Mottville in Saint Joseph County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Great Sauk Trail, which connected Detroit, Chicago and Green Bay, Wisconsin, crossed the St. Joseph River at a shallow spot in this vicinity. Responding to the westward migration of pioneers, the federal government surveyed the trail and converted it into the Chicago Road (presently U.S. 12) in 1825. The first Chicago Road bridge to cross the river near Mottville was a substantial timber structure constructed in 1833-34 by contractor Hart L. Stewart. A pile-supported bridge replaced it in 1845. In 1867, Mahlon Thompson and Joseph Miller built a covered Burr arch truss. The ruins of its stone-block abutments are visible upstream from here. This three-span camelback bridge was built in 1922. In 1990 U.S. 12 was rerouted over a new bridge. The camelback bridge is now used for foot traffic.
Constructed in 1922, this three-span, 270-foot-long bridge is the longest Michigan example of a reinforced concrete camelback bridge. These bridges are found primarily in Michigan and Ontario, Canada, and the Mottville Bridge is an excellent example of this design. It was built by contractors Smith and Nichols of Hastings under the direction of State Bridge Engineer C.A. Melick. The Michigan State Highway Department pioneered the use of standardized designs for concrete bridges. By the
Erected 1990 by Bureau of History, Michigan Department of State. (Marker Number S576A.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
Location. 41° 48.029′ N, 85° 45.443′ W. Marker is in Mottville, Michigan, in Saint Joseph County. Marker is on West Chicago Road (U.S. 12) 0.1 miles east of North River Rd, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: White Pigeon MI 49099, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Trout Creek Cemetery (approx. 4.4 miles away in Indiana); White Pigeon Fallen Soldiers Memorial (approx. 4.9 miles away); In Memory of Wahbememe (approx. 4.9 miles away); Chief Wahbememe Burial Site (approx. 4.9 miles away); Gov. John S. Barry Constantine Civil War Monument (approx. 5.4 miles away); John Stewart Barry (approx. 5.4 miles away); William Meek (approx. 5.4 miles away).
Also see . . . Mottville Bridge: The King of Michigan's Unique Concrete Camelback Bridges. HistoricBridges.org's page on the Mottville Bridge: ".... The Mottville Bridge, and indeed all of Michigan's 90 foot concrete camelback spans should be considered to have national historic significance, since these spans exceed the national average maximum length for concrete through girder bridges (either curved or straight chord) by 30 feet, since most states only built through girder bridges up to 60 feet. In addition, Michigan's 90 foot spans, including those seen on the Mottville Bridge are perhaps the most beautiful and architecturally well-designed of any concrete through girders in the country...." (Submitted on November 19, 2012.)
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts • Roads & Vehicles •
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