Abandoned Bridges

October 14, 2016 at 1:33 am | Posted in Abandoned Highways | Leave a comment
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Redwood River Bridge

Here is an old concrete arch bridge over the Redwood River at the city of Redwood Falls. The new bridge dates to about 1950, so this bridge has obviously been abandoned for some time. It was fenced of when I took these photos and has now been demolished.

Abandoned Redwood River Bridge

Looking west through the chain link fence. Notice the new bridge in the background on the left. Unfortunately I had loaded 800 speed film in my camera in anticipation of another project, so the contrast and grain in these pictures is more than I would have liked.

Abandoned Redwood River Bridge

Profile of the bridge, looking north from the old bridge. Note the crumbling pipes underneath.

Abandoned Redwood River Bridge

The bridge as it looked on a 1918 postcard, from a much lower angle. Minnesota Historical Society

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Waterfall by the bridge. Note the girls near the top for scale


Abandoned US 12 Bridge

I found this old bridge a little west of Wilmar. A new overpass was built over both the creek and the railroad (note the passing train), and this one was left, perhaps for the benefit of  railroad maintenance crew. The pavement is intact, but you have to drive down a dirt driveway to get to it from the main road. As you can see, you can still drive over the bridge, but I decided not to do it since I had no idea what kind of live load it could support.

The guardrails neatly covered the date markers, but according to Adam Froehlig, the original bridge was constructed in 1924, then widened in 1930 when the road was paved.

Abandoned US 12 Bridge

Looking East. Note the train on the left

Abandoned US 12 Bridge

Profile View


Walnut Street Bridge, Mazeppa

The Walnut Street Bridge in Mazeppa was built in 1904, and has been “abandoned” for eighty years, being used as a pedestrain bridge since 1922. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Walnut Street Bridge

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Walnut Street Bridge, Profile View


Zumbrota Covered Bridge

Originally built in 1869, this covered bridge is the last one in Minnesota. It originally served the stagecoach road between St. Paul and Dubuque. When a new highway bridge was built in 1932, the bridge was moved to the fairgrounds, then in 1970 to a park near the original location. Poor condition and lack of funds prevented it from being moved to the river at that time.

Finally in 1997, the bridge was moved to again span the river, this time one block west of the highway bridge, and connects the downtown area to the park as a pedestrian / bicycle crossing. To strengthen the bridge and allow it to span the river, steel beams and a concrete pier were added underneath.

In June 1998 the worst flood in memory hit Zumbrota. The waters crested about six inches below the base of the bridge, and completely inundated the park. Had the bridge been left at it’s original location it probably would have been destroyed as was another historic structure in the park.

Zumbrota Covered Bridge

Profile of the bridge today. The concrete pier is not original to the design.

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The bridge in 1933, right after it was moved. Note the bridge is painted white at this time. Originally it was painted red for the same reason barns were- red paint was easy to make. The bridge was painted red again when it was moved to the fairgrounds in 1970. Minnesota Historical Society

Zumbrota Covered Bridge

Looking North Across The River

 

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A view of the bridge looking south, about 1910. Note that someone scrawled “#58S” on the picture at some point. After 1920 and ever since this highway has been MN 58. Another image, which I have not included, labels it the “old bridge” even back in 1914! Minnesota Historical Society

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Another view, from about 1930, also looking south. Note the old-style star-in-a-circle highway marker just above the fender of the car. Minnesota Historical Society

 

 

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Old and new plaques on concrete bases at the south end of the bridge.  The left plaque reads: ZUMBROTA COVERED BRIDGE CONSTRUCTED OVER ZUMBRO RIVER IN 1869 COST $5,800. ORIGINAL SITE HIGHWAY 58 ABOUT 1000 FEET FROM PRESENT LOCATION 120 FEET LONG:  TOWN LATTICE TRUSS DESIGN PLANS BY A.J. THATCHER CONSTRUCTION SUPERVISED BY E.L. KINGSBURY SERVED AS STAGECOACH ROUTE BETWEEN ST. PAUL AND DUBUQUE TRANSPORTED BY HORSES TO FAIRGROUNDS IN 1932 MOVED TO PRESENT SITE IN 1970 PLACED ON NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES PLAQUE BY ZUMBROTA COVERED BRIDGE SOCIETY The right plaque reads: “THE OLD COVERED BRIDGE” ——————————————————————- FINISHED NOVEMBER 1869 THIS BRIDGE SPANS THE TIME FROM THE 19TH TO THE 21ST CENTURY THIS AUTHENTIC 116 FOOT LONG COVERED BRIDGE IS THE LAST IN MINNESOTA. IT WAS MOVED TO THIS LOCATION IN THE CITY OF ZUMBROTA ON MARCH 4, 1997. THE RESTORATION AND RELOCATION OF THIS BRIDGE AS A BEAUTIFUL AND PRACTICAL WAY TO CROSS THE RIVER RESULTED FROM THE COMBINED EFFORTS OF THE CITIZENS OF ZUMBROTA AND THE MEMBERS OF THE COVERED BRIDGE SOCIETY. “IN THS SPIRIT OF RESPECT FOR THE PAST, DETERMINATION AND RESOLVE IN THE PRESENT, AND OPTIMISM AND FAITH IN THE FUTURE.” ——————————————————————  OUR SPECIALTHANKS AND GRATITUDE TO THE FEDERAL AND MINNESOTA DEPARTMENTS OF TRANSPORTATION, GOODHUE COUNTY HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT, MINNOWA CONSTRUCTION, INC OF HARMONY, MN AND GOLDSCHMIDT HOUSE MOVERS OF ST. JAMES, MN


Normandale Bridge

Between Savage and Bloomington there used to be a one lane highway bridge along with the railroad swing bridge. It was originally part of the trunk highway system until the Shakopee Bridge was built in the late 1920s.

It remanded under local control until it was closed in the early 1980s. It was clear it could not handle modern traffic volumes, and there were several accidents at the queue on the Bloomington side, where the descent down the bluff and the foliage made it difficult to see the stopped traffic ahead.

With the horrific congestion problem on the I-35W and Bloomington Ferry Bridges, Scott County has recently made noises about wanting the bridge reopened. Bloomington is not thrilled with the idea and nothing has become of it.

Normandale Bridge

A closeup of the bridge looking south. The railroad bridge is on the right, and on the left you can see where they highway bridge used to by the extra space on the beam.

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A profile view of the area (along with a passing barge), looking west.

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The end of the pavement, which is barricaded about 100 yards behind. This is looking south.


Hudson Toll Bridge

The Hudson Toll Bridge between Hudson and Minnesota was built in 1911.  After a new bridge (which was incorportated into the interstate system and lasted until the 1990s) was built south of here in 1951, the high bridge was demolished. The causeway and a low level fixed span remained, becoming a park.

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This archway formerly welcomed motorists to Hudson. Notice the decent condition of the 75 year old concrete.

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Near the end of the causeway, at the wide spot where the toll house used to be, is a public beach. Had this been a summer weekend there would have been a lot more people here.

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Beyond the beach, all that is left of the old bridge is these concrete piers.

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Overview of the causeway from the Wisconsin shore, looking southwest. You can see the extant fixed span on through the tree on the left, and the beach at the right. The Minnesota shore is in the background, and it blends in with the trees on the causeway, giving it the illusion of going all the way across.

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The bridge as it looked in 1917. Note the toll house where the bridge meets the causeway at right. Minnesota Historical Society

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The toll house, sometime between 1925 and 1935. Minnesota Historical Society


MN 43 Ghost Bridge

Back in the 1980’s, Mn/DOT planned to widen MN 43 to 4 lanes between I-90 and Winona, but the grading and this bridge were all they got done of the new northbound lanes. In the meantime the ghost grade and bridge make a dandy snowmobile and ATV trail.

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Never used MN 43 Bridge


Duluth Interstate Bridge

The older of the two bridges was the Interstate Bridge. In 1959 the Duluth-Superior “High” Bridge opened, and the Interstate Bridge closed at that time. Soaring 120 feet above the harbor and 8000 feet long, the Duluth-Superior Bridge cost 20 million dollars, then the largest single project partly in Minnesota. On Sept 24, 1971, the new bridge was named to honor John A. Blatnik, congressman for 30 years and one of the persons instrumental in preserving the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and a major sponsor of the Interstate highway program

Interstate Bridge at Duluth

Interstate Bridge, under deck

Interestate Bridge at Duluth

Interstate Bridge, profile view


Arrowhead Bridge, Duluth

The other bridge in between Duluth and Superior was built later and lasted longer. The Arrowhead Bridge was built in the late 1920s, a bit south of the Interstate Bridge. Also a toll bridge, it carried US 2. The bridge was named after the Arrowhead Region, which had just aquired it’s name in a contest sponsored by a local tourist board. (This was about the time the automobile made tourism to the area a possiblity, and they needed a catchy name. They realized that the iron would soon be gone, but tourism could last forerver).

In 1985, the Richard Bong bridge was built about a mile north of here, and the Arrowhead bridge was closed and removed. Besides being at 8300 feet the longest bridge partially in the state, it was the last tied arch bridge to be built here.

Bong was a famous WWII flying ace from Superior, who shot down 40 enemy airplanes (The Red Baron’s tally was 26) before being killed in 1945 when a jet fighter he was testing malfunctioned.

Today not much is left of the Arrowhead Bridge, just a short stub used as a fishing pier on the Wisconsin side. Part of the Lesure Street Causeway, the approach road on the Minnesota side, was removed as part of a wetlands reclamation effort.

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Arrowhead Bridge, Duluth

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Vintage Postcard of the Arrowhead Bridge


Old US 2 Bridge; Bass Brook

Here’s an abandoned bridge along US 2 over Bass Brook in Cohasset. Note the railroad trestle right behind it, and that someone has built a garage blocking one end. Although there is no date on the bridge, according to Adam Froehlig highway logs show the bridge was built in 1930. The replacement bridge was likely constructed in 1969 when the stretch was widened to four lanes, then rebuilt when the road was repaved in 1983.

Abandoned Bass Brook Bridge

Abandoned Bass Brook Bridge

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Abandoned Bass Brook Bridge


Big Falls Railway Trestle

Normally I limit this page to highway infrastructure, but this abandonded railroad trestle in Big Falls was too cool to pass up. After the line was abandoned by BN in the early 90’s, Mn/DOT took it over, and leases it to the DNR as a snowmobile/ATV trail. However this trestle was not reused; instead the trail goes across a nearby highway bridge

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Big Falls Railway Trestle


Silverdale Bridge

The Silverdale Bridge is a wrought iron truss bridge that was built in 1890 in Sauk Centre. In 1932 it was moved to a very remote area up north, and was the last single lane bridge on the trunk highway system. There was talke about moving it to the Gitch-Gami bicycle trail near Duluth, but instead it was moved to the Gateway bicycle trail near Stillwater in 2010.

Silverdale Bridge

Silverdale Bridge, restored at it’s new home

Silverdale Bridge

Silverdale Bridge

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