Jefferson Ave. / Milk River

Jefferson Ave. / Milk River

County: Macomb

City/Township: St. Clair Shores

Location: Jefferson Ave. / Milk River

Year Built: 1931

About this Bridge:
The Jefferson Avenue Bridge is eligible for the National Register for its association with the pioneering automobile dynasty, the Ford family. It is also eligible under as an aesthetically pleasing design.

This bridge is significant for its association with the Fords, especially Edsel Ford, who gave the bridge to Macomb County. Henry Ford I acquired substantial holdings on the shore of Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Shores in 1911. He gave the Gaukler Point property, just south of the outlet of the Milk River, to his son, Edsel. Edsel built an estate there in 1927. In 1931, he had the present bridge built outside his property so that Jefferson Avenue, known as Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe Shores, would be rerouted there. Lakeshore Drive was rebuilt with a center boulevard or "parkway," which was continued across the bridge.

The Moran & Teetaert Construction Company were responsible for erecting the bridge. The distinguishing design feature of the bridge is its heavy concrete lattice railing. To enhance the bridge's aesthetics and conceal the utilitarian structure, the outside stringers were faced with concrete, which blends with the railing above in a unified appearance. Some of the original concrete has suffered deterioration and spalling along the railing and the stringer facing, but this does not compromise the structure's integrity. In 1959, the bridge was rehabilitated, according to the bridge plate, but this work respected the 1931 design.