For a better future, study the past.

Historic Lake Monroe Bridge in Sanford, Florida

Lake Monroe Historic Marker
The front side of the Lake Monroe Historic Marker
Lake Monroe Bridge marker
The backside of the Lake Monroe historic marker
Marker with the bridge in background
The old Lake Monroe Bridge with the historic marker showing in front.

 

The Lake Monroe Bridge was the first electronically operated swing bridge in Florida. In 1932-1933, the
state used Federal assistance to build the bridge, which replaced a wooden toll bridge that was manually
operated. The construction of the bridge provided economic relief for an area hurt by the economic
collapse of the Depression era. The bridge was fabricated by Ingalls Iron Works of Birmingham, Alabama;
the swing machinery manufactured by Earl’s Gears and Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and it
was erected by W. W. White Steel Construction of St. Petersburg, Florida. Kreis Contracting Company of
Knoxville, Tennessee was the general contractor for the Florida Department of Transportation. The
Florida Department of Transportation and Seminole County cooperated in preserving the swing span as
a fishing pier when the new Benedict Bridge was completed in 1994.

The Lake Monroe Bridge had historic impact on the communities of the area, but also is of historical
value as an example of a branch of bridge engineering.

The Lake Monroe Bridge was 627 feet, and included a 235 foot swing span. It carried the main route
linking Daytona Beach and Tampa, via DeLand, Sanford, Orlando, and Lakeland. It could pivot 360
degrees on its curved rack and two spur pinions.

The Warren-type through truss construction had a central panel section peaked to accommodate the
drive machinery. The Warren-type truss is considered the most economical type of construction for
continuous spans. It is characterized by diagonals that alternate in direction. The first diagonal beam
starts at base level and goes up to the top. The next level diagonal starts at the top and goes down to
the base level. The diagonals are in tension and compression in alternate panels. To meet the heavy
stresses of the swing span operation the bridge arms were heavily reinforced and had riveted
connections at all stress points. The harbor for Lake Monroe Park in Volusia County was created by fill
taken from the approaches to the Lake Monroe Bridge.

Lake Monroe Bridge dedication April 6, 1934
The April 6, 1934 Lake Monroe Bridge dedication. Image courtesy Florida Memory n028431

Local newspaper reports state that dedication of the $75,000 Bridge took place at a 3 p.m. ceremony on
April 6, 1934. Participants included Florida Governor David Sholtz and the Stetson University band. An image of the dedication is shown above.

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