Compiled Thoughts Concerning the
Old Iron Bridge
Clearwater Township
Kalkaska County. Michigan

1/03/02

Through our research about the Old Iron Bridge, so far, we have concluded that the roads north of the Old Iron Bridge was a original through way into town. According to a 1920, plat book map, Glade Valley Road connected to W. Kellogg road. Another road existed at that time from the junction of Glade Valley & W. Kellogg Rd. to Plum Valley Road at the intersection of Manley Rd. in Clearwater Twp. No records are found that indicate the public roads were legally given to the property owners and abandoned properly. Therefore, they remain public through ways.

We also have found in the 1906, Clearwater Twp. minutes that the E. Town Line Bridge/ Old Iron Bridge was repaired at least 2 times. The only bridges that existed at that time were the Aarwood Bridge and the E. Town Line Bridge. The bridges at Rapid City in Section 9 and the one in Section 14 at Kellogg Road were not in existence before 1903. We saw in the minutes that they were just talking about the need for building these bridges. Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate the Twp. minutes before 1900.

Rapid River had a dam at Rapid City erected in 1880, and it collapsed in 1920. We feel the E. Town Line Bridge was in existence around 1880, because the back waters of the dam would make it impossible for crossing any other part of the river. The old pictures of the Old Iron Bridge/ E Town Line Bridge, show that the waters were much higher because of the dam. The fact that logs were floated down the river would make it hard to cross through the water. A solid construction bridge would be needed to allow travel from the north side of town and from the country side to come into town.

We are currently researching the origin of the bridge. Much of the data we have collected is in Lansing, MI at the Michigan Historical Society. With the origin of the bridge, we can apply for funding to restore it. Mr. Musler, a retired engineer, rebuilds historic bridges and we are hoping to retain his professional opinion on restoration. In either case, the community is hoping this bridge will be preserved as a local and county historical site.

A fitting quote from a nearby resident, of the bridge is as follows:

The test of our communityís character may be in how well we keep and safe guard the unique nature and historical features that have been passed down through the generations for the benefit of all. We cannot afford to lose this Old Iron Bridge, this special place, access to this stretch of the river. Its not Ours to sell or trade, it belongs to the people of the community, some of Whom arenít even born yet.- Rick Waterman


If you would like to reply about this bridge, or contact a member of the Clearwater Conservancy, please visit our website at www.torchlake.com/oldironbridge  or email us at: cwc@torchlake.com - Clearwater Conservancy