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