The two co-authors of this book must have spent endless hours in exhaustive research in the preparation of this manuscript. Here included is a compilation of a wealth of information, both technical and general as well as anecdotal, on the most important bridges in Cuyahoga County. This book should hold interest of all civil engineers in Ohio as well as lay persons who have a particular bent for history.
Over half a century has passed since the publication of the only other book on bridges in the county. Consequently this book not only updates the former book, but also presents much greater detail concerning all important Cuyahoga County bridges.
This book has been written by two native Clevelanders, one eastsider and one westsider, who are enthusiasts of engineering-history and are proud of their city. John R. Wolfs, a graduate of both Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, was formerly City Engineer of Cleveland and Chief Engineer of the Cleveland Cuyahoga County Port Authority. Sara Ruth Wilson is a writer, teacher and lecturer. A graduate of Western Reserve University where she took a Ph.D in English Literature. Dr. Watson, now retired, taught for thirty years at Fenn College and Cleveland State University. Not only did she teach courses in English, she also taught a course in the History of Civil Engineering. This pioneer course initiated in 1940, was almost unique; only Purdue University offered a similar course.
The American Society of Civil Engineers awarded her the Society’s prestigious History and Heritage Award for her life-time interest in Civil Engineering History.
It is only proper that the book should be dedicated to Dr. Wilbur J. Watson, designer of a number of the county’s most important bridges and father of co-author Dr. Sara Ruth Watson. A glance at Appendix B, “Bibliography” , will show that Dr. Wilbur J. Watson, (1871-1939), through books and articles, has kept alive for posterity the record of his accomplishments.
History buffs will undoubtedly find considerable interest in the anecdotes concerning the manner in which the bridges across the Cuyahoga River accelerated the growth and development of the City of Cleveland during the early and mid 1800’s. The treatment later given the four great bridges across the Cuyahoga River is fully detailed and of particular interest.
The co-authors have successfully stressed the fact that the Cuyahoga River is fully replete with all the principal types of bridge structures. Many residents of the county are not cognizant of the fact that many tourists to Cleveland take the boat ride up the Cuyahoga River principally to see the bridges in the county. The co-authors have also rightly given credit to the eminent civil engineers who were responsible throughout all history in the design of the county’s bridges.
Inasmuch as both co-authors have been long-time friends of mine I deem it a genuine privilege to prepare this Foreword, Dr. Sara Ruth Watson was my associate at Fenn College for many years and John Wolfs, was a former student of mine at Case Institute of Technology, and currently we serve together on the National Committee on the History and Heritage of American Civil Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Cleveland, Ohio G. Brooks Earnest