Repairing the Stairs on the Wade Park Bridge
In 1899, Charles Schweinfurth designed this bridge, carrying Wade Park Avenue over what is now Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. It's one of four bridges he designed for the park between 1896 and 1899. This is often cited as the most impressive of the lot. For decades the stairs, allowing pedestrians access to the park, have been closed, too damaged to safely use.
This was the sign greeting pedestrians back in September, when I demanded Repair the Stairs on the Wade Park Bridge!
Guess what? Here's a hint:
Note: if Cleveland Area History was a glossy, high-production magazine, the photograph would be from the boulevard, and feature several people, skipping down the stairs, gauze flowing in the breeze behind them. But it's not, so you'll have to deal with my feet.
Was that not clear enough? This perspective should be more illuminating - the stairs have been fixed!
I confess, when I first drove by and saw the green hue of the stairs, I grumbled to my self. At 35 miles per hour, the green looked an awful lot like the hue of freshly poured cement. "Great," I thought, "someone took the cheap way out, rather than replacing the sandstone with sandstone, as they should have."
I was wrong.
They did, in fact, do the work with proper materials. It's just that the new sandstone has a very different hue from the old sandstone. Perhaps it will fade to match the existing stone.
The project was sponsored by the Holden Parks Trust. The architects were Chambers, Murphy, & Burge. The contractor was M-A Building & Maintenance Co.
Photographs taken in July, while the project was in progress, should illuminate the original construction methods used on this stairway. (I'm always interested in seeing how historic structures were built - it's an underdocumented subject area, and it can be useful in dating structures where the year of construction is unknown.) That said, I'm not sure quite what these images tell us.
This is but one example of the progress that we're making with historic preservation in Cleveland. More will follow in coming weeks.