Property Name: Short Street/Shawtown Bridge
Property Location: Short Street over the Chippewa River,
Eau Claire, WI
Statement of Significance: Metal truss bridges are
largely a product of post-Civil War industrialization. Early Wisconsin bridges
were likely flimsy, crude affairs. The structures, which were susceptible to
washouts and damage by ice floes, needed to be replaced often. Although the
initial costs were greater, truss bridge were customarily more durable,
The genius of truss bridge design was its use of the triangle
to combine short sections of material into a longer, rigid framework. The truss
idea facilitated bridges that were simple to design and erect, but which had
strength and longevity.
The Short Street Bridge was a good example of a Parker
Through Truss. It was eligible for the National Register under Criterion C. The
bridge’s 1924 construction date and three spans made it the oldest, and one of
the longest remaining, bridges of the type in Wisconsin when it was evaluated in
1995. With its historical integrity largely intact, the Short Street Bridge was
indeed an increasingly rare component of Wisconsin’s historic landscape.
The former three-span, Short
Street truss bridge.
Public Interpretation: To suitably document the existence
of the structure, and interpret its significance for the public, a brochure and
two-panel museum display were prepared and then given to the City of Eau Claire.
Thus the memory of the structure, and the role it played in promoting the
community’s settlement, was preserved.
Public displays and interpretive materials are an
increasingly frequent method of mitigating the loss of significant structures.
To that end, HRL has prepared educational displays for a variety of
structure-types including bridges, grain elevators, park buildings and historic
Project Date: 1995-1997
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