The public is invited to attend the unveiling of a new interpretive sign honoring the McMillin Bridge and Homer Hadley, the structural engineer who conceived the major design features of the bridge.
The sign dedication begins at 6 p.m. May 15 at the Foothills Trail McMillin Trailhead off of Highway 162 East near 140th Street East. Please RSVP at www.piercecountywa.org/mcmillinbridge. Parking is limited at the trailhead, so carpooling is encouraged.
The Pierce County Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission is hosting the dedication, and has invited Homer Hadley’s grandchildren, Robert Hadley and Lisa Hadley to attend and tell stories about their grandfather.
“Pierce County has a rich cultural and built heritage, including the McMillin Bridge,” said Brett Santhuff, chair of the commission. “This is a unique structure of local and national significance—a place that matters. May is Preservation Month and we are proud to honor this bridge and those who advocate for its continued use and preservation.”
The new interpretive sign allows Foothills Trail users to learn more about the through truss bridge, which is the only structure of its kind in the world. Its design features steel-reinforced concrete trusses with portals for sidewalks to pass through. When completed in the fall of 1935, the 170-foot-long bridge was hailed as the longest reinforced concrete bridge span in the United States.
The McMillin Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Washington State Heritage Register and the Pierce County Register of Historic Places. The bridge is owned and maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation. A new highway bridge bypassed the bridge in 2015, and the McMillin Bridge now sits between Highway 162 East and the Foothills Trail.
Learn more about Pierce County’s historic preservation efforts at www.piercecountywa.org/HistoricPreservation.
Chad Williams, Planning and Public Works senior planner
Sheryl Rhinehart, Planning and Public Works public information specialist