A press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 19th at 11:30 AM for the grand re-opening of the restored Swinging Bridge in Baker Park.
CONTACT: Susan Harding, Public Information Officer, 301-600-1385
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Historic Swinging Bridge in Baker Park Open for Pedestrian Traffic
Frederick, MD -- A press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 19th at 11:30 AM for the grand re-opening of the restored Swinging Bridge in Baker Park. Mayor Randy McClement and Marc Stachowski, Deputy Director of Public Works, described the recent history of the Swinging Bridge project and recognized City staff, past and present, who contributed to the restoration of the historic Swinging Bridge.
The only suspension bridge in Frederick County, the Swinging Bridge stands as a “unique example of an iron bridge constructed for the exclusive use of pedestrians” according to the Maryland Historical Trust. In May 2002, the Swinging Bridge was closed following an inspection report that condemned the bridge for use. In 2003-2004, City Engineer Richard Lind was asked to develop the CIP Project Scope for the restoration of the landmark bridge using outside sources for the project. Design and construction estimated at a cost of $365,000. The cost was deliberated and rejected by The City of Frederick.
In 2010, Mayor Jeff Holtzinger, along with City Engineer Zack Kershner, re-scoped and re-scaled the original project to use in-house City staff to plan and complete the restoration of the Swinging Bridge. In-house City staff began the project in 2010 using selected material for long wear and low maintenance, including an ADA accessible entrance from the north bank of Carroll Creek and kick plates, toe guards and handrails installed to current codes. The final cost of restoration using in-house City staff totaled $190,300. A significant savings of $174,700 to The City of Frederick was made possible by utilizing the in-house work of City Staff.
Mayor Randy McClement said, “The bulk of the in-house labor came from the Department of Public Works with support from multiple City agencies. In-house staff worked diligently to refurbish the popular Swinging Bridge to specification that would make it safe for pedestrian traffic, ADA compliant and keep the historical significant look that makes it part of our history. Utilizing our talented City staff saved The City of Frederick a considerable sum of money. This was truly a team effort and will allow future generations to enjoy this historic landmark.”
According to documents from the Maryland Historical Trust, in the August 3, 1885 issue of the Daily News, a disastrous flood destroyed many wooden bridges over Carroll Creek. Specifically mention was that “the high footbridge across the creek in Mill Alley is a wreck”. Following that act of nature, a new iron bridge was to be constructed on that site in keeping with the popular use of iron during the late 1800’s.
Buckey and Firestone Company was contracted to construct the iron bridge. In an Articles of Agreement between the Mayor, Board of Aldermen and Buckey and Firestone Company, the bridge was to be constructed within a span of 60 days from the date of contract (October 3, 1885) over Carroll Creek and Bentz Street in Frederick City. This iron footbridge remained in this location until 1928 when a new bridge designed to accommodate vehicular traffic was built across Carroll Creek. The Swinging Bridge was then relocated to Baker Park. A local mason named Leroy Hoke moved the bridge to Baker Park between April and June of 1928 and it remains in that location today.