Monday, August 17, 2015

North Main St. Bridge

Jan. 29, 2014

The North Main St. Bridge doesn't get the attention given to some of the other bridges.  It's important though.  It's the oldest of the downtown bridges. It survived the Flood of 1914, which wiped out 35 other local bridges, destroyed a famous pigeon farm, and forced the labor activists to leave the river side, where they had been staying.

This is how the Library of Congress describes its significance:
"Main Street Bridge is significant as the first open-spandrel three-hinge concrete arch bridge to be built in the western United States. It is associated with the pioneer engineers who began the reinforced concrete arch bridge building program in Los Angeles: Homer Hamlin and H.G. Parker. It is also eligible for the National Register as one of a group of twelve City Beautiful bridges over the Los Angeles River important in the settlement and transportation history of Los Angeles."

Here is the picture from their file:

It was the first triple-hinged reinforced-concrete arched bridge built in the western United State, and inspired the later bridges we know and love.

The bridge was designed by Henry G. Parker and completed in 1910.  It replaced an earlier bridge called the East Main St. Bridge, which itself replaced the old Kuhrts St. Bridge.  Contracts were signed in Dec. 1908.  The Los angeles Railway, whose trolley crossed the bridge, agreed to pay $20,000  of the $81,889  expected cost.  Demolition of the old bridge began in Mar. 1909.  By November the Times reported that construction was zipping along, but no opening ceremony was reported.

Henry G. Parker did not live to see his bridge complete.  He died in Aug. 1909.  He had been in charge of bridges for the Bureau of Engineering for the 5 years previous, but bridges were not his only responsibility.  He was supervising repairs on one of the floodgates at the outfall sewer south of Playa del Rey when he fell into a manhole and drowned in sewage.  He was only 40 years old, and left a widow and two children.  He is buried at  Rosedale Cemetery.  There is a commemorative plaque on the First Street Viaduct.  Thomas Curran of the L.A.Times visited it in 2013 and wrote this.
Jul. 29, 2009

The North Main Street Bridge takes you over the L.A. River from Dogtown or North Industrial District to Lincoln Heights.  Further up North Main are the much advertised San Antonio Winery and the Brewery Art Colony.  

I took this picture in 2007 before the graffiti were painted out.

In 1989, it was one of almost 200 bridges that city and county officials wanted to repair.  It was scheduled to be done in 1991.

Aug. 3, 2013

 It took a longer time and more money to bring it up to current standards-3years and 8 million dollars.
 The renovation included “jacketing” the existing arch ribs in new concrete and replacing the roadway and sidewalks. Replicas of the original railings and light standards were constructed, and the bridge looks better than it has in years. A grand opening ceremony was held July 29, 2015, but unfortunately, I missed it.  I only knew the work was done when I drove over the bridge. Steve P. Rados Inc. did the work, and posted a few pictures of it.

The new light standards and railings are looking good. 

The other downtown bridges go over the railroad tracks.  That's why they are not just bridges, but viaducts. Here, automobiles have to wait for trains.  Metro Link parallels the river on the southwest side while freight trains run along the northeast side. 

It is beautiful at night, with a view of downtown L.A. on the Southwest side.

In the other direction, you see the Spring St. Bridge.

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