Fifty-Seventh Street Bridge, photos dated 1997
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Fifty-Seventh Street Bridge
Fifty-Seventh Street over the Kalamazoo River, New Richmond - Allegan County
Other Names New Richmond Bridge
Property Type bridge
Historic Use TRANSPORTATION/road-related (vehicular)
Style Other
Architect/Builder Milwaukee Bridge and Iron Company
Narrative Description The New Richmond Bridge is a 422 foot long highway bridge spanning the Kalamazoo River on 57th Street near the village of New Richmond. The structure is comprised of four primary spans, each a Warren truss of wrought iron, with a wood-planked deck. The primary spans include an eighty-nine-foot long Warren pony truss equal-arm swing span, a Warren pony truss span seventy feet long on either side of the swing span -- all three spans constructed with pinned connections -- and a fifty foot nine inches long riveted Warren pony truss to the north of the more northerly seventy-foot pony truss span. The structure has a minimum roadway width of twelve feet ten inches. The New Richmond Bridge's three pinned Warren truss spans date from 1879, the riveted Warren span from 1899. The bridge spans the Kalamazoo River at a broad loop where its course turns from northwest to southwest on its way toward Lake Michigan a few miles to the west. The mostly wooded site is a bucolic one, with the small hamlet of New Richmond a short distance on the low ground to the south and hills rising steeply just to the north. A plate girder railroad bridge spans the river at a shallow angle to the New Richmond Bridge a short distance west.
Statement of Significance With its three 1879 spans fabricated by the Milwaukee Bridge and Iron Company, the New Richmond Bridge is one of Michigan's oldest metal truss highway bridges and the largest by far in overall length of Michigan's pony truss highway bridges. The bridge's chief importance, however, is that it is one of the oldest -- if not the oldest -- surviving highway swing bridges in the United States. The erection of the bridge generated considerable local controversy, as residents opposed to the high cost of an iron structure attempted to halt construction by dislodging piles. The bridge is now being rehabilitated through public funding and private subscription. It was inventoried by the Historic American Engineering Record in 1975, and was described as "an excellent example of late nineteenth-century bridge construction."
Period of Significance 1879-1899
Significant Date(s) 1879-1899
Registry Type(s) 04/01/1998 National Register listed
04/04/1978 State Register listed
Site ID# P22481