Thomson Road–Air Line Railroad Bridge
|Location||Thomson Rd. over abandoned RR right-of-way, Howard Township, Michigan|
|Area||less than one acre|
|Architectural style||concrete T-beam|
|MPS||Highway Bridges of Michigan MPS|
|NRHP reference #||99001612|
|Added to NRHP||December 22, 1999|
The Thomson Road–Air Line Railroad Bridge, also known as just the Thomson Road Bridge, is a bridge located on Thomson Road over the abandoned Michigan Air Line Railroad right-of-way in Howard Township, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.It is one of the oldest examples of a concrete T-beam bridge in Michigan, and has a rare brick deck.
The Michigan Air Line Railroad was a planned railroad across southern Michigan, connecting the Canada Southern Railway to Chicago, Illinois. Only part of the line was built, and it was split between the Michigan Central Railroad and the Grand Trunk Railway.
Howard Township is a civil township of Cass County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 6,207 at the 2010 census.
The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.
The main line of the Michigan Central Railroad, located about .5 miles (0.80 km) west of this site, was constructed through Cass County in 1848. Just after the Civil War, a new rail line known as the Michigan Air Line Railroad was constructed, linking Jackson with the Michigan Central line at Niles; two years later, the route was controlled by the Michigan Central. In 1919, a cutoff was constructed through Howard Township, linking the main Michigan Central line to the Airline. This bridge was constructed at the same time, probably from a design developed by the railroad company.
The Michigan Central Railroad was originally incorporated in 1846 to establish rail service between Detroit, Michigan and St. Joseph, Michigan. The railroad later operated in the states of Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois in the United States, and the province of Ontario in Canada. After about 1867 the railroad was controlled by the New York Central Railroad, which later became part of Penn Central and then Conrail. After the 1998 Conrail breakup Norfolk Southern Railway now owns much of the former Michigan Central trackage.
The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.
Jackson is a city in the south central area of the U.S. state of Michigan, about 40 miles (64 km) west of Ann Arbor and 35 miles (56 km) south of Lansing. It is the county seat of Jackson County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 33,534, down from 36,316 at the 2000 census. Served by Interstate 94, it is the principal city of the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Jackson County and has a population of 160,248.
The railroad beneath the bridge has been abandoned for many years and is overgrown.
The Thomson Road–Air Line Railroad Bridge is one of the oldest examples of a concrete T-beam bridge in Michigan, and the only historically significant bridge of the type having multiple spans. 169 feet (52 m) long and just over 20 feet (6.1 m) in width, with five spans of 35 feet (11 m) in length. The length of the structure is due to the wide right-of-way beneath, which was used as a railroad switchyard known as the "Hump." The bridge has an unusual brick deck, which has a slight arch. The original bridge railings are metal pipe panels strung between concrete posts. The bridge has maintained an excellent integrity.The entire bridge is
A T-beam, used in construction, is a load-bearing structure of reinforced concrete, wood or metal, with a t-shaped cross section. The top of the t-shaped cross section serves as a flange or compression member in resisting compressive stresses. The web of the beam below the compression flange serves to resist shear stress and to provide greater separation for the coupled forces of bending.
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