Central Viaduct 1895 - W. 14th / Jennings Rd

Submitted by RAG on Thu, 12/17/2009 - 10:12.


Central Viaduct 1895 (W.14th-Jennings Rd) photo:cleveland memory or CPL

RAG - Resident Advocacy Group
Historic Cleveland Photographs

The CENTRAL VIADUCT, built between 1887-88, was a high-level bridge that linked the east and west sides of Cleveland. It stood where the Innerbelt Bridge (I-90) is now located. In Mar. 1879 Councilman Jas. M. Curtiss introduced a resolution asking that the city engineer undertake to determine the best site for a bridge linking downtown with neighborhoods southwest of Cleveland across the CUYAHOGA RIVER.

The Central Viaduct spans the Cuyahoga River, ca. 1910. WRHS.

The resolution met with some opposition and was not passed until 1883. The council authorized an expenditure of $1 million, and ground was finally broken in May 1887. The city engineer's office furnished the design and construction specifications, and the KING IRON BRIDGE & MANUFACTURING CO. was contracted to do most of the construction. Opened on 2 Dec. 1888, the Central Viaduct consisted of 2 bridges. The first structure, known as the Central Viaduct, was 2,839' long and extended from Jennings Ave. (W. 14th) to Central Ave. (Carnegie). Known as a "stilt" type, the bridge consisted of a series of braced towers and deck spans of varying lengths. Originally it had a swing section over the river to allow taller ships to pass, which was replaced in 1912 with an overhead truss. The roadway was approx. 100' above the river. On the night of 16 Nov. 1895, a safety switch failed while the draw was open, causing a streetcar to plunge into the river; 17 people were killed. Closed as unsafe in 1941, the main bridge was razed for scrap iron during World War II. The second bridge, known as the Walworth Run section, was 1,088' long and connected Abbey Ave. to Lorain Ave. at W. 25th. It continued in use until 1986, when a new Abbey Ave. bridge was begun to replace it.

The viaduct connected W. 14th to downtown. Story from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. http://ech.cwru.edu/ech-cgi/article.pl?id=CV

To be demolished

The greatest tragedy of the political and foolish planning by our regional leadership for the rebuilding of the Innerbelt Bridge is the acceptance that the Central Viaduct and historic buildings there are expendable, and that the bridge should demolish this site. It is not necessary and is a cursed position sure to haunt those involved.

Our regional planners are incompetent.

Disrupt IT