March 10, 1929: Fox Studios film Aerial Transfer Bridge 

On this day in Duluth in 1929, the Duluth Herald reported that a film crew from Fox Studios had visited the Zenith City and had filmed the Aerial Transfer Bridge at work ferrying people, cars, streetcars across the canal. The bridge, in operation since 1905, was set top be converted into a lift bridge beginning later that summer. During its lifetime, the bridge was famous around the world for its unique design as the only stiff-trussed transfer bridge ever built. But it could no longer keep up with traffic demands, and on April 5 Duluthians were set to vote on the plan to convert it. So Fox sent a crew to capture the bridge on film before its gondola car was dismantled. F. C. Suessenguth, Fox’s northwest representative, filmed the bridge, even reportedly getting a shot of its driving mechanism at work. The studio promised Duluth officials that the film would be seen “throughout the united States, Canada, and other foreign countries.” The photo accompanying the story included Finance Commissioner W. S. McCormick and Public Works Commissioner W. H. Tischer, indicating they may also have appeared in the film. McCormick was city comptroller in 1901 when the original contract to build the bridge was signed, and as Finance Commissioner in 1929 he would sign the contract for its conversion to a lift bridge. It is not known if a print of the film still exists.

A lithographic postcard of Duluth’s Aerial Transfer Bridge, ca. 1910. (Image: Zenith City Press)