As a former gritty and coal-fueled industrial powerhouse, Cleveland, Ohio was once crisscrossed by the steel rails that brought coke, coal, iron ore, and untold other materials to the steel mills and factories.
Rail was king at the time. Across the city were gleaming steel twin rails twisting and turning through Cleveland’s Flats, the industrial valley along the Cuyahoga River. Although most of the mills are gone and most of the tracks have been dismantled or scrapped, there are still a few grand examples of Northern Ohio’s rail and steel past.
Take for instance, the old Baltimore and Ohio Cuyahoga River Jack-Knife Bridge #464. The massive old lift bridge built in 1907 allowed trains to cross the Cuyahoga River and freighters to pass. Today, it stands as a sentinel against the blue skies rusted and covered in vines. Visitors to the bridge can park right next to the structure and walk up the trackbed. Gazing towards the sky, one can see gargantuan rusted-red gears, a dizzying geometric spread of girders, and the rusty rails still attached to the wooden railroad ties of the bridge. The site allows for some amazing views and photography opportunities.
Wedding parties use it regularly in the summer months for a scenic backdrop for their special occasion.
Know Before You Go
Park at the Shooter's/Cleveland Improv Night Club; on some weekdays, parking is free, or find another spot nearby on the streets. You can't miss the bridge. Just be sure to stay on the wooden boardwalk constructed through the bridge, and definitely do NOT attempt to climb on anything.