In Indianapolis, Meridian Street is aptly named as it divides the Westside from the Eastside. For many years, it served as US 31 on the Northside. And what a lovely drive it is, lined all the way with luxurious and often historic homes.
Meridian Street and US 31 have an interesting history on Indianapolis’s Northside, as this street didn’t extend north of the Central Canal and Westfield Boulevard, about a mile to the south, when the US highway system was instituted in 1926. That year, a bridge was built over the canal and Meridian Street was presumably extended. But the bridge over the White River wouldn’t come until 1933, and so US 31 followed Westfield Boulevard until then.
In the map excerpt, Meridian Street curves sharply north of Kessler Boulevard on its way to the White River. But notice the street that extends straight where Meridian starts to curve. That’s Meridian Street West Drive, which sure looks to me like Meridian Street’s original alignment until the bridge was built.
I shot the above photo in 2007; this is the bridge’s southeast end. This bridge was in sorry shape then. In 2012, it underwent a much needed renovation. Here’s a photo I made of the bridge that year while hiking through nearby Holliday Park. The work was well underway; notice the condition of the arches and the new railing.
Recently I explored around and under this bridge on its north end, my Pentax KM and a 28mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-M lens along for the ride. I was shooting Kodak Tri-X that day.
This seven-span concrete-arch bridge is about 784 feet long. The White River is under only its threecentral spans. Its southmost span covers Riverview Drive, and the span immediately north of it goes over a levee. The northmost span covers a trail that links to Holliday Park. The arch to the south of it simply spans earth.
I explored the bridge from its north end this day. It still looks good after its 2012 renovation.
I just love being under a concrete bridge’s arch to see the slats from the original formwork in the concrete.
And of course it takes no time at all for graffiti to find its way onto a bridge’s nether regions. I wish I’d thought to photograph it just after it reopened, when it was still perfectly clean. But I also rather like finding graffiti under a bridge. It feels to me like a kind of communication among souls who find something compelling about such a place. I can’t imagine ever personally marking a bridge, but because I’m at home under a bridge I feel a certain kinship with people who would wield a rattle can here.
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Last updated on 15 March 2020 by Jim Grey