single frame: The Astronaut David Wolf Bridge

The Astronaut David Wolf Bridge

The Astronaut David Wolf Bridge
Kodak Signet 40
Kodak Gold 200

This is the last truss bridge still standing in Indianapolis. It was built in 1941 to carry State Road 100 across the White River. Its two Parker through trusses are bookended by Warren pony trusses.

In 1941, this was way out in the country. The Indianapolis city limits were several miles to the south. But as the city expanded outward, as cities do, eventually this region became suburban, and this road became a major shopping destination. This road, and therefore this bridge, were no longer sufficient for the traffic volume.

Fortunately, sane heads prevailed. When the road was widened to four lanes in the late 1980s, a new two-lane bridge was built alongside this one to carry westbound traffic. This bridge was left in place to carry eastbound traffic. In 2008 it received a thorough restoration. Somewhere along the way, the city of Indianapolis named it after astronaut David Wolf, who was born and raised here.

This is a challenging bridge to photograph given its length and how many strip malls crowd the area. Once I made a through-the-windshield video when I crossed this bridge; you can see it here.

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10 responses to “single frame: The Astronaut David Wolf Bridge”

  1. retrocrank Avatar

    I don’t recall ever having driven across that bridge, but nice work in “isolating” it among the suburban sprawl. And the Signet 40 gave a good image.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The Signet 40 has a pretty good lens.

  2. J P Avatar

    This is a great view, one that I never see despite frequently driving over this bridge.

    Am I right that SR 100 turned south at what is now Shadeland Avenue, making an early 1/2 of a beltway around the far north and east sides of the city?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      If you ever visit Reis-Nichols Jewelers, this is their view of the bridge.

      Also: complete history of SR 100:

      1. J P Avatar

        Thanks for the link – its history is a lot more convoluted than I thought. What little I had came from a former law partner who was in high school in the 50s. I guess this would explain how there got to be so much development along parts of that route, particularly Shadeland north of Washington Street, an area that was once an industrial powerhouse.

  3. Lisa Marie Stevens Avatar

    If you like old truss bridges we have five of them here in Joliet,IL which link the east side to the west side of town crossing over the DesPlaines River. They are lift bridges of course to allow the river traffic to pass through. The truss bridge over I-80 is in disrepair, built in early 1960’s. I refuse to drive over it. There is a lot of truck traffic going through town now and often there is a back up over the bridge waiting to exit just east of the bridge. 😬

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      When my sons and I did Route 66 in 2013 we started in Joliet. Had no idea there were lift bridges there! My wife is from St. Charles and even though no family still lives there we’ve gone up a couple times. If we go again we’ll stop in Joliet to see the bridges!

      1. Lisa Marie Stevens Avatar

        You’ve got to go downtown to see them. Surprised you missed them on the 66 tour.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I have a dim memory of bridges when we hit Joliet but we were focused on 66 and just went on our way. I am starting to regret that now!

          1. Lisa Marie Stevens Avatar

            I get it. No worries, Jim, those bridges are not going anywhere anytime soon, much to the chagrin of the locals.

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