Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

DUNCAN CREEK AT E SPRING ST INTERSECTION

Architecture and History Inventory
DUNCAN CREEK AT E SPRING ST INTERSECTION | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:MARSH RAINBOW ARCH BRIDGE
Other Name:SPRING STREET BRIDGE
Contributing:
Reference Number:3140
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):DUNCAN CREEK AT E SPRING ST INTERSECTION
County:Chippewa
City:Chippewa Falls
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1916
Additions:
Survey Date:1984
Historic Use:concrete bridge
Architectural Style:NA (unknown or not a building)
Structural System:
Wall Material:Concrete
Architect:JAMES BARNEY MARSH
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge
National Register Listing Date:6/25/1982 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. SEE DOT BRIDGE SURVEY. PLAQUE ON BRIDGE STATES "MARSH RAINBOW ARCH BRIDGE" PATENTED 8/6/1912. HAER WI-37. BRIDGE WAS CONSTRUCTED BY THE IOWA BRIDGE CO. ONLY KNOWN WISCONSIN EXAMPLE.

Concrete span in arch form with concrete rails, supports foundation. Constructed in the typical arch form of concrete bridges in which the roadway is suspended from the arch in 1916 at a cost of $13,950 by the Iowa Bridge Company. The Spring Street Bridge is a 93 foot single span arch with eight concrete vertical intermediate posts joined by concrete floor beams. The concrete balustrade is carried across the arches and over the abutments at each end where the original lamp posts remain intact.

Chippewa Falls boasts Wisconsin’s only Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge, a patented reinforced-concrete span. Marsh, an engineer from North Lake, Wisconsin, developed the prototype in 1912, basing his invention on the metal bowstring arch, which his onetime employers, the King Bridge Company of Cleveland, had patented.

Concrete is more rigid than metal. But since bridges must bend with heavy loads, concrete alone cannot be used. If concrete is reinforced with iron or steel bars for elasticity, a bridge becomes both stable and flexible. Reinforced-concrete spans existed as early as the 1880s, but they used large quantities of iron and imitated traditional stone bridges in their design. Soon after 1900, European engineers experimented with slender ribs and flattened parabolic curves. Workers built these new bridges much as they would a metal truss bridge, assembling the steel-lattice frame on the ground, then placing it atop concrete piers. Finally, they poured concrete around the frame, a technique called “cast-in-place.”

The previous bridge over Duncan Creek washed out in the spring of 1916, so the city selected Marsh’s design for a new bridge and hired the Iowa Bridge Company to build it. The elegant rainbow arch has twin arches springing from a line 13 feet below the road deck, rising to their apexes 26 feet above the spring line. The arches taper in thickness from abutment to apex, adding a sense of grace. The bridge deck hangs from reinforced-concrete members that descend from the arches. Oval-pierced concrete railings enclose the sides of the 90-foot span. The original lampposts, with their acorn globes, still greet travelers at each end.

The concrete Spring St. Bridge is significant because of its uniqueness in the state and region.
Bibliographic References:(A) National Register Nomination Files, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. CHIPPEWA FALLS HERALD TELEGRAM 4/30/1996. Take a Walk on Main Street: Historic Walking Tours in Wisconsin's Main Street Communities, Wisconsin Main Street Program, 1998. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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