Bridges of Valor

Chippewa Falls honors veterans with five bridges

Haley Wright, photos by Andrea Paulseth

central street bridge
Central Street Bridge

On Memorial Day in 2018, five bridges in Chippewa Falls were dedicated in honor of all five military service branches. The bridges, now called the Chippewa Falls Memorial Bridges – including the bridge on Central Street, which is dedicated to the U.S. Army; the bridge on Grand Avenue, which is dedicated to the U.S. Air Force; the bridge on Columbia Street, which is dedicated to the U.S. Navy; the bridge on Jefferson Avenue, which is dedicated to the U.S. Marines; and the bridge on Bridgewater Avenue, which is dedicated to the U.S. Coast Guard – honor all who have served.

Chippewa Falls native Scott Sullivan, who comes from a military family, spearheaded the dedication of the bridges. 

“After touring many military museums across the country, and particularly the WWII museum in New Orleans and the Battleship USS Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, it sparked my interest to get this done for our city,” Sullivan said.

He felt if other cities and states were dedicating bridges to their military history, he would like to do the same for his hometown. Sullivan initially proposed the bridge project to the Chippewa Falls City Council, which recommended that he work with the Patriotic Council and the Chippewa County Veteran’s Services Office. The project was primarily citizen-funded, and also received a $1,500 donation from the Chippewa Falls Elks Lodge. The City of Chippewa Falls donated the labor to hang the signs.

Sullivan noted that Chippewa Falls has a rich military history, and that 5% of all Medal of Honor recipients and three generals from the State of Wisconsin hail from Chippewa Falls. The U.S. Army Bridge on Central Street specifically honors Medal of Honor Recipients Pvt. Richard H. Cosgriff, who served in the Civil War; Pvt. Horace Ellis, who served in the Civil War; and Sgt. Charles E. Mower, who served in World War II. It also honors Maj. Gen. Irving J. Carr, who served in the Philippines and in World War I. The U.S. Air Force Bridge on Grand Avenue specifically honors Brig. Gen. Dennis B. Sullivan, who served in Korea and in the Vietnam War; and Maj. Gen. James J. LeCleir, who served in the Vietnam War. Notably, Brig. Gen. Sullivan is Scott Sullivan’s uncle. Additional honoree names will be added in the future.