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No Bridge — 11 Comments

  1. Super inter­est­ing, Kei­th! I have often won­dered about the strange loop at that point in the road but had nev­er tak­en my mus­ings to the next stage of won­der­ing why there is no bridge. The gorge is my favorite place to look at fall col­ors, even though it’s impos­si­ble to cap­ture the layers/​depth of trees in a pic­ture. It’s one of those spots that you just have to see in per­son to appre­ci­ate. I feel lucky that I get to dri­ve by it on my way to and from work every day dur­ing the fall!

  2. Thanks, Caley! I admire that lit­tle park too; explor­ing its goat trails is on the to-do list come spring.

    It looks like the “rus­tic bridges” were hon­ored more in the con­cep­tion than in the con­struc­tion. I brought up Google Maps with ter­rain dis­played and scanned south­ward from the Frankin Street bridge. The park­ways on both sides of the riv­er appear to jog around ravines at each oppor­tu­ni­ty, instead of bridg­ing over them. For exam­ple there is a depres­sion just north of High­land Park­way, and the Riv­er Boule­vard jogs east to avoid it. A lit­tle bit south on the Ford prop­er­ty, the boule­vard miss­es anoth­er chance to bridge a ravine in a rus­tic fash­ion. And on the west­ern side, the road­way dodges the Mis­sis­sip­pi Gorge Region­al Park by shift­ing far­ther west.

  3. The ravine has exposed Dec­o­rah Lime­stone that is full of fos­sils. St. Thomas geol­o­gy stu­dents have been trounc­ing around down there for decades … some­times look­ing at the fos­sils.

  4. Hi LD. One of the links in my piece goes to the blog of an enthu­si­as­tic (ama­teur?) geol­o­gist, who attend­ed St. Thomas. Sounds like he most­ly went down in Shad­ow Falls Park look­ing at the rocks.

    He notes that the Parks Dept. does not encour­age the tak­ing of fos­sils out of that loca­tion. Though they abound there.

  5. They did span one ravine, just north of here in fact. The bridge over Cavanaugh falls adja­cent to the Town & Coun­try Club. Cavanaugh Falls was not con­sid­ered as scenic as Shad­ow Falls, and much of the gorge was pri­vate­ly owned by the golf club since 1899. I imag­ine that’s why one was bridged and the oth­er was not. The bridge was removed some­time in the 1960s when T&CC man­aged to bury the falls under fill from the con­struc­tion of I-94, to build park­ing of course. If you fol­low the tree­line just south of Pel­ham you can see the guardrail lead­ing to what would have been the approach of the bridge. That’s also the rea­son why the slope is tree­less, the fill was of low qual­i­ty. I have pho­tos of the first “rus­tic bridge” and the lat­er con­crete arch.

  6. Sean, that is excel­lent, thanks! Can you post those pho­tos in a com­ment here? If not, please email them to me and I will see to it.

  7. See if this works…

    Post­card view look­ing north. Meek­er Island dam and Short Line RR bridge in back­ground:

    Look­ing south 1915:

    Rutic, look­ing south 1904:

    And final­ly, Google Maps from a sim­i­lar point of view as the above:

  8. Kavanagh Falls (1901), before it was filled in:

    Ravine in green; Riv­er Blvd, Otis, and Pel­ham out­lined in blue:

  9. Wow, Kei­th. I've always won­dered about that jog, even though it cre­ates quite a bit of dra­ma on the dri­ve. When­ev­er I'm return­ing to Bloom­ing­ton from places in NE or down­town or SE Min­neapo­lis, I take this dri­ve, all sea­sons. It is absolute­ly love­ly and dis­tract­ing. You can be lost in thought and enjoy­ing the view and you hard­ly remem­ber the time spent on the way home. This tru­ly is one of the most spec­tac­u­lar riv­er roads in the nation and the incred­i­ble lots and homes, vis­tas from the walk­ing trails, rest stops and park-lets are all amaz­ing. I'm quite sure very few Twin Citians, how­ev­er, know much about the many falls, beach­es, creek mouths, and hid­den trails and parks line the riv­er bluffs of the Mis­sis­sip­pi.

  10. Now I have a place to recharge if I ever get my walk­a­bout to include Twin Cities. These North East­ern­ers miss the Daw­son fam­i­ly.

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