1929: The Opening of a Bridge Between Kentucky and Indiana

October 31, 1929

The Louisville Municipal Bridge, spanning a section of the Ohio River between the cities of Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana, was formally opened. Those attending the dedication ceremony for the four-lane cantilevered truss bridge included public officials from both of those states and also what one newspaper account characterized as “hundreds of onlookers.” 

The idea of a bridge providing a direct motor vehicle-oriented linkage between Louisville and Jeffersonville had first been publicly proposed in 1919 in the immediate aftermath of World War I. This bridge was ultimately designed by engineers Ralph Modjeski and Frank M. Masters and built by the American Bridge Company of Pittsburgh. 

This structure has been known locally as the Second Street Bridge because Second Street in Louisville leads directly to that location. In 1949, however, the Louisville Municipal Bridge was officially renamed the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge in honor of the U.S. military hero who founded Louisville during the American Revolutionary War. 

The Clark Bridge has pedestrian sidewalks, and it was the only Ohio River bridge in that region to accommodate non-motorized traffic until the opening of the nearby Big Four Bridge to pedestrians and bicyclists in 2014. One of the Clark Bridge’s other distinctions was its appearance in the popular 1981 Bill Murray movie Stripes. The bridge is also the central location for Thunder Over Louisville, which takes place each April as the kickoff event for the Kentucky Derby Festival. The Clark Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 31, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.      

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge (originally known as the Louisville, Municipal Bridge), please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Rogers_Clark_Memorial_Bridge and https://structurae.net/en/structures/george-rogers-clark-memorial-bridge

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