Sidaway Avenue Footbridge

The Sidaway Avenue Footbridge is located over Kingsbury Run on Sidaway Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Abandoned after the Houge riots of 1966 when the wooden bridge deck was torched, the crossing connected the Jackaow and Garden Valley neighborhoods.

Sidaway Avenue Footbridge

The land surrounding Kingsbury Run had been purchased by real estate investors for use by a then-proposed rapid transit from downtown Cleveland to their new residential development of Shaker Heights on the city’s east side. A footbridge had existed over Kingsbury Run but the land underneath the bridge was sold to the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate) Company for their railroad shops. The Nickel Plate was granted a permanent easement under the old footbridge at Sidaway Avenue for its tracks.

The existing footbridge was in poor condition and the railroad proposed to erect a new suspension bridge for pedestrians so that no piers would interfere with the railroad. Upon completion, the bridge would be turned over to the city. The railroad hired Wilbur, Watson and Associates of Cleveland to design the new bridge. Construction began shortly after, with steel fabricated by U.S. Steel’s at John A. Roebling Sons’ Trenton Wire Rope Works. “Kromik Metal Primer” paint used on the bridge was sourced from the local Sherwin-Williams plant.

Completed in 1930, the new 680-feet Sidaway Avenue Footbridge consisted of a 400-feet main span and two 140 feet approach spans.

During the Hough riots of 1966, arsonists set fire to the bridge deck. The Sidaway Avenue Footbridge was never rebuilt.

I have photographed this bridge on numerous occasions over the years, but it’s difficult to get a good angle. A mass of vines has taken over the approaches to the bridge and the trees that line the hillside make it hard to get a good sightline for the entire crossing. The addition of power lines do not help.

To the wise: it’s not worth climbing across the bridge. While I do appreciate a good abandonment, there is no bridge deck. Scrambling across requires holding onto original chain link fence that pulls apart from the superstructure with ease. Enjoy it from the comfort of the valley banks!

View the entire history and all of the photos for the Sidaway Avenue Footbridge.

Written by Sherman Cahal