King Iron Bridge Company

The King Iron Bridge Co. played an important role in the development and construction of metal truss bridges, a product of American engineering and construction technology, nationwide during the later part of the Nineteenth Century. The King Iron Bridge & Manufacturing Co. was organized under that name in Cleveland in 1871 by Zenas King, who had started his career in building bridges in 1858. King came to Cleveland from Cincinnati around 1861, and by 1865 had established his works on Wason (East 38th St.) between St. Clair and Hamilton Avenue. The Company moved to a larger plant on Ruskin Ave.(East 69th St.) around 1888.

The Company's business at first was confined to manufacturing iron arch and swing bridges. By 1878 it was building all types of truss, combination, and wooden bridges, including King's patented tubular arch, as well as iron roof trusses, fencing, and jail cells. During the 1880's the Company was the largest highway bridge works in the country, having built bridges in Topeka, KA., Santa Rosa, CA., Binghamton, NY., Bowling Green, KY., Ft. Laramie, WY., and Macon, Ga.

Upon King's death in 1892, the Company's name was changed to the King Bridge Company. The Company built bridges in Cleveland that include the Central Viaduct in 1888; the Center Street swing bridge in 1901, Cleveland's last remaining swing bridge; and the 591 ft. steel arch of the Detroit-Superior (Veteran's Memorial) bridge in 1918. The Company disbanded in the 1920's.