Sidaway Avenue Footbridge
The Sidaway Avenue Footbridge is located over Kingsbury Run on Sidaway Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Now abandoned, the crossing connected the Jackaow and Garden Valley neighborhoods.
The land surrounding Kingsbury Run had been purchased by real estate investors M.J. and O.P. Van Sweringen 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.1 A footbridge was constructed over Kingsbury Run but on November 23, 1926, the city of Cleveland sold the Sidaway brook lands” to the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate) Company. The Nickel Plate was granted a permanent easement under the old footbridge at Sidaway Avenue for its tracks.
In 1929, the Nickel Plate planned to construct railroad shops in the Kingsbury Run valley.1 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.
An ordinance, passed by the city on September 23, 1929, released its claim to the land underneath the Sidaway Avenue Footbridge in return for the Nickel Plate’s promise to construct the suspension bridge.1 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.1 It boasted two 105.6-feet towers and a stiffening Warren truss with a wind cable.
The suspension footbridge allowed Polish immigrants who had settled in the Jackowo neighborhood on the south side of the valley to reach bus lines heading downtown along Kinsman Avenue in Garden Valley on the north side of the bridge.1 It also allowed children living in Garden Valley to attend Tod Elementary in Jackowo.
By the 1960’s, the Sidaway Avenue Footbridge connected two vastly different neighborhoods. Jackaow was still a Polish neighborhood while Garden Valley had become mostly black.1 During the Hough riots of 1966, arsonists set fire to the bridge deck. The Sidaway Avenue Footbridge was never rebuilt.