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Coal Bridge: 1942

Coal Bridge: 1942

December 1942. "Bridge with five-ton coal bucket, Milwaukee Western Fuel Co." Photo by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Milwaukee-Western Fuel Co.

The Milwaukee-Western Fuel Company in 1940 consolidated most of its coal receiving and storage operations to an expanded facility by leasing adjacent Milwaukee Gas Light Company land along the north bank of the Menomonee River, less than a mile northwest of downtown Milwaukee, between North 13th and North 22nd Streets. The accompanying detail of a photograph taken in 1945 by Milwaukee maritime historian Herman Runge shows what is probably the coal bridge depicted in the OWI image, a Mead-Morrison structure constructed, I believe, in 1915, although my records show it used a ten-ton clam shell. Milwaukee in the 1870s created a system of canals built south off the Menomonee that handled huge amounts of waterborne grain and especially coal back in the day, now, of course, virtually unused. The Harley Davidson Museum sits at the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers, just east of these canals.

Delano Does it Again

A very striking composition with the juxtaposition of the stark angles and piled coal in the foreground nicely framing the ghostly apparition of the bridge crane.

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