The Dewar Bridge on Chalmers Forrest Road just north of Kingwood in Wellesley Township has been rebuilt, with memories of the past built in.
The new structure includes a plaque commemorating the previous one, which was one of the earliest rigid frame bridges in the township. The span included engravings on four of the railings listing people involved with its construction.
When the township put the bid out to have it replaced, someone at the engineering firm hired to do the preliminary work noticed the engravings and wondered if the township staff wanted a plaque created, said Nancy Maitland, the curator at the Wellesley Township Heritage and Historical Society.
“When they were putting the contract out to tender, the construction company paid for the plaque. They put that in, that they would cover the cost of putting that plaque up. So we were just thrilled,” she said.
The inscribed names include: Councillor John W. Brunett – served on Township Council 1930-1934, 1946; Councillor George Voll - served on Wellesley Township Council, 1920-1931, 1933-1939; and Councillor George Boehm - served on Wellesley Township Council, 1932-1934.
“It was very, very faint. And I went out there to actually try and copy what they actually said, but I actually had to trace it with my finger to say is that a G or C,” said Maitland.
“We think that’s important because they are really prominent names in Wellesley, almost all of them. So it’s great to memorialize those people who were involved, with relatives living here now.”
The bridge was a public works project during the Great Depression, and was built with relief labour. It opened in 1934, said Maitland, though no one knows why it’s called the Dewar bridge.
Maitland said that staff had considered saving the actual pieces of the bridge that were engraved, but ultimately decided to let them go since they weighed 800 pounds each, there was no space for them, and moving them would be difficult.
“We really tried, but there were just too many obstacles,” she said.
A plaque unveiling will take place onsite Saturday (May 6) at 2 p.m.