastbound traffic only, by West 25th Street and Bridge Avenue cars.  These started over the new route at midnight.  Hereafter West 25th Street cars may be found on the southwest corner of Public Square, instead of the northwest part of the Square.  These cars will follow their present routes on the westbound trip.

Another track for westbound cars will be laid over the viaduct next.  Then two other sets of rails are to be laid.
 
 

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10:7

HILLIARD BRIDGE

E.G. LINDSTROM'S UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL

The new Madison-Hill span across Rocky River was formally dedicated to and accepted by Cuyahoga county, through its various officials, at one of the largest and most impressive gatherings of many years, Wednesday night, June 23, 1926.

After several thunder showers which threatened to spoil the program which had been planned with great care, the weather suddenly cleared up in time to permit the imposing parade, pageant of progress, to advance from West 25th Street west to the new bridge.

A string of floats and automobiles representing nearly every business and industry in the city, and decorated with flowers, bunting, and crepe paper formed a procession which required nearly a half hour to pass a given point.

The proposed new Lorain-Carnegie bridge slogans were flaunted on every car in the procession, and the occasion divided honors between the new bridge and the prospect of the still newer one.

Units of the parade were escorted by police from Cleveland, Lakewood, Rocky River, Dover, and Bay Village, and as the procession approached the bridge a salute of twenty-one guns was fired by Battery B, stationed under the span.  An aeroplane maneuvered over the heads of the crowd during the exercises.

Music by the Cleveland City Band was interspersed with the program of speeches.  A micrometer-amplifier arrangement made it possible for both speeches and music to be heard by those on the far edge of the exercises.

As it grew dark, two great movie studio lamps, each capable of illuminating a square mile, were turned on, and red fires were set along the sides of the bridge rail.

Jerry Zmunt (!), president of the County Commissioners, was the first speaker introduced.  In a fewwell-chosen words, he formally presented the bridge to Cuyahoga County, with wishes for its good uses and the peace and happiness of all communities connected with it.

The second speaker was A.M. Felgate, the bridge engineer, who told of the history of the span's making, from the time when it existed only in the imagination of the engineers.

"25,000 yards of concrete, 20,000 tons of sand, and a million and a half pounds of steel went into the construction of the bridge," stated the engineer.

City manager W.R. Hopkins of Cleveland then congratulated the people of the county on the public spirit which was manifested in the bond issue voted for construction of the bridge, and spoke of the great Lorain-Carnegie project next in order.

Mayor John D. Marshall endorsed manager Hopkins' remarks and spoke especially of Cleveland's interest in the new span.  He then urged everyone to vote for the city plan amendment to enable improvement to be done.

"Proud and happy to assist, in behalf of Lakewood in the dedication of the structure" was what Mayor Wiegand had to say.  He also promised Lakewood's interest and assistance in the new bridge.

Mayor Gordon of Rocky River followed with the same sentiments on behalf of Rocky River.

Harry Farnsworth, president of the Metropolitan Park Board, Fred Caley, secretary of the Cleveland Automobile Club, Henry G. Schaefer, general chairman of the celebration, and John G. Fischer, another county commissioner, were called on for speeches, as was G.A. Harris commissioner, who refused to speak, thereby winning a round of applause for his reticence.

The display of fireworks, under the direction of Hugh L. Beauvis, was spectacular and easily seen by everyone.  One of the set pieces was an illumination showing the Hilliard Bridge, with an American flag at either end.  The piece was over 100 feet long.

After the fireworks, which were held at the west end of the bridge on a hill, there was carnival and dancing on the pavement at the east end of the bridge.
 
 

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10:8

HILLIARD BRIDGE

E.G. LINDSTROM'S UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL

Lakewood, the City of Homes, will annex thousands of acres of beautiful property for the use of its people when the new Hilliard Bridge opens sometime in the early winter of 1925.

Lakewood is fast building  up to the limit of its building sites, and it is no longer an easy task for those who would locate in our beautiful city to find a desirable building site.

So popular has Lakewood become as a residential suburb of Cleveland since the completion of the High Level Bridge that people living in other parts of the Greater City are constantly searching Lakewood for either homes or home-sites and paying their owners handsome profits.

That is indeed an enviable position for any city to reach and it has placed real estate on the list of most dependable securities which brings every buyer clean profit.

In statistics on past growth of Cleveland and its suburbs for several decades and a forecast of the future development up to 1940, the Ohio Bell Telephone Company, shows how Lakewood will be a city of over 80,000 inhabitants within the next sixteen years.

With most of the available territory within the limits of city now covered with single, double or four-family houses, the future growth will be largely through the building of apartments.  No doubt, within the next 16 years we will witness the passing of many fine old residences and the erection in their places of multiple suite apartment houses.

Up to the opening of the high level bridge to traffic about seven years ago, the west side of Cleveland and all of Lakewood had nothing to boast of in the way of active home building and the profitable resale of property.  Things were pretty slow and it was difficult for west side real estate operators to convince people that Lakewood had a real future as a residential suburb.  The public generally cannot or does not visualize the future.

When the High Level Bridge was in the course of construction it was like "the handwriting on the wall" to even the more conservative real estate operators that Lakewood was destined for a great boom as soon as this bridge opened for traffic.  A small percentage of buyers with ability for looking ahead, saw what was coming and they began buying up real estate in Lakewood.

In a sense, Lakewood was isolated from the Greater City.  The old draw bridge afforded passage over the Cuyahoga River, but it was both very inconvenient and dangerous.

In these days of fast motor travel, when people get ready to go somewhere they don't want to wait on a slow passing boat before the bridge can be swung into place.  For that reason land values were very low, all through the West Side of Cleveland, and Lakewood.  Farm land suitable for allotment purposes could be purchased at around a thousand dollars an acre, which made possible very cheap lots.

Sewer pipe, paving materials, labor costs, etc,  were then very low, which along with low acreage cost, made possible improved building lots in Lakewood at $500 to $1000 on good streets.

When the High Level Bridge was completed and a direct route opened to Lakewood giving the west side a boulevard almost to the Public Square in Cleveland, the boom gripped Lakewood.  The one and only objection to the West Side and especially being removed, it seemed that everyone wanted to move to Lakewood.

Lot values in Lakewood began to jump vigorously and they have kept on jumping until now, in less than 8 years, lots in Lakewood that were a drug on the market before the High Level Bridge at $500 and $1000 are bringing $3500 to $5000.

To those people who have often regretted that they didn't get in on the Lakewood Boom after the coming of the High Level Bridge, will have another opportunity.

Rocky River is in the same condition as Lakewood and West Cleveland were in before the advent of the High Level Bridge.  Bridge facilities at the present time are very inadequate and congestion is so that many will not attempt to drive west into Rocky River.  Rocky River Village has splendid High and Grade Schools, stores, places of worship, electricity, gas, etc., all available for the use of its people--yet the inadequate bridge facilities have throttled its growth.

In 1926, the New Hilliard Bridge will be completed and thrown open to traffic.  This 80 foot bridge and the 80 foot Hilliard Boulevard extension, which runs straight west to Detroit Road, will connect Lakewood and Rocky River and will open up that beautiful property along Wooster Road and on Westward for home building.

While changing economic conditions in the past few years have greatly advanced farm and land values, yet today in Rocky River before the completion the New Hilliard Bridge, fine homes-sites are available at comparatively (!) low prices and opportunity is again knocking at the doors of those who have funds to invest.

When the New Hilliard Bridge opens, Rocky River land values will quickly go to the present value of Lakewood property and those who are wise enough to get in now will be the winners.

While this special edition is devoted to Lakewood and its interest yet we are glad to point out to Lakewood people what we believe to be another opportunity.  The parallel between Lakewood and the High Level Bridge, and Rocky River and the New Hilliard Bridge is so very apparent that our readers should only need a hint to arouse them to the investment possibilities ahead on our Sister Village, Rocky River.
 
 

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10:9

ROCKY RIVER BRIDGE

STORY OF LAKEWOOD BY E.G. LINDSTROM

The present high level concrete span across Rocky River replaced in 1909 a rickety old iron bridge built at about the same spot and level.

Walter D. Coulter, whose drug store and restaurant at the east approach of the present bridge is one of the oldest and best known in Lakewood, recalls the racket made by farmers driving their wagons over the planks of the old structure - especially at night.  The heavy farm wagons with their iron-rimmed wheels could be heard for blocks around.

Mr. Coulter and his brother, Edward, has established a confectionary and lunch near the entrance to the old bridge in 1907.  When the present one was built two years later they were forced to move across ths street to make way for it.  Incidentally, the abuttments of the old span were not removed until the spring of 1936 when PWA (Public Works Administration) got busy.

On March 2, 1936, the Coulters' business was interrupted for a second time by an explosion.  Gas, seeping into the basement from a leaky main, was touched off by sparks from an elect ric motor, it was thought.  The place was remodled and opened about the time this book was published (May, 1936).
 
 

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10:10

PUSH NEW BRIDGE FOR ROCKY RIVER SPONSORS OF HIGHWAY SEE PLAN START ON 25-MILE BOULEVARD

By Warde H. Greene

Sponsors of a new lake front highway to connect Lake Avenue at Webb Road in Lakewood, with West Lake Avenue beyond Avalon Road in Rocky River, by means of a new bridge across the river to relieve traffic congestion on the Ricky River Bridge at Detroit Road, assert the project would be a "magnificent start" toward the proposed 25-mile lake front boulevard extending the length of the county.

Whether to follow a plan proposed by Dr. J. Gordon McKay head of the Cleveland Highway Research Bureau, to build the highway at the foot of the cliff on the present beach or to construct it on made land farther out and include parks and a small boat harbor in the scheme has not been definitely determined.

The plant to put the 100-foot boulevard on made land as the center of a development which engineers say will have a total value of more than $12,000,000 against a cost of $2,000,000 when completed, has been worked out by John R. Cloyd, who is a resident of Lakewood and engineer for five villages in the western part of the county.

AWAIT SURVEY

Officials of Lakewood and Rocky River, the suburbs most closely affected, look kindly on Cloyd's proposal, and county commissioners are only waiting for some definite word from committees studying the scheme to take action.

Included in the Rocky River lake front highway project is a small boat harbor just off the boulevard, for pleasure boating and other spots, similar to the proposed lake front lagoon off Edgewater Park, which is being sponsored by a number of yachting clubs and other organizations.

It is said the lake front location for the super-boulevard, in addition to relieving traffic congestion, would provide a more direct route, reducing travel distance a half a mile.

Dr. McKay, in pointing out the necessity for a new lake front highway north of all existing routes in that section, emphasized that the Rocky River Bridge was overloaded during peak traffic periods and that much of the traffic was during indirect route.

In 1927 more than 20,000 vehicles crossed the Rocky River Bridge daily and more than 28,000 on Sunday, according to Dr. McKay.  Of the western approaches to the bridges, West Lake Road carries in excess of 9,200 vehicles daily and 17,800 Sunday; Detroit Road carries 7,900 daily and 8,300 Sunday, and Wooster Road carries 4,900 daily and more than 6,000 Sunday.  Traffic is increasing approximately 7 per cent a year.

The average traffic over Rocky River Bridge from 1928 to 1930, inclusive was 30,000 vehicles.

Additional arguments advanced by Dr. McKay and others favoring the lake front location are that it will "eliminating routing a heavy traffic arterial through the Clifton Park section, with its potential decrease in property values resulting from such heavy streams of traffic"; that "shore property affected will be benefitted by preserving it against further erosion"; that "it creates accessibility to the lake and park areas from shore property now not accessible," and that "new park can be created for public use that is not now available by any other reasonable method."

In discussing needed highway improvements in the western section of the county the federal report on highways needs for the Cleveland regional area said in 1927:

"The most important new east-west route in this section is designed to relieve congestion on Rocky River by the development of a new crossing of the river at the lake front.  "This route will form a connection from Lake Avenue, near Webb Road in Lakewood, to Avalon Drive, near Wager Road in Rocky River Village."

Had the proposed crossing of Rocky River, planned as a 40-foot roadway, been completed in 1927, it would have carried a minimum of 5,000 vehicles daily, the report said.

Either the less expensive plan proposed by Dr. McKay or the more elaborate one backed by Cloyd will give the traffic relief which highway experts believe is needed for this section of the county, according to Cloyd.
 
 

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10:11

COUNCIL ACTS ON LAKE FRONT HIGHWAY PLAN

LAKEWOOD WILL JOIN WITH ROCKY RIVER IN PLANNING AND PROMOTING LOW-LEVEL BOULEVARD AND BRIDGE; MAYOR AND GOLDENBOGEN APPOINT COMMITTEE MEMBERS

By JOHN S. PYKE

The Lakewood council Monday evening of this week took action to join with Rocky River in promoting the low-level lake front boulevard and a bridge across the mouth of Rocky River.

Six members of a Lakewood committee have been named to sit with the work with the Rocky River citizens' committee in a study of the problem.  This committee will propose a course of action to assure the most immediate action on the project.

Cleaveland R. Cross, member of the local board of education ; W.A. Greenlund, former lieutenant governor of Ohio, and Henry Spuhler were named by Mayor E.A. Wiegand to serve on the body.

George E. Bickford, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce; Ray Lundy, chairman of the Chamber's committee on transportation, and Walter Schmitt were appointed by Council President Ellen M. Goldenbogen.

The four members of the council will appoint three members apiece.

The proposed roadway would be a wide boulevard at the base of the cliff and would begin at Webb road in Lakewood and extend the entire lake front to Stop 9 in Rocky River, with a low-level bridge across the mouth of the river.

This new route would shorten travel westward about a mile and would eliminate the bottle-neck which slows up traffic on the Rocky River bridge.

The proposed development was originally sponsored by John R. Cloyd, a resident of Rocky River.  It has been approved and commended by Dr. J. Gordon McKay in the federal road survey of the county.

The council also awarded the contract for the paving of Edgewater drive from Homewood to Parkside avenues, giving the work to the Cleveland Trinidad Paving Company, which was by far the lowest bidder on the job.

The council approved the extension of the city's gas franchise with the East Ohio Gas Company until April 30, 1930, at the present rate, pending a decision in the battle Cleveland is waging over gas prices.
 
 

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