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International Railroad Bridge, River Section

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1887, J. Reid; Dominion Bridge Company; and Detroit Bridge and Iron Works. Over St. Mary's River
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

Four railroad companies (the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic; the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie; the Grand Trunk Western; and the Canadian Pacific) collaborated to build the International Railroad Bridge across St. Mary's River. The three builders responsible were J. Reid, who built the substructure; the Dominion Bridge Company of Lachine, Quebec, which underbid all of the American companies because it could import cheap duty-free Scottish steel and could fabricate the structural members in Canada, built the superstructure; and the Detroit Bridge and Iron Works, which built the rest of the bridge crossing the American Navigational Canal. The river section consisted of ten steel camelback through trusses, each 239 feet long, resting on finished ashlar piers, each anchored in the bedrock of the river bottom. One of these trusses was removed in 1913 to enable construction of a new moveable bridge over the American Locks, but nine of the original spans remain. The International Railroad Bridge was the vital west–east connection for Sault Ste. Marie. The growing lake and railroad traffic and the immense waterpower potential that could be harnessed for industry at the Sault precipitated grand predictions that manufacturing and commerce would flourish here.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "International Railroad Bridge, River Section", [Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 554-554.

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