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Bridge Issues Discussed At City Commission Meeting. (1890)
The South Center Street and Twenty-third Street Bridges.
  • Contributed by Alan Flood. (August 2005)
  • Bay City Daily Tribune - Saturday, April 19, 1890 (Page 6.)

    And Cut the Rope to Facility
    His Progress.
    Bridge Commission Will Now
    Prosecute Him.

    The bridge commission held a special meeting yesterday. After reading and approving the minutes of the old commission John McKinnon, the newly-elected member, took his seat, and the new commission then reorganized by electing John Welch chairman and C. L. Collins clerk. Commissioner Turner reported that Chairman Welch, Engineer Brawner and himself had made a personal examination of the South Center street bridge, had found the contract completed and recommended the acceptance of the bridge. On motion the bridge was accepted.

    Commissioner McEwan reported that Twenty-third street bridge was being swung from three to six times a day. He thought there might be another horror like that which occurred at Saginaw up there some day. If a team should get upon each end of the bridge he believed the swing would break in two. The ends were depressed from four to six inches every time the draw was swung.

    Commissioner Collins thought that the commissioner had ordered the bridge closed.

    Commissioner Turner replied that the man in charge had been swinging it with the belief that there was no particular danger.

    Commissioner McKinnon was asked to make a personal examination of the three bridges and readily consented.

    The commission desired to have the benefit of his practical knowledge of mechanical construction.

    Chairman Welch stated that as he came over the Third street bridge yesterday he was told by the bridge tender that when the draw was swung around into place after allowing a vessel to pass through some one had cut the ropes placed across the bridge for the safety of the public in order to save a little time and get across quicker.

    Mr. Welch explained that it was necessary to place blocks under the ends of the swing before people were allowed to cross, and that unless this were done damage might be done to the draw span. He was informed that the man who had done the cutting was Fred Neumann, of West Bay City, and he thought an example should be made of him. If the commission permitted one man to do such a thing others would be sure to do it.

    On motion a resolution was adopted asking the prosecuting attorney to bring criminal charges against Neumann for cutting the rope.

    During the discussion on this point Commissioner Turner remarked jokingly:

    "I don't know but that we should bring criminal proceedings against Mayor Watrous for interfering with our street car lines."

    Commissioner Collins -- "The cases are entirely different."

    Commissioner Turner -- "I don't see any difference between cutting that rope and the cutting of those wires except that Neumann is the keeper of a grocery store and Watrous is mayor of Bay City."

    The bridge engineer was instructed, in view of the impending controversy with Sage, to make a survey of the west side approach, and was authorized to employ such help as was necessary. The Industrial works was allowed $2,000 on the contract for the swinging machinery. The total amount of this contract is $4,375. Two bids for the swinging of Third street bridge were received but were not opened and the commission will re-advertise for proposals.

    The balance due on the South Center street bridge contract with the Milwaukee Bridge and Iron works was ordered paid in orders payable in three years after this date. The amount of the balance is $2,437.76. The total amount of the contract is $14,850.

    The commission then adjourned to April 21, at 4p.m., when A. C. Maxwell will be heard on the Barclay claim against the commission.

    Related Pages & Notes
    (Click image to enlarge.)

    South Center St. Bridge

    Twenty-third St. Bridge

    Twenty-Third Street is now Lafayette Avenue and South Center Street is now Cass Avenue. Both had more than one bridge structure that spanned the river.

    Reference to Sage, is Henry W. Sage, who owned a large sawmill south of Midland street approach to the Third street bridge. Sage founded the village of Wenona, which later became a part of West Bay City.
    People Referenced
    Collins, C.L.
    Maxwell, A.C.
    McKinnon, John
    Neumann, Fred
    Watrous, mayor
    Welch, John
    Subjects Referenced
    Industrial Works
    Milwaukee Bridge & Iron Works
    South Center street bridge
    Third street bridge
    Twenty-third street bridge
    West Bay City
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.