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Pieces of Old I-74 Bridge Donated to Museums

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Rock Island County Historical Society
Historical Society volunteer Leonard Lopez with one of the owls that used to sit way up high on the bridge to scare away birds.

The old I-74 Bridge will soon be gone, but thanks to some donations, not forgotten.

Two pieces of metal, and one of the owls that was supposed to scare away birds, have been donated to the Rock Island County Historical Society.

President Merredith Peterson says one metal piece weighs 75 pounds, is the size of a shoe box, and resembles a rolling pin without handles. It sat on top of the cement pillars to absorb vibration due to weather and traffic.

"It's like just a big wide tubular bearing that would allow the bridge to move. The sway that you felt was this thing doing its job."

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Rock Island County Historical Society
(l to r) Historical Society volunteers Leonard Lopez and Joshua Rounds, President Merredith Peterson, and volunteer Mark Slater, with one of the metal pieces donated to the society.

She also hopes the bridge piece donations will remind people of the man who designed the first span in the 1930's.

"It was the final project - the first span when it was the Memorial Bridge was the last project that Ralph Modjeski was involved with. And when you consider the first project he was involved with was the Government Bridge - what a bookend to that career."

A similar donation was made to the Putnam Museum in Davenport, and both come from the Helm Group, the demolition contractor, and the Iowa DOT.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.