A Piece of History

City of Madison given
two steel beams from old bridge

Officials want local artists
to help decide how to display them

(January 2014) – Last summer, Walsh Construction Co. removed the “builders plate” from the old Milton-Madison Bridge at the outset of the demolition of the 84-year-old structure and presented it to the City of Madison, as set forth in the terms of the construction contract. Workers delivered it to Madison Mayor Damon Welch’s office, where it remains.

Bridge Beam

Photo courtesy of Andrew Forrester

An Omega Demolition Co. worker loads
the steel beams onto
a trailer to be delivered to Madison City Garage.

City officials have not yet decided how best to display the small, steel plate. They considered giving it to the Jefferson County Historical Society, but recently they were contacted by Milton, Ky., officials about its future use. In December, officials from both towns met to discuss how the plate could be displayed, perhaps on a rotational basis on both sides of the river.
Now another relic of the old bridge has been obtained by the City of Madison – two six-foot-long steel beams from the original bridge superstructure. After some difficult negotiations, the project subcontractor, Omega Demolition Co., agreed to deliver two beams to the city garage last November. City officials hope to use the beams to create an artistic sculpture to commemorate the bridge’s history well into the future, said Andrew Forrester, the city’s Community Relations Manager.
Although no definite plans on how or where to locate the sculpture, Forrester said he plans to gather input from some local artists and sculptors.

Bridge Plate

Photo by Don Ward

The old bridge plate was presented to the City of Madison last summer.

Madison-based sculptor artist Eric Phagan said he had been contacted about going down to the city garage to view the beams and provide his thoughts to how they might be used. He said he had not yet done that but offered his ideas of having them become part of a sculpture or structure to be erected at Lytle Park on West Street. He has been pushing for several years for a sculpture park to be established there, and he had one of his own sculptures erected there a few years ago.
He also suggested that perhaps the Arts Academy and building trades class at Madison Consolidated High School, where he teaches art, could be involved in the design of such a sculpture.
“It’s too bad we couldn’t have obtained more pieces of the old bridge because we are all about history in Madison,” Phagan said. “These beams definitely need to be examined by someone with an artful eye and to be used in something with purpose and not just stuck up somewhere in town to collect dust.”
In addition to Lytle Park, Phagan suggested that the riverfront also be considered as a location for any future sculpture that incorporates the bridge beams, since it would reflect the river as an appropriate setting.

Back to January 2014 Articles.



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