Murray D. Van Wagoner Bridge
M-156 intersected at Silver Creek, Morenci - Lenawee County
Property Type bridge
Historic Use TRANSPORTATION/road-related (vehicular)
Current Use TRANSPORTATION/road-related (vehicular)
Architect/Builder State Highway Department
W. H. Knapp Company
Narrative Description Main span number: 1 Main span length: 45 Structure length: 45 Roadway width: 41.4 Structure width: 33 Lying just south of the central district of Morenci, this bridge is skewed 30 degrees to follow the curve of the two-lane highway as it approaches the Ohio border immediately south of the crossing. The bridge's substructure consists of concrete abutments and decorative stepped wingwalls. These wingwalls are flared at the northeast and southwest corners, and U-form on the northwest and southeast. The roadway over the bridge is edged by railings formed from ornamental metal lattice sections fixed between concrete posts accented by recessed panels. Flexible-metal approach rails are bolted to inner face of each end post. Concrete sidewalks run along each side of the structure.
Statement of Significance The city of Morenci, which was platted in 1852 and incorporated as a village in 1871, served the county early on as an important industrial and grain mill center. The present bridge over Silver Creek was constructed in 1935 at a cost of $35,700 by the W.H. Knapp Company, a contractor based in Monroe. The bridge replaced an older 40 foot Pratt pony truss at the site that was in very poor condition. Funding for new construction came from the Hayden-Cartwright program, a nation federal relief effort. As a part of a larger statewide development of the Taft Memorial Highway system, the bridge project represented a cooperative venture by the state highway department and the Taft Memorial Highway Association. The association has been established in 1930 to honor the nation's twenty-seventh president by creating a memorial highway extending from Florida to Michigan. Attended by more than 5,000 people, the bridge's dedication ceremony on July 31 featured a main address by the state highway commissioner, Murray D. vAn Wagoner, after whom the city council had named the structure. Other notable guests included the president of the Taft Memorial Highway Association, the mayor of Morenci, a state senator, the head of the state highway department's bridge division, and the department's district engineer. The bridge was christened in honor of Murray D. Van Wagoner, who headed the state highway department from 1933 until 1940, when he was elected governor. For its association with a memorial highway and the related tourism industry, and as a named bridge at a state border, this bridge is eligible for the National Register under Criterion A.
Period of Significance 1935-1947
Significant Date(s) 1935
Registry Type(s) 01/27/2000 National Register listed
03/13/2003 State Register listed
Site ID# P22328