Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Bridges of Kent County - The Ada Bridge

Last in my series is the Ada Bridge.  It was the one that was in the best shape but it was also the hardest to get a decent pictures of.
 It was kind of cool that they had it decorated for Christmas.  It was a part of Leonard Park in Ada.  It was a pretty well maintained park.
 Construction on the Bridge began in 1867 after the state of Michigan allowed the citizens of Ada to borrow some money to build the Bridge.  It is also known as the Bradfield Bridge.
 It stands over the Thornapple River just south of where that river enters the Grand River.  It originally rested on wooden pilings.
 In 1913, repair work was carried out to replace some of the trussies.  Also, the wooden pilings were replaced by concrete.  Prior to the construction of a dam that is just upstream, the river was prone to flooding.
 In 1930, the bridge was closed to vehicle traffic after another bridge was built near it. 
 The bridge uses the same truss system as the other two I mentioned.
 In 1941, the Kent County Road Commission and Works Progress Administration made extensive repairs to the bridge.  The roof was replaced as were many of the beams.  A nearby barn was bought to provide materials for these repairs.
In 1979, the roof collapsed due to heavy snow and the bridge was restored using private donations.  Shortly after that, the bridge burnt down and with the help of Amway was rebuilt.  Had this not happened, it would have been the oldest covered bridge in Michigan (I think).

I was going to say that it is kind of surprising that Michigan doesn't have more covered bridges given all the rivers that criss cross the state.  After reading the trials and tribulations of these four bridges, I'm not surprised anymore.  I would imagine that many of these bridges fell into disrepair after they were replaced and noone really cared enough to do maintenance.

There is another bridge that is near Kalamazoo.  I had hoped to catch that one too but I started too late and I figured it would be better to get the three that are relatively near each other.  I will definately have to work my way back out that way as there are a ton of old barns in the area too.

It was pretty cool doing this because I was visiting all new places.  That was another purpose of starting this blog...the adventure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i was there once back in the 1970s . . .. had forgotten all about it.