Quick — where is the Memorial Bridge in Elkhart?
Unless you’ve noticed the plaques on the bridge or are sharply attuned to local history, you might not realize it’s the bridge over the St. Joseph River on North Main Street just north of the downtown business district.
Officially, it’s known as the Main Street Memorial Bridge, but many people refer to it as the Main Street bridge.
But at 11 a.m. Thursday – a day before the Memorial Day weekend begins – city officials will rededicate the bridge with a ceremony.
The rededication is a reminder of the name’s original objective, according to a statement released announcing the ceremony.
Among the activities, a veterans’ color guard will participate and there will be a 21-gun salute and playing of the taps.
Mayor Dick Moore is expected to address the gathering. A collection of classic cars from the early 1900s will close the ceremony by driving across the bridge.
Banners and flags representing each of the military branches will be on display and there are plans to permanently spruce up the bridge.
The city redevelopment commission on May 13 approved spending about $10,000 for materials for the bridge rededication.
While the ceremony is set for 11 a.m., people are encouraged to gather at 10:30 a.m. at the Havilah Beardsley House property at the corner of North Main and Beardsley Avenue just north of the bridge.
Plaques on the bridge mention the dates 1917 and 1918 and list 59 names of people from Elkhart County who died in World War 1. Since the bridge was memorialized prior to World War 2, World War 1 was described as “The World War.”
The bridge was rehabbed in 1986 with a protective sealant and is one of several arch-style bridges in Elkhart County, according to historicbriges.com.
According to the website, it was constructed in 1927.
World War 1 began 100 years ago this year.