Iron Bridges of Shiawassee County


Corunna's old iron bridge in early 1900's (replaced by two succeeding bridges)

Martin Rd. Bridge

Caledonia Township

In 1880, a flood washed away a wooden bridge at this site and by 1885, a new iron bridge was built at a cost of $1,800. It was built by the Mount Vernon Bridge Co. of Mount Vernon, Ohio and is one of only a few surviving in the U.S. It is 119 feet long and 15 feet wide, having a wooden floor and stone abutments.

The bridge is a single-span, pin-connected, Pratt through truss structure, displaying nine panels. The three-by-eight-inch wooden planks forming the deck are supported by six rows of six-inch I-beams and two rows of six-inch channels carried on sixteen-inch built-up metal floor beams. Rubble fieldstone abutments support the bridge. The structure is currently closed to highway traffic.

The Martin Road Bridge is one of the oldest metal through truss highway bridges in Michigan. The state's oldest surviving examples date from 1876 and fewer than a dozen such structures built prior to 1890 remain in the entire state.

The bridge is an excellent and a rare example of late nineteenth-century bridge building. It was listed on the National Register in 1991 and the State Register of Historic Sites in 1990.

Vernon, Michigan Bridge

Replaced circa 2000

Parshallburg Bridge

Located originally on the Shiawassee River at Ditch Rd. NOW DOWNTOWN CHESANING, MICHIGAN.

Picture taken 8-8-99 during the move to Chesaning.

The Parshallburg or Ditch Road Bridge is a single-span, Thacher metal through truss bridge. Engineers who have evaluated the structure's condition believe the metal is wrought and cast iron because of the structure's relatively good overall condition. The eight-panel structure has a length of 140 feet and an overall deck width of 17.8 feet. The bridge stands on extensive abutments of rubble fieldstone.

Each portal displays a cast-iron plaque containing the legend "WROUGHT IRON BRIDGE CO., BUILDERS, CANTON, OHIO."

It is the only Thacher truss highway bridge in Michigan and the older of only two known surviving examples of this truss type in the United States.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

West Haven or Six Mile Creek Bridge

Located in New Haven Twp., this bridge was built in 1896 and is the only known surviving example of metal truss bridges built in Michigan by the Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio, one of many medium-sized truss bridge companies located in the midwest in the nineteenth century. It is notable for its distinctive portal and top lateral bracing.

Bridge over the Maple River just 1 mile west of downtown Elsie, Michigan.

Washington St. Bridge at Owosso

It is believed that the first bridge to span the Shiawassee River was a covered wooden bridge built in about 1839 on Washington St. at the river. (301 S. Washington St.) It cost $250.00.

In about 1859, an iron bridge (below) was erected to replace the old covered wooden bridge.

Bridge Moving Day at Owosso

Circa 1894

The old Washington St. iron bridge was moved north on Washington St. This picture was taken at Main and Washington St. It was used again to bridge the Shiawassee River at Oliver St.

They appear to have waited until winter and used logs to roll it down the street. What a sight that must have been.

Below, looking north at the new Washington St. bridge circa 1894 in Owosso. This steel truss bridge included street car tracks. In June of 1972, a new steel beam bridge with a concrete deck was opened at a price of $441,000.00. This bridge was replaced again by the 1990's.

Oliver St. Bridge - Owosso

In 1894, the old Washington St. Bridge was moved to span the river at Oliver St.

In 1952, a new bridge was built at Oliver St. Below are pics of the dismantling of the old iron bridge and the new bridge. Photos by David Vaughn.

The 1952 bridge above was replaced in 2008.

Shiawassee St. Bridge - Owosso

An 1889 steel bridge was built over the river on Mulberry St. - now called Shiawassee St.

At 132 feet long is was given a new deck in 1964. In 1968, it was estimated that 16,000 cars per passed over it. This bridge was replaced in 1969.

Oakwood Ave. Bridge - Owosso

Used as a footbridge today, this could have originally been located at Main St. Built in 1876, it is probably the oldest of only three double-intersection Pratt (Whipple) trusses in Michigan. The wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio, the builder, was one of the most prolific metal truss bridge companies of the midwest during the nineteenth century, with numerous Michigan bridges to its credit. Along with another bridge of the same age, this is the oldest surviving example in Michigan of the work of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company.

In 1975, Owosso voters decided to build a new bridge on Gould St. to replace the old Oakwood Ave. bridge and so instead of tearing it down, they left it for future generations to use as a foot bridge.

More Iron Railroad Bridges

Shiawassee County History