Friday, July 6, 2012

Weekend Tour is Only Chance to Explore Bridge & Subway This Year

Tomorrow from 9 am to 3 pm, the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge opens for its annual free tour.  The  old streetcar level is one of the city's strangest, most fascinating places, and Saturday is the only day the bridge will be open this year.

Exploring the bridge, officially known as the Veterans Memorial Bridge, has become a staple of Cleveland's summertime culture. The Cuyahoga County public works department has been offering tours on holiday weekends for about ten years -- three times a summer for a while -- and the bridge also became the Ingenuity Festival's home.  But Ingenuity is moving to the docks behind Browns Stadium this September, and the engineer's tours are down to one a year. July 7 is your only chance to visit.

Visitors can walk the entire mile-long lower level and explore Cleveland's "subway," the underground streetcar stations at West 25th and West 9th streets. The stations, closed off when streetcars stopped running in 1954, have the spooky look of ruins but the grandeur of classic engineering and a time-capsule feel.

Various exhibits will line the bridge, and streetcar films will play in a theater-like alcove near the entrance off Superior Viaduct. The Bridge Project, an organization that wants to open the lower level as a pedestrian and bike corridor, will stage meetings inside the bridge during the tour.

To see more pictures of the bridge during the tours, see this blog post.

To watch Jasper Wood's "Streetcar," a short film from the 1950s that shows streetcars crossing the bridge and passing the West Side Market and other landmarks, click here.

For our blog coverage of past Ingenuity events on the bridge, from a speakeasy party to a 130-foot waterfall, click here and here.

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