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New support for Twin Falls Bridge on National Register

September 4, 2012
The Daily News


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN - The Upper Twin Falls Bridge will most likely be listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Article Photos

Wisconsin and Michigan historic officials support placing the Upper Twin Falls Bridge on the National Register of Historical Place. The designation could lead to funding to improve the structure.

Both the Wisconsin and Michigan Historic Preservation Review Boards are in support of listing it on the register.

Daina Penkiunas, national register coordinator from the Wisconsin Historical Society, said the Wisconsin Historic Preservation Review Board has voted in support of listing the Upper Twin Falls Bridge on the Wisconsin State Register.

The bridge is located on Upper Twin Falls Road over the Menominee River between Breitung Township in Dickinson County and the town of Florence in Florence County.

The board was unanimous in its support of the listing and will submit their decision to Michigan.

The Michigan Historic Preservation Review Board approved the nomination in May.

Both states' nomination will then be submitted to the National Park Service for listing in the National Register of Historical Places.

The Breitung Township Board of Trustees, along with the Dickinson County Road Commission, have also voted in favor of support for this listing.

The bridge spans the Menominee River and served horse wagon, buggy and auto traffic to and from Florence, Spread Eagle and Iron Mountain for 60 years closing to all truck and auto use in approximately 1972.

The period between 1914 and 1920 was a busy time for saloons which sprang up near Spread Eagle because Michigan was "dry" and Wisconsin was "wet" prompting liquor being run across the boarder from Wisconsin to Michigan.

If the bridge is placed on the National Register of Historic Places, as expected, there could be some type of grant money available to restore or improve the bridge and its approaches.

Designed by M.W. Torkelson, a Wisconsin bridge engineer, the Iron Bridge was built in 1909-10 by the Central States Bridge Company at a cost of $5,106.

The contract to build the earthen approaches from the Wisconsin and Michigan sides was let by Gilbert "Bert" Carpenter, Dickinson County Engineer, to B.W Hicks of Vulcan at a cost of $7,500.

A monument at the north end of the bridge was erected and was dedicated on Memorial Day 1923 in honor of Carpenter, the popular road engineer. Carpenter was born in 1873 and died in 1918.

The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government's official list of properties deemed worthy of preservation because of their importance in American history and culture.

A listing in the register provides recognition and assists in preserving the country's national heritage.

Benefits to historic properties listed on the register are:

- Recognition that a property is significant to the nation, state or the community.

- Consideration in the planning for federal and federally assisted projects.

- Eligibility for federal tax incentives and other preservation assistance.

The Upper Twin Falls Bridge is the only example of a camelback through truss highway bridge in either Michigan and Wisconsin.

Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is



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