Parchment Residents Have Fond Memories Of Old Mosel Avenue Bridge
Constructed in 1924 before Parchment was even an incorporated city, the Mosel Avenue Bridge spanned the interurban rail line, which later became Riverview Drive, and the Kalamazoo River. The bridge holds a special place in the memories of longtime residents in the Parchment community. It was determined eligible for being listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, but was demolished in 1990. While in service, it was the second longest surviving concrete camelback bridge in the state of Michigan, designed by the Michigan State Highway Department (now MDOT).
The bridge was constructed to improve the road network on Kalamazoo's north side in the early 1920s. The project allowed travel across the Kalamazoo River and better access to nearby industries and the developing community of Parchment. Benefiting industries included automotive manufacturers on Pitcher Street and the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment Company on what was then River Road (now Upper Riverview Drive).
Presently, the intersection of Riverview and Mosel is a simple stop-and-go intersection with a traffic light and a bridge still spans the Kalamazoo River. When the old bridge existed, traffic had to use what were virtually 'exits' similar to a freeway to get to Mosel from Riverview as shown below. The upper left arrow is Commerce Lane and the lower arrow is Upper Riverview Drive. Also known as 'Old Riverview Service Road', the street continued north at the time to meet back up with Riverview Drive allowing more motorists to enter and exit at the Mosel Avenue Bridge.
In a discussion on the Facebook group Parchment, Michigan: Then & Now, many residents shared their memories of the bridge. Many recall stories from their parents and grandparents about hanging out at the banks of the river having picnics, fishing, and jumping into the river off of the bridge to swim. Lilacs also grew around it for many years to give it an even more quaint look. But not everything was perfect, and eventually it probably led to the decision to make Riverview and Mosel a regular intersection,
My mom, who was friends of the Kindleberger family, had told me that when they built the bridge over the river, Jacob tried to get them to build it wider, more lanes. Guess he had no luck. Ever since I can remember it was always a dangerous bridge going from 4 lanes down to two going over the river. There were lots of accidents some very bad. - Don Banner
Some residents, including Todd Bradley who now lives in Kalamazoo, have some of the original pillars that were part of the guardrails on the bridge.
I've got 2 of the concrete pillars for the guardrail from that bridge and I cherish the living daylights out of them. When I get time in my busy schedule, I'm putting lights on them at the end of our driveway. I remember high blood pressure on that bridge skateboarding over it and riding a bike down it. Yep good times down there. - Todd Bradley, former Parchment resident
An historical document that document the Mosel Avenue Bridge construction in-depth can be read by CLICKING HERE.