Saturday, December 24, 2011

Memory's Eye: Michigan Central Railroad Bridge

This bridge over Paint Creek east of the old Western Knitting Mills (now Rochester Mills Brewery) is an important local landmark. Having been in place for over a century, it is said to be one of the oldest remaining concrete arch bridges in Michigan. The Michigan Central Railroad originally built this bridge to carry its tracks across Paint Creek near the Western Knitting Mills dam and mill pond.  This view, which looks westward from the east bank of Paint Creek behind the Royal Park Hotel, shows a current view of the bridge on the left, stitched together with a circa 1907 postcard view of the same scene.  In the vintage image at right, the Western Knitting Mills dam and mill pond are visible.  The area once covered by the mill pond was filled after a devastating flood in 1946, and today is the site of the Sunrise Senior Living complex, post office, and public library. In 2008-2009, the Rochester Downtown Development Authority funded a rehabilitation project for the historic bridge, and it is now a pleasant pedestrian walkway that is part of the recreational trail system.

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