The linkage of downtown Harrisburg with the emerging Allsion Hill at this location was established in 1891 with the opening of the original Mulberry Street Bridge. Hailed at that time by Harrisburg civic leader J. Horace McFarland as "the day Greater Harrisburg was born," the bridge, which replaced a dangerous railroad grade crossing, represented an early success of what at that time could have been considered "regional consolidation." Prior to the opening of the bridge, Allsion Hill was viewed more as a separate community, being topographically removed from the older Harrisburg along the river. The original bridge was constructed of iron with wood decking that became susceptible to fires. In fact, water barrels were placed at various intervals along the bridge in case of flare-ups. One major fire spread to portions of the bridge in 1902. Even though it was repaired, plans were afoot to build a newer and more substantial bridge. Accordingly, the iron structure was closed and dismantled in 1907 and the present concrete bridge was completed in 1909, becoming at that time the longest concrete arch bridge in the world. Technically known as the Mulberry Street Viaduct, the bridge upon its opening was proclaimed by the Harrisburg Telegraph newspaper as being "destined for a thousand years to come to bear the burden of traffic to and fro, between the city proper and the great East End." Even though the concrete structure itself has aged, with improvements and upgrades made in 1923, 1938, 1956, 1988 and 2002, it remains a marvelous gateway and symbol to the establishment of a unified city.
1907 view from Cameron Street of original iron span just prior to its demolition for construction of the present bridge.
1911 postcard view from Cameron Street of the present Mulberry Street Bridge.