Grand Rapids Crossing Tower Being Preserved

A tower that once guarded a grade crossing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will be restored.

MichiganThe more than 100-year-old Bridge Street Tower once protected the Pennsylvania and Pere Marquette railroads.

Built around 1910, the tower stood 50 feet high and operators worked in it on 12-hour shifts.

The tower is a throwback to an era when flagmen or tower operators protected railroad crossings before the advent of grade crossing gates and flashing signals.

The tower sits on property that was purchased by Charlie Secchia, of SIBSCO LLC.

Secchia was quoted by Trains magazine as saying that he is not a rail fan, but loves history and restoration.

“If we don’t preserve things for kids, they don’t know history,” Secchia said.

Currently, the top of the structure is being restored. Warped and deteriorated pine paneling and window frames are being replaced by treated lumber.

Secchia said he will have the structure painted gray with light green trim, which is how it appeared under Penn Central ownership.

Once rebuilt, the structure will be placed back on its original steel supports at Bridge Street and Seward Avenue.

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