Historic Bell Road Bridge, Hidden in Overgrowth…or Is It?
There's a little-known (well, at least to the majority of Michigan) Historical Marker site in Washtenaw County.
It has a marker, but it's kept in a garage.
It has an historic structure, but it's been dismantled.
Okay...a marker that ain't there, and a structure that's been torn down.
So why should we bother to visit?
I'm talkin' about the historic Bell Road Bridge, sometimes called the Dover Mill Bridge, erected in 1891 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company.
According to bxx32 @ Youtube, the bridge once spanned across the Huron River near the now-defunct village of Dover Mill (or Mills) north of Hudson Mill Metropark. In 1992, along comes a guy who had been drinking way too much and crashes into the bridge. Enough damage was caused that the bridge had to be closed in 1993. So many locals complained about having to take the long way around, that the bridge was re-opened, but with a much lesser weight limit.
After re-closing the bridge, thanks to land erosion and crumbling stone, a request was made to re-build the bridge. It was denied. Residents strongly objected to the bridge's demolition and in 1997 it was lifted off the river and placed along the side of Bell Road.
In 1999, an Historical Marker was erected as well as a plaque from the National Register of Historic Places. However, that particular plaque now sits in the garage of a local resident.
So now what?
Are we able to visit this historic old bridge?
According to HistoricBridges.org, the bridge has been “dismantled and placed in storage at an indoor location for potential future reuse”.
Okay, great. But the curiosity of a Michigander is not limited. So I, as well as many others, will pay a visit to see just what remains of this 1891 bridge. If disappointed, we can always spend the rest of the day at Hudson Mills Metropark.
Take a look at the gallery below of the old bridge while it was still alongside the road!
PHOTOS OF BELL ROAD BRIDGE