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Local History

Footbridge Facelift

"One of Springfield's historic landmarks, the Jefferson Avenue footbridge is getting a much needed face-lifting, but not all residents are completely satisfied. 

"The Frisco and the city joined hands after several years of discussion and undertook complete rebuilding. Some persons, particularly those living north of Commercial, are unhappy because steps are being put in to replace the old wooden ramps.

"The big complaint is that mothers will not be able to negotiate the footbridge with baby carriages, as they formerly could, because of the new steps. A minor protest is also being registered by a group of daredevil bicycle riders who for years have tested their skill and stamina on the footbridge.

"An elderly man complained this morning that he won’t be able to negotiate the footbridge any longer because he can’t climb steps.

"It has even been suggested to Mayor W.L. English that a grade separation be made across the Friso tracks to overcome the steps handicap. But the city and the Frisco are more interested in safety.

"Engineers feel that the bridge has been perilous for a number of years. City Manager W.E. Hansen said that the footbridge 'used to sway like a ship at sea.'

"It has become a landmark on the 'northside.' The bridge was first put in use May 27, 1902, according to most Springfield historians.

"One old-timer recalls that there was a considerable amount of 'sway' in the bridge even then. He recalled 'The day they held the ribbon cutting ceremony a bunch of boys almost broke up the deal. They got in the middle of the bridge and swayed it, making it tough on the ribbon cutters.'

"The old Jefferson Avenue footbridge, one of Springfield’s historic landmarks, is getting the 'new Look.' Frisco workers are well along on a complete rebuilding job. Steel and concrete steps are replacing the old wooden ramps and new reinforcing steel uprights have added strength to the structure. The city is salvaging the timber and steel taken out of the bridge. Under an old agreement the Frisco and the city are sharing the cost with the railroad furnishing the labor. The city set up its share of the cost in this year’s budget at $3,350."

Leader-Press, September 20, 1954.

The image showing one stage of the footbridge facelift is from the newspaper.

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