The Viaduct Story.
The Mahoning River was spanned by many different types of bridges.
First a wooden covered bridge next an iron bridge which was supported
by a stone pier in the middle of the river. It was replaced by
the iron bridge when high water washed one side away. The “Iron
Bridge” built by Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, in
1882 was replaced by the viaduct in 1933.
There had been two major floods of the Mahoning River(1901 and
1913) where the waters flowed over the Iron Bridge. After experiencing
the 1913 flood, the South Side Improvement Club was formed to
help promote construction of a new since the south side was frequently
isolated from the rest of the city by the rising of the Mahoning
The Nile Bridge project was first suggested some time prior to
1924. A consulting engineer was hired to estimate the cost of
the bridge and assist the county engineer is preparing plans which
were presented in 1926. Three prominent real estate men were appointed
to make an estimate of the damage to the adjoining properties
that in any way might be involved in the work of construction.
The general plans were approved and adopted in 1927 and a permit
was secured from the War Department for the construction of the
bridge over the Mahoning River which was still classified as a
navigable stream. Notices were served upon the property owners
in April 1927 and they were notified to file their claims. The
total cost of the bridge construction and settlement of property
claims was $627,000.
Damage claims began to be submitted and when all were filed there
was a total of $$630,000 demanded by the property owners.
The Iron Bridge was a flat steel bridge which spanned the Mahoning
River. Main Street sloped down to the bridge beginning at State
Street and past Water Street. On the South Side, First Street
was level with the bridge. The buildings along both sides of Main
Street would either be destroyed or access the new Viaduct with
a higher entrance on the second floor. The Eagles Building is
a good example of the height change that would occur in the viaduct
On Sept. 16, 1932 the first load of material arrived for the construction
of the Viaduct. On Sept. 19, work started on the temporary bridge
and it was opened Oct. 20th, at which time, this old iron bridge
was torn down.