George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge
October 31 may be Halloween, but it’s also the anniversary of one of Louisville’s nationally recognized historic places.
Originally known as the Louisville Municipal Bridge, the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge opened in 1929 to much fanfare, although it was the eve of the Great Depression. Even President Hoover was on hand for the festivities.
The Louisville Municipal Bridge was the first Ohio River bridge between Louisville and Cincinnati built exclusively for vehicular traffic. The four-lane bridge operated on tolls until 1946.
Three years later it was renamed in honor of Louisville’s founder, George Rogers Clark, but it's popularly known as the Second Street Bridge.
The Clark Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and is the only regional bridge that allows non-motorized traffic to cross the Ohio River. Pedestrian sidewalks line both sides of the bridge.
It is also a major focus for the annual Thunder Over Louisville fireworks display.
Today, the former toll house, the Municipal Bridge Building, is home to the administrative offices of the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention & Tourism Bureau. The building retains many of its original fixtures and is available for touring.
- According to "The Encyclopedia of Louisville," it was Robert Worth Bingham, publisher of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times, that gave the first serious suggestion that an automobile bridge be built between Jeffersonville, Ind., and Louisville, Ky. This occurred at the 1919 New Year’s Day reception of the Louisville Board of Trade.
- It was designed by architect Paul R. Cret, and the lead engineer was Ralph Modjeski of the firm of Modjeski and Masters. Modjeski was the son of Polish-American actress Helena Modjeska - the inspiration behind the Modjeska marshmallow caramel.
- Modjeski and Cret teamed up on another Kentucky-Indiana project in 1930 – the Ohio River bridge at Maysville.
- The bridge and administration building were built for a total of $4.7 million and the debt was paid off several years early.
- The renaming of the bridge in 1949 was commemorated with a plaque (in 1950) from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
- The Municipal Bridge Building is owned by the city of Jeffersonville, Ind.
Learn about more of Greater Louisville's bridges and roadways in this Season Three Et Cetera.
- Program 405
- Viewers can spend a little spooky time with "Louisville Life", as we introduce a local ghost hunter. Plus, a family of quintuplets prepares for a birthday, and we visit a Louisville staple - Mike Linnig's Restaurant. (#405)