I'm now switching to the chronological order of the bridges.
This location was the site of what is believed to be the first permanent bridge over the Mississippi River. What was once the most important bridge over the Mississippi River is now the most elegant and stylish bridge to span the mighty river. The first bridge was built in 1854 and was opened on January 23, 1855. According to the state historical society, it was proclaimed as a link between the Atlantic and Pacific, and it was called the "Gateway to the West". The bridge was 620 feet long and 17 feet wide. It was a pure suspension bridge with tall wooden towers, wire suspension cables, a stone base, and cast iron anchors. [John Weeks]
Those cables would have been made with wrought iron instead of steel. I think that means that a lot of pounding of metal was done to make those cables.
|1855 Bridge Hunter, research by Jake Bronder|
|1876 Bridge Hunter, research by Jake Bronder|
6. VIEW FROM NORTHWEST - Steel Arch Bridge, Hennepin Avenue spanning west channel of Mississippi River, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN
8. CENTER PIER, SOUTHWEST SIDE
12. STEEL ARCHES, NORTH SIDE
16. CROWN HINGE CONNECTION AT ARCH CROWN
[I see the hinge in the two visible beams on the right in the middle where the beams taper to a point. But the two beams on the left have a uniform width across the center. HAER-data explains that the two halves were built by different companies and one used a three-hinge design whereas the other used a two-hinge design.]
|Street View, looking Northeast|
Note the observation platform that was built around the south side of the north tower. It is nice that city planners no longer ignore pedestrian and bike traffic like they used to. John has additional photos of a bike ramp and a stairway that connects a river trail with the bridge walkway. He also has photos of a movie set that was constructed so that the bridge depicted a border crossing between Detroit and Windsor. He also has a couple of night photos showing the lighting.
The bridge uses a beam for the deck stiffening rather than a truss. The handrails are quite elaborate for a modern bridge. (I assume they are made with metal instead of plastic.)