Rochester’s South Hill Bridge Opens in early 1900’s

The best we can tell this is a film that someone found from the opening of the Rochester’s South Hill Bridge. It appears to be early 1900’s.  It was said to be the largest structure of it’s kind in that day!  If you have more information on this please forward it to our editor at Rochester South Hill Bridge Opening 1900



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  1. According to A Lively Town, the South Hill Bridge opened in 1927. Until then, horse drawn wagons and motor vehicles coming into town made a long, down hill run from Avon Road, crossed the Clinton River, and then had to climb up a hill to get to downtown Rochester. There had been a trestle bridge to carry the Detroit United Railways cars that spanned this area from 1899 – 1930’s. Eventually the interurban line was closed down in Southeast Michigan and all the tracks were removed as well as the large wooden trestle.
    Oral histories tell us many drivers backed up the hills in motor vehicles because reverse was a lower gear for climbing and and to avoid having the fuel in gas tanks flow to the back of the tank and stall the engine when climbing.

    Patrick McKay
    Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

  2. This event took place on November 9, 1927.

  3. Before the bridge was built in 1927 in the video you found, traffic came all the way down the hill to the present day bridge on Diversion / South Street over the Paint Creek. There was a wooden trestle that the trolley rode at the elevation of the current bridge but the road was steep. I have heard that early cars had to back up the hill because the incline was so great the gas in the cars couldn’t reach the carburetor. Below are links to Deborah Larsen’s blog about the first bridge (1927) and its replacement in 1990.

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