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.
Real estate investors had purchased the land surrounding Kingsbury Run 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. For its tracks, the Nickel Plate was granted a permanent easement under the old footbridge at Sidaway Avenue.
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 & Associates of Cleveland to design the new bridge. Construction began shortly after, with steel fabricated by U.S. Steel 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 numerous times over the years, but getting a good angle is difficult. 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 does 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 the original chain link fence that easily pulls apart from the superstructure. Enjoy it from the comfort of the valley banks!
View the entire history and all of the photos of the Sidaway Avenue Footbridge.