Dexter in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Frederick Pelham: Bridge Engineer
Frederick Pelham was born on November 7, 1864. He attended school in Detroit. In 1887, he became the first African American to receive an Engineering Degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and was hired as a civil engineer for the Michigan Central Railroad Company. Frederick is known for the design and construction of 20 railroad bridges.
In 1887, Martha Warner was killed crossing the train tracks. The citizens of Dexter petitioned the Michigan Central Railroad to make the road crossing safer. Frederick Pelham was assigned the job. In 1890, he designed the skew stone arch bridge over the road as well as the nearby stone arch bridge over Mill Creek.
Frederick Pelham died of acute pneumonia on February 6, 1895 at the age of 30.
This sign was researched by Wilie Elementary School 4th-grade student (2017-2018).
"The Dexter Underpass", Grace Shackman, Ann Arbor Observer, Spring 2007
"The Michigan Manual of Freedmen's Progress", John M. Green, 1915
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans Bridges & Viaducts • Education • Railroads & Streetcars.
Location. 42° 20.319′ N, 83° 53.425′ W. Marker is in Dexter, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Main Street and Jeffords Street. Marker is in Mill Creek Park South. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dexter MI 48130, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. History of Mill Creek Dam (within shouting distance of this marker); Alice Frances House•Library (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dexter Area Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dexter Depot / Track Pans (approx. 0.4 miles away); St. Joseph Catholic Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Hudson Mills (approx. 3.4 miles away); Webster United Church of Christ (approx. 3.8 miles away); Delhi Bridge (approx. 4.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dexter.
Also see . . . Fred B. Pelham: building bridges. Biography about Frederick Pelham on the University of Michigan website. Includes information about the skew bridge. (Submitted on November 10, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 10, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 10, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 81 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on November 10, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photo of the skew stone arch bridge • Can you help?