S. Cass St. / Boardman River

S. Cass St. / Boardman River

County: Grand Traverse

City/Township: Traverse City

Location: S. Cass St. / Boardman River

Year Built: 1930

About this Bridge:
The American Legion Memorial Bridge qualifies for the National Register as a significant memorial bridge and for its connection with Daniel Luten, a prominent bridge engineer.

In 1929, the Traverse City city commission ordered a public election to authorize the sale of bonds to build new bridges over the Boardman River at South Union Street and Cass Street. At the same time, the commission hired Daniel B. Luten, a well-known Indianapolis bridge engineer who specialized in concrete-arch design, to prepare plans for the Cass Street Bridge. Voters approved the measure in May. In the meantime, the city learned that the state would erect a bridge at South Union Street, so the city's efforts focused on Cass Street.

On 27 June 1929, the commission awarded a contract for the bridge's construction to Aldrich and Cook and Jerome Wilhelm. A few weeks later, the commission agreed to issue $50,000 worth of bonds to pay for the project. In June 1930, the commission accepted the contractors' work and authorized final payment. At the same time, the commission decided to purchase dedication plaques at the request of the American Legion for $100. There remained, however, a dispute about additional payments between the city and H.E. Williams, the Michigan agent for Luten. It is unclear how this was resolved.

While the removal of the original railings over the arch and the addition of the Jersey barricades detract from the original design, the bridge remains an important and rare example of the work of Daniel Luten in Michigan. The bridge is also locally significant as a memorial bridge commemorating the American Legion.