Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Tracy Harpster, Mary Grace

Date: August 23, 2023

With Captain Tracy Harpster at the helm, he piloted us across Burt Lake and up the winding.  Crooked River (part of the Michigan Inland Waterway). Miles upriver at the small village of Alanson, we motored under the world’s smallest operating swing bridge. On a nearby barn hung a sign, “Sound Horn to Swing Bridge”. When built in 1901, a manual key and large hand crank was used to open the bridge until the 1960’s. A hydraulic motor is now used to turn the bridge. We had a few feet to spare but taller boats or a boat with a mast would have to notify the operator to swing the bridge 90 degrees to permit the boat to pass safely. A Swing Bridge Walk is held on Labor Day and a short walk it is indeed, but the event draws a big crowd. Why? Because it is the “World’s Shortest Swing Bridge Walk”. A tiny city park with free boat parking was nearby and two restaurants were two blocks away. Tracy said there was a porta john in the park and there wasn’t. So, I had to embarrassingly water the grass. I am sure that Tracy will fabricate a tall tale about this funny incident.

A history side note: while researching old Dayton Herald files, I discovered a swing bridge was once operating in Moraine near the Dryden Road and Northlawn Avenue location. A swing bridge was used to cross the Miami & Erie Canal.

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