Sunday, April 25, 2010

Guardians of Traffic

The Lorain-Carnegie Bridge was completed in 1932, reaching 5,865 feet across the Cuyahoga River, connecting the east and west sides. It features fabulous art deco statues, carved from Berea sandstone, and designed by sculptor Henry Hering and architect Frank Walker, facing in both directions at either end of the bridge. Each of the "Guardians of Traffic" (so they are actually called - I have always mistakenly referred to them as guardians of transportation) hold some wheeled vehicle; a car, truck or wagon of some kind. They each specify the "spirit of progress through transportation," said the bridge designer, WIlbur Watson.

They evoke several different styles all at the same time, from the wings of an Assyrian bull, the winged helm of the Greek god Hermes, and the striking angular, art deco fashion that was demanded at the time. The funding was approved in 1927, before the economy soured, and a lowered level dedicated to commercial traffic was scrapped.

In the 1980s it was renamed the Hope Memorial Bridge, after the father of legendary funny man Bob Hope. William Henry Hope was Cleveland-area stonemason.

20th Century Society of the North Carolina Mountains
Cleveland Magazine

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