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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

HOPE MEMORIAL BRIDGE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The HOPE MEMORIAL BRIDGE, originally the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, opened in 1932. The second of the major high-level spans that cross the CUYAHOGA RIVER in downtown Cleveland, it was preceded by the DETROIT-SUPERIOR BRIDGE in 1918. Citizens presented CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL with a petition requesting construction of a viaduct from Lorain to Huron Road in 1902. A high-level crossing linking Lorain and Central avenues had been envisioned as early as 1911.

Stone carvers pose on a pylon of the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, later renamed the Hope Memorial Bridge, ca. 1931. WRHS.

In 1925 a special committee of the City Plan Commission recommended that a Central-Lorain Bridge should be built immediately, and an $8 million bond issue was approved in 1927. The realignment of the streets resulted in the connection of Lorain with Carnegie instead of Central. The new steel-and-concrete structure, nearly a mile long, consisted of 13 cantilever truss spans varying in length from 299' over the river to 132' at the ends. A lower deck, intended to carry 4 lanes of vehicular traffic and 2 streetcar tracks, was never completed. The bridge was designed by engineers WILBUR J. WATSON† & Associates, with FRANK WALKER† as consulting architect. One of the variations from strict engineering necessity was the curving of the lower edge of the trusses to give a more pleasing arched appearance, and the major architectural feature was the 4 massive stone pylons with 8 conventionalized figures representing Guardians of Traffic. Designed by Walker and sculpted by Henry Hering, they are transitional between a stylized classicism and the Modernistic or Art Deco style. The bridge was closed in 1980-83 for the replacement of the concrete roadway deck. Upon reopening, it was renamed the Hope Memorial Bridge, in honor of the family of entertainer Bob Hope, who were Cleveland stonemasons.

Last Modified: 01 Jun 1998 11:38:03 AM

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