The History of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge

Just to detail how big of a history geek I am – a few weeks past I was hanging out at the Cleveland Press Special Collection (the “Special Collection”) at Cleveland State University (“CSU”). I just get a thrill looking at photographs of the “Fifth City” – good, old Cleveland, Ohio. If you have never been to the special collection you are missing out. It is an amazing collection of photos and is the basis for most of my blog postings as I use the archives and its web presence – the Cleveland Memory Project (www.clevelandmemory.org) for most of the cool photographs you get to see on my posts. The librarian of the special collection – Bill Barrow – is a great man and is keenly interested in all things Cleveland. He also has a cool blog on Cleveland History – check it out at (http://clevhist.blogspot.com).

Anyway, as I was chilling and reviewing some outstanding photos on the Great Lakes Exposition – Bill literally threw a massive tome at me. After shaking off the ungodly noise of large book hitting wood table in extremely quiet library archives – I got to reading The History of Veterans Memorial Bridge (90th Anniversary Edition) by William E. Beyer. To suggest that it is a massive tome is an understatement as the book is over 600 pages long! On one bridge!?! I mean it is a gorgeous bridge…

Photo provided courtesy of the Cleveland Press Archives.

The Veterans Memorial Bridge, or the Detroit-Superior Bridge, opened for traffic on Thanksgiving Day in 1917. It was the City’s first “high-level bridge” over the Cuyahoga River. It was designed and built to relieve the significant traffic congestion on the Superior Viaduct. The bridge, in fact, carries two decks. The top deck for car traffic and the bottom deck was built for streetcar traffic. Unfortunately, the second deck has been closed. But at one time it carried some really stunning streetcars underground – only to “pop” back-up on Superior Avenue or Detroit Avenue. The photograph below shows a streetcar heading west on Superior Avenue heading over the Cuyahoga River to Ohio City. Sweet.

Photo provided courtesy of the Cleveland Press Archives.

The History of the Veterans Memorial Bridge documents the history of the original construction of the bridge and its two major rehabilitations – the first completed in 1969 and the second which was finished in 1997. The major emphasis of the book is the incredible documentation of the history of the bridge and surrounding community with photographs. This is a detailed find! The photographs are stunning and tell an insightful tale of Cleveland’s rapid growth and slow decline. For the Cleveland history buff this is really a must have book.

Photo provided courtesy of the Cleveland Press Archives.

And for a grand total of $30 this is an inexpensive way to acquire a thoroughly researched subject with amazing photographs and document detail. Kudos to William E. Beyer for injecting his great capacity for detail into the book. This book will amaze you. Copies of The History of the Veterans Memorial Bridge can be purchased at the Cleveland State University Michael Schwartz Library. Or just contact my man – Bill Barrow at 216.687.6998 or at w.barrow@csuohio.edu.

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About Tech Czar
Former "Tech Czar" for the City of Cleveland, fascinated by the civic space, history (Cleveland & Military), entrepreneurship, social media, food and travel. My first book on Cleveland history will be published by History Press (www.historypress.net) this fall.

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