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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Wealthy St. Bridge

Wealthy St. Bridge

GRHC - October 14th, 2009

Grand Rapids Historical Commission and the Community Media Center present Glance at the Past. This week's episode focuses on the FIRST Wealthy Street Bridge.



The Wealthy St. Bridge, built in 1905, was a draw bridge, sometimes called a swing bridge, which swung to the side to allow boats to pass. At that time there was boat traffic on the Grand River. The Jesiek Brothers had established a boat livery business on the east bank of the river before the bridge was built. After its construction the boat business stood at the very foot of the bridge.

Gus Jesiek, the eldest brother made the following offer to the Common Council:

Gentlemen—I respectfully represent to you that I, with my three brothers, are engaged in business near the east end of the Wealthy St. bridge, and can conveniently care for and operate the draw of the bridge as it may be required. I therefore offer to swing the draw at any time, and any day, and every day and night in the week when navigation requires it. And to oil the machinery of the draw, to put out all night signals as required by the City Engineer, and to care for the bridge except the sweeping and cleaning, and to give it full attention for the sum of nine dollars per week for the navigation season of 1907.

The Common Council accepted the Jesiek’s offer, but we don’t know if the brothers considered nine dollars per week adequate compensation for duty all day, every day, or if they continued tending the bridge for more than one season.


Full Details

TitleWealthy St. Bridge
KeywordsGlance at the Past, Wealthy Street bridge, radio, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission
Pubdate StringOctober 14th, 2009

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