“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ashtabula in Ashtabula County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Bascule Lift Bridge

Bascule Lift Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 13, 2019
1. Bascule Lift Bridge Marker
Inscription.  The "Bascule" Lift Brdige, a medieval term for draw bridge, works on the same counterweight system that raised and lowered drawbridges over moats that surrounded fortresses in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1850, a pontoon bridge had been constructed to link the east and west Harbor communities adjacent to the Ashtabula River. The pontoon, or floating bridge, had to be pulled with long ropes and pulleys, which made it very unstable. In 1889, the need to widen the river channel to accommodate larger ships became apparent and a swing bridge replced the cumbersome pontoon bridge.

During the summer season, the Bascule Lift Bridge is operated 24 hours a day and is lifted on the hour and half hour for pleasure boaters making their way along the Ashtabula River to and from Lake Erie. The bridge is operated by a bridge tender who views the bridge and river from the control room or "operations house" below the counterweight. Before the bridge opens to its jackknife position, the bridge tender signals a horn and lowers the gates to alert pedestrians and automobiles to stop. Due to its unique structure and history, the bridge was added
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to the National Register in 1976.

A New York City native, Thomas E. Brown, famous for designing the original elevator in the Eiffel Tower in Paris, developed the first bascule bridge in the 1890's. His bridge invention features overhead counterweights connected to trusswork balance beams. Wendell P. Brown of no relation to Thomas E. Brown, designed the Ashtabule Bascule LIft Bridge in 1925. Through the cooperation of the City, County, State and Federal governments, the Lift Bridge was restored in 1986 at the cost of $5.2 million This bridge is the only one of its kind still used for automobile traffic in the State of Ohio.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1850.
Location. 41° 54.062′ N, 80° 47.961′ W. Marker is in Ashtabula, Ohio, in Ashtabula County. Marker is on Walnut Boulevard east of Hulbert Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1084 Walnut Boulevard, Ashtabula OH 44004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Giant Hulett (a few steps from this marker); Point Park (within shouting distance of this marker); American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); The Run Away Lake Erie Buoy
Bascule Lift Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 13, 2019
2. Bascule Lift Bridge Marker
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ship Air Funnel (about 300 feet away); The Ashtabula River (about 400 feet away); 1003 (about 400 feet away); 1005 (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ashtabula.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 17, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 261 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 17, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 13, 2024