Kingsford Rail Bridge

Hinged Deck Arch Bridge over Menominee River
Niagara, Marinette County, Wisconsin
Kingsford, Dickinson County, Michigan

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Kingsford Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Contractor Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Currently Owned By Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad
Length 357 Feet Total, 207 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 52 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Hinged Deck Arch and Deck Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 1 Train/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Bridge Number U-464
Significance National Significance
In 1881, the Republic Branch Railroad began construction of a line from the Menominee River at Kingsford, Michigan to Champion, Michigan.
Meanwhile at the same time, the Wisconsin & Michigan Railroad began construction of a line from Fort Howard (Green Bay) to Stiles, Wisconsin.
In addition, the Milwaukee and Northern Railroad built from Stiles to the Menominee River, at the same point near Kingsford.

While the line would be completed from Kingsford to Fort Howard by 1882, the line north would not be completed until 1887.

At this point, the Milwaukee & Northern Railroad gained complete control of the line. It connected to another important main line from Fort Howard to Chicago, via Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee and Northern Railroad would be absorbed by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway in 1893. Commonly referred to as the Milwaukee Road, this railroad had built a massive empire throughout the midwest.

This line served as the northern portion of one of the Milwaukee Road's mainlines. It connected to numerous mines in Champion, branches to Ontonogon, Marinette and Oconto as well as ore docks in Escanaba (via the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad.

In 1912, the CM&StP was reorganized as the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway with the pending Pacific Expansion.

The line continued with a solid freight base until the demise of the Milwaukee Road. In 1977, the lines in Michigan would be abandoned in a reorganization. The Escanaba & Lake Superior stepped in and purchased the line from Channing, Michigan to Iron Mountain. This included the Ontonagon Branch.
In 1981, the line would be purchased north to Republic, and from Green Bay to Iron Mountain in 1982.

Today, this line is operated as the core base of the Escanaba & Lake Superior.

Located in a remote area near Kingsford, this unique structure crosses the Menominee River.
Built in 1902 to replace an 1885 Whipple Deck Truss, the bridge is a triple hinged, ribbed deck arch. This structure is one of only a few like it in the nation.
The bridge also features a number of unique features. The arch does not have a uniform arch shape, but rather has a pair of leafs that meet at a hinge point.
The hinge point is also unusual because of the chords unusual bend near the crown of the structure. The center panel does not have any top or bottom chords, but instead has the crossing of the two chords at the hinge.

Historic Photo
Original bridge with new bridge being constructed. From Types and details of bridge construction, Volume 1.

To an untrained eye, this may result in the appearance of a cantilevered span. However, the bridge requires the other half to stand.
This design was chosen because it would reduce the materials and stresses in the structure. In addition, the bridge has two deck girder spans approaching either side. These rest on steel towers, set into concrete.
The bridge has been chosen as Nationally Significant by the author due to the extremely rare design of the bridge. Only the Soo Line High Bridge in Minnesota shares this design in the Midwestern United States, but does not have the odd features this structure does.
In addition, the previous deck truss was convered to a through truss and moved to Dunn County, Wisconsin.

The photo above is an overview. Unfortunately, this bridge is extremely difficult to access. This led to less than desirable pictures. More photos will come soon.

Menominee River Railroad Bridges

Upstream Menominee River Trail Bridge
Downstream Niagara Rail Bridge


Source Type


Build Date/Contractor The Railway Age: Volume 34
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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