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Pieces of the Past: Glade Bridge

March 1, 2023

I grew up on Park Avenue (Street when I was a kid). The Glade Bridge was and still is, a critical connector for westbound traffic going into Warren. I was curious about it. Many old photos show there has been a Glade bridge for over 100 years.

When I was a kid, the sound of cars and trucks whirring over the steel deck of it would pierce the still of summer nights. Windows open, there was nothing to stop the sound from making its way to our bedroom. We (my brother and I) had to learn to ignore the sound. My Dad had often talked about the bridge having railroad tracks mounted on the superstructure. I took that as another piece of his folklore. For once he wasn’t “pulling my leg!”

I’m not certain what if anything preceded the Glade Bridge. Historically speaking, it opened in 1881 as a toll bridge. That also would’ve been a time when you paid to cross the river using the Hickory Street suspension bridge.
So it cost a pretty penny to go through Warren in the 1880s! Sorry I couldn’t resist.

The original steel frame bridge was just wide enough for a walkway on the east side of it. The bridge deck could handle a buggy from either direction. I found a photo of the first bridge and sure enough one from the late 1800s that clearly shows my Dad wasn’t spinning a yarn. The tracks were designed to handle a street car. Streetcars were big in Warren back then. Do you remember dealing with the trolly tracks on 4th Avenue?

Photo submitted.

It was 1881 when Warren Bridge Company built the first Glade bridge. It didn’t take very long before they added a second level of framework. By the early 1900s the structure was reinforced, widened and those tracks were mounted on the top. I am not sure when the tracks were removed. I can only say that they were gone long before I came along.

As a kid growing up in “Glade” one of the things we did was jump from the bridge into the river. If you were really brave you would climb the upper structure and dive out to miss the walkway and hit the water. It was a hot summer one year when the newspaper showed up and took a photo of one of my friends taking a dive. That ended that! For the rest of the summer, the police made trips around the bridge. We all got the word we’d be in jail if we got caught!

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