Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, September 20, 1998, pg. 18
Perhaps you’ve noticed the new sidewalk that has been laid on the S. Superior St. bridge by Riverside Cemetery recently by the Michigan Department of Transportation. This particular bridge is near Riverside Cemetery, and replaced the steel arch so-called "Cemetery Bridge" that had been erected following the great Flood of 1908. Our current bridge is sixty years old this month.
It was erected in 1938 at a cost of $45,000. If you look on the southeast corner, you will see a plaque which reads, "MICHIGAN STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT, MURRAY D. VAN WAGONER STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER B2 OF 13-1-23 BUILT BY STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT FRANK & STIEHL CONTRACTOR, 1938." This bridge still bears its original railings, although the street lights which once were placed on each corner are now gone.
The bridge was dedicated on Thursday, September 15 as part of Albion’s "first annual" "Harvest Festival" whichw as held that day, sponsored by the Association of Commerce. The bridge was erected to handle traffic on the newly rerouted M-9 state highway (now M-99). That road formerly had traveled to Homer via Irwin Avenue and a curvy country road (now commonly called "the back way to Homer") through Babcock and southwards. This road featured an old dangerous steel arch bridge just before Homer that hampered safe traffic. That partricular bridge remained until the 1960s. The new route joined M-60 east of Homer.
The Harvest Festival featured displays by 4-H clubs, such as canned goods, produce, etc. as would be found at a county fair. There were also several softball contests that day in Victory Park with area teams participating, and concerts by the Albion High School and Albion City bands. Other events included horseshoe pitching, prize drawings, and a Vaudeville program by a Southern Michigan Prison troupe.
The main speaker for the bridge dedication was Highway Commissioner Van Wagoner. Also at the event was Albion Mayor Norman H. Wiener. This week from our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of the old steel-arch bridge that stood over the Millpond until 1938. In the distance is Riverside Cemetery.
Make plans now to attend my annual guided tour of Riverside Cemetery on Sunday, October 11 at 1:30 p.m. We’ll meet at the cemetery office and will walk through the area south of the office, including the "gully" area. More information later, but mark your calendars now.
The Old Steel-Arch Cemetery Bridge
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic