This is a history of the Ames Avenue Bridge, which stood between the City of Omaha, Nebraska, and the City of Carter Lake, Iowa from circa 1890 to 1913.
As late at 1950, Ames Avenue continued due east from the Saratoga neighborhood straight down the hill to connect directly to Ames Avenue past North 16th Street instead of ending at Commercial Avenue. It stayed connected as it went east toward Carter Lake.
Once upon a time there was a bridge between Ames Avenue in North Omaha and Ave R in Carter Lake, which was originally called Ames Avenue too. Built circa 1890 by the Illinois Central Railroad, it was a railroad bridge that carried cargo from points west across the lake and towards the East Omaha Factory District, and in the other direction, from the east to Saratoga, Florence, and all points north.
After it was destroyed by the 1913 Easter Sunday tornado, the bridge was never rebuilt. In the mid-1930s, federal workers from the Carter Lake Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp demolished the rest of the bridge, which had been rotting in place for more than 20 years. They refurbished the western approach to the bridge as an earthen fishing pier and boat landing by adding cement block walls and planting a tree.
In the 1950s, the pier was refurbished again by a private investor to become the Carter Lake Pleasure Pier. There was a concession booth and dance floor built there, and with ample parking and the Carter Lake Kiddieland nearby it was a popular attraction for almost a decade.
Today, the original western approach to the Illinois Central Bridge across Carter Lake is still intact, and sometimes used for fishing. In Omaha, go to Ames Avenue and Carter Lake Shore Drive West, and then walk to the end of the pier. In Carter Lake, go to Wavecrest Park near Shoreline Drive, where there are no remnants. Neither side has a historic marker acknowledging the site.
Special thanks to Ryan Roenfeld for his contributions to this article.