Friday, January 14, 2011


Dear Rose,

I've been reminded of your bridges blog ever since it ran, and every time I take India back to her mom in Avon Lake. In order to get out of town, I have to cross the Black River in Lorain on the city's east side.

Usually, leaving town, I crosss what locals refer to as "the high level bridge." According to the county engineer's office, it is "a 1700-foot single-span through-truss cantilver style bridge.

Its real name is the Lofton Henderson bridge, named after a World War II hero and Lorain native. Henderson was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his deeds in the Battle of Midway. As he was attacking a Japanese aircraft carrier, his plane's left wing burst into flames. Henderson continued his attack, dived into the carrier and perished.

Coming back into town, usually just when the sun is setting in the wintertime, I come a different route, on U.S. Route 6, and cross what is commonly called the "Bascule Bridge." This is my favorite one, although during shipping season, it can mean a bit of a wait if you happen to come by when a large ship wants to pass through.

If you're not in a hurry, it can be fun to watch the bridge split in half in the middle and slowly part, with the roadway going almost straight up into the sky.

"Bascule" refers to the method of using counterweights at the base of each leaf to open and close the bridge, jack-knife style. The Lorain bridge is a double leaf bascule. It is the second largest bascule bridge in the world. For a time after it was built, it was the largest.

This bridge also has a proper name, the Charles J. Berry Bascule Bridge. It was named for Lorain native Berry, who received a Medal of Honor for activities during a grenade battle in Iwo Jim. (The bridge must have been dedicated some time after the war, since it was built in the late 1930s and opened for traffic around 1940.

The attached photo is of the Lorain Bascule Bridge.

Thanks for writing about bridges. I enjoyed it!

Florence York Ellis.


Thanks, Flossie, for sharing two bridges with us.

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