Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cleveland’s Sidaway Bridge

Image from Google Street View

Image from the Historic American
Engineering Record (HAER)
With all the talk about the Cleveland’s Innerbelt Bridge, I thought it was a good time to talk about a bridge in Cleveland that most don’t know about or have never seen. It’s the Sidaway Bridge , Cleveland’s only suspension-style bridge, built in 1931, at 680 feet long. The bridge was designed by Wilbur J. Watson and Associates, Consulting Engineers. It is a pedestrian footbridge, spanning a ravine known as Kingsbury Run, connecting Sidaway Avenue to Kinsman Road, near East 65th Street. (On a side note, Kingsbury Run was also the scene of the area’s infamous, gruesome, and unsolved ”Torso” murders from the 1930s, but I’ll think I’ll pass on that topic. )

The neighborhoods the bridge connected were Slavic Village and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Garden Valley estates. During the mid-sixties, at a time when racial tensions were running very high in the Cleveland area, someone set fire to the wooden deck, and some planks from the southern end of the bridge were removed.

As the wooden deck is missing, the bridge is no longer used. It is a graceful looking structure, and maybe it can stand long enough for someone to restore it and put it to good use.

Photo HAER

Here is a short video – a little shaky – that someone took of the bridge in December of 2007.

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Angry Man In The Basement said...

Too bad this bridge is not being restored. Isn't this an area not too far from the Tow path trail and Metro Parks? This place has a rather spine chilling history with the Torso Murders and all. It can actually be an attraction all these years later.

julie said...

Hey, that's my video. I think the bridge is very fragile. Though not functional it certainly deserves landmark status and perhaps some sort of pavilion on each end for visitors.

All Things Cleveland said...

Julie, it's such a shame that the bridge seems hidden from view. I think many people don't even know it is there! I agree - landmark status would be a great thing and may even bring more attention to its repair needs.

Matt Smith said...

I lived in the Cleveland area for from birth until I was 30. I love bridges and thought I knew about all of them. Great job at letting people know that this one exists.

Roger Coss said...

My wife and I visited both ends of the bridge this last Sunday, 24 Oct 10. I plan to put photos up on Flickr.
Doubt this could ever be any kind of attraction. While the Kinsman end is seeing some rebuilding right at Sidaway, both end seem to be in need of other help before an old bridge is rebuilt, as much as I appreciate old structures. It is sad to see it rust away,but Cleveland has financial problems as it is.

tjohio007 said...

Well here we are. I see those comments from 2010 and smile to myself. On the EAst end of the sideaway bridge is new homes new schools and new parks and playgrounds. Now on the other end just off of Francis and east 55 there is development in the old Hyacinth Neighborhood.

The bridge is impressive and now there will be many new homes on either side of it. Definitely this deserves a pavilion or something to check it out.