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 On November 23, 1926, the city of Cleveland sold the “Sidaway brook lands” to the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate) who was granted a permanent easement under the old footbridge at Sidaway Avenue for its tracks.
In 1929, the Nickel Plate proposed to construct railroad shops in the Kingsbury Run valley. 1 An existing footbridge over the hollow 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 & Associates of Cleveland to design the new crossing and construction began shortly after. Steel was fabricated by John A. Roebling Sons’ Trenton Wire Rope Works and the “Kromik Metal Primer” paint used was sourced from a local Sherwin-Williams plant. The new 680-foot crossing for pedestrians, with a 400-foot main span, two 140-foot approaches, two 105.6-foot towers, and a stiffening Warren truss, opened in 1930. 1
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 that lived in Garden Valley to attend Tod Elementary in Jackowo.
By the 1960s, 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 crossing was never reopened.
- State: Ohio
- Route: Sidaway Avenue
- Type: Wire Suspension
- Status: Abandoned / Closed
- Total Length: 680 feet
- Main Span Length: 400 feet
- Deck Width: 6 feet
- Miller, Carol Poh. Sidaway Avenue Footbridge.” Research rept. no. HAER OH 18 CLEV 23. Washington, D.C.: Historic American Engineering Record, 1978. Print.