Edgebrook Bridge which once connected Bartold Ave. in Maplewood to Summit Ave. in Webster Groves was 903 feet long. It was built in 1896 for the streetcars of the Howard Electric Line whose three principal owners lived in Webster Groves. Their names were Lucien Blackmer, James Case and Samuel Kennard.
So you suspect that this “Engineering Marvel” hook in the title is just a bit of community booster hyperbole, well how about this. According to Jim Baker in his fascinating book “King Trolley and the Suburban Queens” when Edgebrook Bridge was built it was the longest steel street railway bridge in the world.
Construction of the bridge required 400 tons of steel to span not only Deer Creek but also the Missouri Pacific right-of-way without touching it. Budgeted at $50,000 the Kohen Iron Works Co. of Detroit brought it in at $35,000. It was 60 feet high and tested at 720,000 pounds.
The bridge lasted longer than the streetcars did. After the streetcars stopped using it in 1949, it was converted to bus use. That stopped in 1968 and the bridge was demolished in 1974. Too bad. It would have been an awesome attraction to our bike riders.
Folks interested in this story should by all means pick up Mr. Baker’s book where it is covered in more detail and with other photographs than the ones seen here. His book also includes a wonderful chapter on the streetcar era in Maplewood.
This article first appeared on the Maplewood Patch website in 2012. Doug Houser
This is the earliest photo of the Edgebrook bridge that I have found. Courtesy of Linda Kosiacki. Forgive me Linda if I’ve misspelled your last name.
Undated photo of the Edgebrook bridge. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
The view is towards Maplewood from the Webster Groves side. Courtesy of Dan Walper at Citizen’s National Bank.
After the bus conversion took place. This location was just west of the present day Deer Creek Park. From Vintage St. Louis – a Facebook Page.
Seen here from the Maplewood side. Also from Vintage St. Louis.
This one is from the Maplewood Public Library.
These remains are not of the Edgebrook bridge but of another that was on the same line. It was just west of Laclede Station Road and north of the Metrolink Station. If I remember correctly I bought this for a couple of bucks online. I remember seeing these remains sometime after I moved to Maplewood in 1975. The foundation was made of massive rustic limestone rocks which are now probably 20 feet underground. The image is now in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.
A section of map from the oh so useful 1909 St. Louis County Plat book. The location of the building belonging to the Big Bend Quarry can be seen at the lower right. With the exception of a small section of Bartold and Birch Road nearly all of the streets and buildings shown no longer exist. The property at the extreme upper left is now occupied by the Autohaus BMW dealer.
The above information was found by Sherman Shewmaker at this location. The Google Book: RAILROAD AND WAREHOUSE COMMISSIONERS OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1906. Way to go, Sherman.
Sherman also asks where did the name Edgebrook come from? This photo is the only evidence I’ve seen yet that there once was a community by the bridge called Edgebrook. That’s an E on these fellows uniforms as the back of the photo clearly shows. Thanks again to Linda Kociacki for this image. (I spelled her name differently this time. I’ve got a 50/50 chance of getting it right. Maybe.)
The back of the previous photo. Thanks, Linda.