133rd. Ave. / Rabbit River

MDOT Historic Bridge 133rd. Ave. / Rabbit River

County: Calhoun

City/Township: Bridge Park

Location: 133rd. Ave. / Rabbit River

Year Built: 1897

About this Bridge:

The following description credited to Elaine Davis.

Formerly spanning the Rabbit River in Hopkins Township, Allegan County, Michigan, the bridge is known today as the 133rd Avenue Bridge. It was built in 1897 by the Michigan Bridge Company of Portland, owned by Samuel S. Ramsey and his son Claude. In 1993, the bridge was considered unable to support vehicular traffic and was closed while the county scheduled the bridge for replacement.

It is a small bridge - only 64 feet long - and for a span of 96 years, it carried farm residents over the river on its single span. The road was laid out between the times of publication of two plat maps, 1873 and 1895, to carry farm traffic to and from connecting roads to the rural schools and churches, to markets in nearby small towns such as Hopkins and Hilliards and to the L.S.M.S. railroad depot at Hopkins Station.

The Rabbit River is shallow where 133rd Avenue crosses, and perhaps in the early years travelers forded, the river. As the demand for good roads year around increased, and as heavy steam traction equipment came into use for harvesting, the need for a strong bridge grew. High water in January 1897 washed out the small bridge there. In late April 1897, the Hopkins Township board let the contract for the iron bridge to the Michigan Bridge Co. for $715.

The technical description for the 133rd Ave. Bridge is a four-panel half-hip pin-connected Pratt steel truss, 64 feet long, with a 14-foot roadway. It was removed from Allegan County in 1998 and taken to the Calhoun County Road Commission shop where it was repaired, cleaned and repainted. Then it was re-erected in the Calhoun County Historic Bridge Park in 1999, to serve as a pedestrian bridge, with the honor of being the first bridge placed in the park. It is expected to be good for another 100 years.