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PHOTOS: 100+ Years of Atlantic Blvd. Bridges in Pompano Beach

The Atlantic Blvd. Bridge History is in Many Ways the History of Pompano Beach

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by Jeff Levine, Pompano Beach News Columnist

ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY: As the city of Pompano Beach gets ready for the official unveiling of the redesigned Atlantic Blvd. Bridge, we thought it would be fun to take a look back.  We tracked down dozens of photos showing the Atlantic Blvd. Bridge history.  With thanks to the Pompano Beach Historical Society, let’s take a look at over 100 years of Atlantic Blvd. bridges.

>>>FOR PICTURES OF THE “NEW” BRIDGE AND FOR INFO ON THE JUNE 26th CELEBRATION, CLICK HERE.

In 1912, the Town of Pompano was four years old with a whopping population of about 300 people.  The heart of Pompano (the word “Beach” was added much later) centered around the area that is now referred to as Old Town- the area near the railroad tracks at the northeast corner of what is now W. Atlantic Blvd. and Dixie Highway.  The first waterway crossing, allowing travel from the mainland in Pompano to the ocean was built in 1912.  There were few permanent homes (or anything else) on either side of the intracoastal back then.

ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- first bridge 1912. Courtesy: Pompano Beach Historical Society
ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- first bridge 1912. Courtesy: Pompano Beach Historical Society

This structure was mostly, if not all wood.  In the early 1920’s, residents already planned to build a new bridge, made of wood and steel.  This looks like an artist’s rendering of the proposed bridge.

ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- second bridge artist rendering, early 1920's. Courtesy: Pompano Beach Historical Society
ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- second bridge artist rendering, early 1920’s. Courtesy: Pompano Beach Historical Society

The bridge, built in 1924, remained in place until 1955.  Over this time, the city grew quite a bit.  For a short while it was actually two cities- Pompano (the downtown area) and Pompano Beach (the barrier island).  They merged in 1947, gobbling up  the land between the two and formed the new City of Pompano Beach.  The city had a population close to 6,000 at this point and the beach area was hopping. In addition to a few small hotels, a good portion of land north of Atlantic Blvd. contained the Kester Cottages, small houses that were built primarily in the 1930’s throughout Pompano, Pompano Beach and Deerfield

>>>CLICK HERE  FOR OLD-TIME POMPANO BEACH PICTURES INCLUDING THE KESTER COTTAGES

Here is a picture of that long lasting bridge.  While, there were still no high rises in view, you can see what looks like it might be a building where 2nd Street Surf Shop now resides.

ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- picture taken in 1953. Courtesy: Pompano Beach Historical Society
ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- picture taken in 1953. Courtesy: Pompano Beach Historical Society

In 1955, the city was growing and it was time to build a modern bridge. The population had risen to around 10,000 by then. The new bridge was built slightly to the north of the old bridge and both bridges were in place for a short time.

BRIDGE HISTORY- in 1955, before the old bridge was taken down. Courtesy: Pompano Beach Historical Society
ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- in 1955, before the old bridge was taken down.

ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- built in 1955. This picture was taken in 1959.
ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- built in 1955. This picture was taken in 1959.

And, if this bridge looks familiar, that’s because it is the same bridge that exists today.  In fact the Bascule style design has undergone little change in it’s visual look… until this year, of course.  Even though the bridge remained the same, almost everything surrounding the bridge has changed in the past 65 years.

ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- built in 1955. This picture was taken in the 80s. Courtesy- State Archives
ATLANTIC BLVD. BRIDGE HISTORY- built in 1955. This picture was taken in the 80s. Courtesy- State Archives

That takes us to today and our Atlantic Blvd. Bridge history lesson is complete.

The bridge under redevelopment over the past year. Picture courtesy: Google
The bridge under redevelopment over the past year. Picture courtesy: Google

We’ll have a complete update after the grand opening ceremony on Wednesday.

>>>FOR NOW, HERE ARE VERY RECENT PICTURES OF THE BRIDGE INCLUDING THE ARTWORK THAT IS ON THE SIDES OF THE BRIDGE AND UNDERNEATH IT.

And, last but not least, this is the photo I found to be the most interesting in the entire bunch:

During WWII Pompano Beach and much of Broward was used for training soldiers heading off to Europe. In this picture, soldiers stop a vehicle crossing the Atlantic Blvd. Bridge. Courtesy: Pinterest
During WWII Pompano Beach and much of Broward was used for training soldiers heading off to Europe. In this picture, soldiers stop a vehicle crossing the Atlantic Blvd. Bridge. Courtesy: Pinterest

Author: LOCAL NEWS

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