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National or State Registers Record

Michigan Street

National Register or State Register


Historic Name: Sturgeon Bay Bridge

Reference Number: 07001420


Location (Address): Michigan Street

County: Door

City/Village: Sturgeon Bay



Sturgeon Bay Bridge
Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay, Door County
Engineers: Keller & Harrington
Builder: Wausau Iron Works
Date of construction: 1931

Northern Door County has been linked to the rest of Wisconsin since 1887, when a wooden toll bridge was built over the recently dredged Sturgeon Bay. As tourism in northern Door County gained popularity, a more solid structure was needed to handle the growing number of vehicles, as well as the windy conditions of Sturgeon Bay. This bridge replaced the old toll bridge in 1931. It was designed by the Chicago engineering firm of Keller & Harrington (Charles L. Keller and Howard Parsons Harrington) and constructed by the Wausau Iron Works Company of Wausau, Wisconsin. At the time of its completion, the bridge was the thirty-ninth special state bridge constructed by the Wisconsin State Highway Commission. It was also the first free passage over Sturgeon Bay and was dedicated to "those who gave their services to their country in times of emergency." The final cost of bridge was estimated at $479,398.03.

This large, rare and complicated structure is the only movable, overhead truss, Scherzer-type, double-leaf, rolling-lift bascule bridge remaining in Wisconsin. It is considered an excellent example of Keller & Harrington's work, a firm that designed bascule highway bridges in Wisconsin and across the country. Although other engineering firms utilized the Scherzer-type bascule design (movable leafs resemble movement of a rocking chair), Keller & Harrington added an extensive overhead truss system (five Parker through trusses and two Warren trusses) to this bridge to withstand the sweeping winds of the Sturgeon Bay.

The Sturgeon Bay Bridge was slated for demolition in 1996. "Citizens for Our Bridge" (COB) was formed, using an annual Steel Bridge Songfest to advocate for its preservation. The bridge is scheduled for rehabilitation in late 2008 and remains one of two links that connect northern Door County with the rest of Wisconsin. It continues to carry local business highways 42 and 57.


Period of Significance: 1931

Area of Significance: Engineering

Applicable Criteria: Architecture/Engineering

Historic Use: Transportation: Road-Related

Architectural Style: Other

Resource Type: Structure

Architect: Keller & Harrington (engineers)

Architect: Wausau Iron Works (builders))


Historic Status: Listed in the National Register

Historic Status: Listed in the State Register

National Historic Landmark Listing Date:

National Register Listing Date: 2008-01-17

State Register Listing Date: 2007-04-27


Number of Contributing Buildings: 0

Number of Contributing Sites: 0

Number of Contributing Structures: 1

Number of Contributing Objects: 0

Number of Non-Contributing Buildings: 0

Number of Non-Contributing Sites: 0

Number of Non-Contributing Structures: 0

Number of Non-Contributing Objects: 0


National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation-Public History, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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