Steel Shots: Steel Bridge Songfest

(Photo: City of Sturgeon Bay)

In Sturgeon Bay, Wis., a grassroots music festival called Steel Bridge Songfest benefits the local music scene and supports the preservation of the city’s historic Michigan Street Bridge (also known as the Sturgeon Bay Bridge), a veteran’s memorial dating back to 1931 that locals lovingly refer to as the Steel Bridge. Once threatened with demolition, the bridge has been saved and restored by the funds and awareness raised by the festival, and is now protected by the National Register of Historic Places. The fest has been held each summer since 2005, and this year’s celebration is currently taking place through June 12.

This 1,420-ft landmark bridge spans the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, connecting Wisconsin Highway 57 to the central business district of Sturgeon Bay in scenic Door County. It is also recognized for its engineering and design, primarily for its unique upper bascule section. The bridge is comprised of a double-leaf, rolling-lift moveable span and 12 steel truss approach spans.

In 2009, the bridge underwent an extensive rehabilitation that involved creating a four-lane solution for the two-lane structure, which saved millions of dollars in replacement costs. It was re-opened on July 1, 2011—just days before celebrating the structure’s 80th birthday on July 4.