Sunday, August 20, 2006

Artifacts, II

The weathered plaque above the entrance reads:

Federal Works Agency
Public Works Administration

John M. Carmody
Federal Works Administration

Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States

Cuyahoga River Improvements
Columbus Road Bridge

The City of Cleveland
Harold H. Burton, Mayor

The pair of images above show the Columbus Road lift bridge and bridge 'shed' in Cleveland's industrial Flats. In several locations around the Flats, these bridge 'sheds' stand unnoticed and unused, while residential developments grow ever-closer in at least two of these locations (Columbus Road lift bridge and Center Street swing bridge).

At Columbus Road, Irishtown Bend Townhouses have risen across the street (behind the photographer in the above photos), while Lolly the Trolley 'train barns', the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, the Cleveland Rowing Foundation boathouse, a future towpath trail extension and other plans are quickly displacing industry in this area of the Cuyahoga River basin.

Today's public dollars support recreational and residential growth where New Deal investments for industrial recovery were once built - creating an exciting opportunity for the rusted saviors of the past to be economic engines for a new era of growth in the Cuyahoga River Valley. Among architects and urbanists designing, researching and planning within the architypical industrial context, how will the forgotten artifacts of the City's past re-emerge to define new urban paradigms? Can the challenges of forgotten industry establish a local design culture or 'school' of thought?

Above, an image of the bridge shed between the Center Street swing bridge (not captured in this photo) and the Cuyahoga River below. Beyond, the growing Stonebridge development on either side of the old Superior Viaduct.

Note: For interesting surfing, see Save Our Steel, "A grassroots effort to preserve Bethlehem's past while ensuring its economic future." Be sure to view the photos of a model for a mixed-use redevelopment of the former Bethlehem Steel plant which includes a slots casino, SteelStax concert venue and a hotel.


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