Throwback Thursdays: The Centre Street Bridge

This week’s Throwback Thursday photograph comes courtesy of the Collection of the Glenbow Museum Archives and it’s of the MacArthur Bridge, the predecessor to today’s Centre Street Bridge, and it was taken in 1912.

The MacArthur Bridge, a steel truss bridge built by the Centre Street Bridge Company Limited, was destroyed by a flood in 1915.  The City of Calgary spent $365,000 to replace it with a bridge designed by John F. Green, which has since become known as the Centre Street Bridge.

Made of reinforced concrete and featuring an upper and lower deck, the marquee pieces of the new bridge were four large cast concrete lines on four massive plinths with two lions positioned at the end of each side of the bridge.  Designed by Scottish mason James L. Thompson, the lions were modelled after the brass lions at the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London.  The upper deck spans 178 metres and is 15 metres wide, while the lower deck spans 150 metres and is 5.5 metres wide.

The Centre Street Bridge opened on December 18, 1916.  In 2000, the City of Calgary restored and renovated the bridge.  During the restoration, the original four lions were replaced with replicas, and one of the lions was restored and is currently on display in front of City Hall.  The other three lions are currently held in long term storage at the city’s maintenance yard in Mayland Heights.

That’s it for this week’s Throwback Thursday.  Tune in next week and every week in 2012 for more glimpses into the past of Downtown Calgary.

Do you have any photos of downtown Calgary from the past that you’d like to share with us?  If so, send us an e-mail [email protected]owncalgary.com and it may appear in our weekly segment!