September 2004 Photo (Portage Swing Bridge)

The Discussion Board: Featured Photo of the Month: September 2004 Photo (Portage Swing Bridge)
By Kevin E. Musser (Admin) ( on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 6:45 am:

To follow up on a Shoebox Memory from late August I submit this nice photo/ad of the old Portage swing bridge. The ad appeared in a 1907 issue of the Proceedings of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association and was sent in by John Webster. Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company was very active along the Copper Range building, in addition to this structure, the Copper Range mill in Freda and the Champion Shaft-Rock Houses. Check out my story of this bridge and the rest of the bridges to span the Portage as well. Thanks John for the photo.

By John Hermann ( on Thursday, January 19, 2006 - 9:51 pm:

The old swing bridge has a lot of history even durning my time. I remember the swing portion expanding so much on hot days that it could't be opened. It was stuck closed. Most will remember getting on the swing just as it opened and getting a ride. The attendant would close the gates that blocked traffic manually and chase the kids off. I lost a high school classmate who jumped from the the lower deck of the swing as it was closing. He missed and drowned. When the present bridge was finished it was almost destroyed one nite. A frieghter was blowing, but the bridge didn't open ( could have been human error). When the freighter realized that a wreck was about to occur it dropped all anchors to stop and gave numerous disaster blows. In the morning it was at a cross angle in the cannal and had torn up a telephone cable, but saved the new bridge.

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