Janesville29.3°

View of bridge could improve

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ANN MARIE AMES
May 16, 2008
— Itís been written about and photographed for decades.

But today, passers-by canít get a good view of the Tiffany Stone Bridge from County J.


Dan and Pam DeLong, 6108 E. County J, Clinton, want to change that.


The five-arch bridge, built in 1869, is listed as Wisconsinís oldest stone arch bridge, according to the Wisconsin Historical Societyís online architecture and history inventory.


The bridge crosses Turtle Creek and is three miles straight east of Interstate 39/90, Dan DeLong said. Itís located north of County J, between the county road and Smith Road.


The bridge is visible from Smith Road.


In a letter to the Rock County Parks Committee, the DeLongs have offered to donate up to $10,000 to clear trash trees between County J and the bridge and to build a memorial on the site.


If there is enough interest in the site, the DeLongs would also donate a half-acre parcel to allow tour buses to turn around at the bridge. The family was first approached in the 1970s by a bus tour conductor interested in a turn-around at the site, Dan DeLong said.


Rock County Board Supervisor Kurtis Yankee said the committee is interested in the DeLongsí donation.


The committee needs to work out details with the DeLongs, Yankee said. Once the committee is comfortable with the agreement, the plan would move to the full board.


ďItís probably one of the best-kept secrets or views in Rock County,Ē Yankee said.


The bridge has been a well-documented secret.


According to The Janesville Gazetteís records, Janesville resident John Watson used limestone from Janesville and across the state to build the 387-foot bridge. It was constructed when North Western Railway was building a rail line from Chicago to the Twin Cities.


The bridge is 12 feet across at the base and 16 feet wide at the top, according to Gazette records. Each arch spans 50 feet.


In the 1930s, the bridge was reinforced to hold 234-ton loads rather than the 43-ton loads it was built for, according to Wisconsin Historical Society online records.



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