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Fund Established with Bremer County Community Foundation to Honor Historic “Green” Bridge

Bremer County Community Foundation
April 27, 2021

Photo credit: 1918 bridge photo used with permission of the Iowa DOT.

The City of Waverly’s Historic Preservation Commission (WHPC) has established the Fund to Honor Waverly’s 3rd Street SE “Green” Bridge with the Bremer County Community Foundation. The goal is to raise dollars to assist in creating a permanent multifaceted memorial. The bridge is notable for its historic role in both Waverly and Bremer County, and also for its unique place in transportation history within the state of Iowa.

A three-component approach is planned to celebrate the bridge: informative signage, a descriptive bronze plaque, and an interactive public artwork known as “Visionary Sightseeing Binoculars.” The Waverly City Council has allocated $10,000 toward the project, which will pay for the first two items and provide seed money toward completion of the third. The art piece consists of what looks like a sightseeing binocular but is in fact a stereoscope containing four historical images showing the past and present of the bridge. Rebecca Hackemann, the artist, is a professor of photography and art at Kansas State University.

The goal for the fund is to raise an additional $10,000 to cover remaining memorial project costs. Donations received above and beyond the goal will be used to purchase additional signs and artwork, which will be installed in Waverly parks near the Cedar River on both the east and west side of the bridge.

Known as the Harmon Street Bridge in early years, this distinctively designed truss bridge was completed in 1917 under the direction of the Bremer County Board of Supervisors. The bridge met Waverly’s need to have a second crossing over the Cedar River due to the expanding population of the city. It provided an alternative route to connect the downtown commercial district to a growing residential neighborhood on the community’s south side. Its construction was one of the most significant Iowa pre-World War I transportation improvements and was part of the evolution of the Iowa State Highway Commission’s increasing efforts to standardize bridge safety and efficiency throughout the state.

The bridge was painted green in 1962 and became known thereafter as the “Green” Bridge. It was accepted for placement on the National Historic Register in 2018. The Waverly City Council has empowered the WHPC to initiate honoring this historically significant transportation landmark.

“This campaign allows the Waverly Historic Preservation Commission to create a way to honor the past, initiate educational programming and invite heritage tourism,” said Karen Lehmann, WHPC chairperson. “The ‘Green’ Bridge plays an important role in Waverly’s history and we want to ensure we commemorate this significant landmark in a manner that citizens, friends and visitors will enjoy for years to come. We hope the community will join us in this effort by making a gift to the fund.”

Financial gifts to support the fund can be made on the Community Foundation’s secure website at fund.cfneia.org/greenbridge. Gifts can also be made by check and mailed to the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, 3117 Greenhill Circle, Cedar Falls, IA, 50613. Checks should be made payable to the Fund to Honor Waverly’s 3rd Street SE “Green” Bridge. Donors to the fund can take advantage of normal federal deductions for charitable gifts. Gifts of $100 or more will entitle donors to a permanent name listing on site.

For more information about the fund, contact Laurie Everhardt, development director with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, at 319-243-1352 or leverhardt@cfneia.org.

Visit the City of Waverly’s website at waverlyia.com/whpc to learn more about the WHPC.

More information about the Bremer County Community Foundation can be found at bremerccf.org.

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