The Penny Bridges on Sheridan are twin-span, reinforced concrete structures built in the 1930’s. They have cast-concrete railings on both sides of both roadways. The bridges carry Sheridan Boulevard traffic over the former Rock Island Railroad right-of-way, now developed as a paved hiker-biker trail. Sidewalks are provided on both of the outer edges.
These bridges are located within the Boulevards Historic District which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The neighborhood is important to Lincoln’s history because of its vast collection of period revival homes, the emphasis on designed transportation systems within the neighborhood, and the presence of designed public parks and boulevards. The neighborhood broke with earlier residential development in Lincoln by following the existing topography and emphasizing landscaped boulevards. By following the existing topography the primary transportation route through the neighborhood is off the established grid which was meant to provide a feel of country lanes within the urban setting. Sheridan Boulevard was designed to emphasize sidewalks, the large 150 foot right of way with designed center green and the street car line down the center of the boulevard. The street car line on Sheridan was a single track line with a double track switching point at Van Dorn. As the line continued generally south east a wooden trestle was constructed between th two automobile and pedestrian bridges to carry the street car over the Rock Island Railroad tracks. The existing bridges replaced previous structures that were built when the neighborhood and street system was designed. The concrete Penny Bridges were completed in the 1930s just northwest of the intersection with 33rd Street, and have been in continual use since that time. This bridge was nicknamed The Penny Bridge for the extra fare required to pass that point on the way to the town of College View. This trolley service was one of the last two lines maintained in Lincoln, ceasing on VJ Day in the summer of 1945 when wartime restrictions on cessation of trolley service were lifted. The wooden streetcar trestles have been removed but the twin vehicular / pedestrian bridges, with cast concrete railings still span the Rock Island Trail and are known as Penny Bridge.