U.P. bridge added to historical registry

MARQUETTE – A Dickinson County structure has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Upper Twin Falls Bridge, which spans the Menominee River and joins Breitung Township to Florence County, Wis., was added recently to the federal government’s list of sites or objects deemed worthy of preservation.

According to the Iron Mountain Daily News, the bridge was built in response to Peninsula Power Company’s plans to build the Twin Falls Power Dam, which made it necessary to replace the existing bridge crossing the Menominee River.

The 101-year-old bridge spans the Menominee River and served horse wagon, buggy and auto traffic to and from Florence, Spread Eagle and Iron Mountain. According to the state, the bridge is Michigan’s last remaining camelback metal through truss highway bridge.

It closed to all truck and auto use in September 1971.

Jim Harris, the superintendent of operations with the Dickinson County Road Commission, said his organization hopes the designation will open up additional funding possibilities for bridge preservation.

“It’s a very well-known historical place. The bridge has spanned that river for some time,” he said. “We’re hoping this opens up some funding mechanisms not only on the Michigan side, but on the Wisconsin side, as well.”

The bridge connects Dickinson County Road 607 to a park in Wisconsin, and Harris said the road commission would like to see the bridge utilized as a component of a walking path or ORV trail.

“We don’t anticipate ever opening the bridge back up to vehicular traffic,” he said.

In addition to the Upper Twin Falls Bridge, the State Historic Preservation Office recently announced that the Hanover High School Complex in Jackson County and the Grand Rapids Storage and Van Co. in Kent County were added to the list.

Historic districts new to the list include the Williamston Downtown Historic District in Ingham County, the Drake, Benjamin and Maria (Ogden) Farm in Kalamazoo County’s Oshtemo Township and the Boyne City Central Historic District in Charlevoix County.

The Center Avenue Neighborhood Historic District in Bay City also has been expanded.

Additionally, the state said the Grand Circus Park Historic District designation in Detroit was updated to take note of buildings built or renovated after 1930 and until 1962. This change will make federal rehabilitation tax credits more widely available in the area.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.