The combination railroad and highway swing bridge is open for ship traffic in this
photo from the 1940's.
This view is looking northeast across the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. The track curves to
the north and extends a few blocks to the Green Bay & Western's depot and engine house
in Sturgeon Bay. The bridge served as a combination railroad and highway bridge.
In 1987 the city of Sturgeon Bay dedicated a plaque at the site of the bridge
commemorating the history of the Ahnapee & Western's connection to the
city. It read:
"In pioneer times, private boats and commercial ferries were used
to cross the waters of Sturgeon Bay. In 187 the crossing became
considerable easier when John D. Leathem and
Thomas H. Smith completed a toll bridge consisting of a wooden plank
road on a timber pile trestle and a center pivoting truss bridge to allow for
boat passage. Tolls charged for crossing the bridge included
"75� for threshing outfits," "25� for teams and
rider" and 5� per head for foot passengers."
In 1891, the Ahnapee & Western (A&W) Railway received grants totaling
$76,000 from the city and County to construct a line to Sturgeon Bay. A
rail crossing was completed in 1894 by attaching tracks to the toll bridge and
constructing a new western rail approach.
The City purchased the toll bridge from Leathem and Smith in 1911 and
operated it until 1931 when the present Michigan Street bridge was built to accommodate
the increased automobile traffic. The rail portion of the toll bridge
was turned over to the A&W which in 1946 reinforced the deteriorating
western approach with earth and rock fill, creating the present embankment
extending into the bay.
In 1968 the rail line was abandoned, and the old truss bridge and
remaining trestle, a serious hazard to navigation, were removed in 1973.
The earthen embankment lay dormant until 1987 when a grant from the Wisconsin
Coastal Management Program enabled the city to improve the
embankment for public enjoyment."
This photo was reduced from a high-resolution scan.
To view the original image, click here (463
Notice: This image is owned by Andy Laurent
and may not be reproduced without permission. The original photo was taken by
W.C. Schroeder around 1940. Andy obtained the photo from W.C. Schroeder's son
Roger Schroeder of the Door County Historical Society.