Washington St. bridge, looking SE

NP RR bridge



BOOM LAKE TRESTLE BRIDGE: (added here 7/15/2009) Looking at the 1892 Sanborn map it appears there was a trestle bridge to ford the N inlet to boom Lake. I don't know how far S this RR line went, or why it even crossed this inlet, nor if it crossed the S inlet also.

BRAINERD ELECTRIC STREET RAILWAY COMPANY: This timber-trestle bridge constructed by Charles N. Parker for his narrow-gauge cars, was about 100' south of the city's wagon bridge, both traversing THE FILL (earthen "bridge" presently/2009 traversing the ravine).

DAM: (wagon bridge crossing river over the dam itself): Built in 1914, replacing the wooden bridge.

DAM: (wagon bridge rossing to the N of the dam.)

EAST BRAINERD BRIDGE, see Ravine Bridge.

FILL, The: Built in 1914, this earthen structure replaced all other [East Brainerd] bridges forever at this location, traversing the ravine. The fill dirt itself was largely sand taken from an area about S. of the former Pamida building to the east, possibly from the NPRR Sand Pit, S. of the RR tracks from land donated to the city by Mr. Holland, since the plan of mining there fizzled, and hauled on the narrow-gauge railway previously used as a street car line. See East Brainerd Bridge above. [Compiled from B75, 1946, p. 54, 94, 113]

-1st: 1882, wooden.
-2nd: 1898, steel, replaced 1980 (see photo above).

In 1897 the council thought the time had arrived when a better bridge should be built across the Mississippi River. They decided on a steel bridge at high line. Bonds in the amount of $25,000 were sold. C. B. Rowley was awarded the contract and he was given a permit to operate a ferry while the wooden bridge was razed. The work was started in 1898. ((Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; p. 80) I remember driving over this bridge and hearing the rumble of the wooden boards, but I think it was blacktopped about 1968 as a temporary alternative to total replacement. 5 of the lattice railings were saved and used as a fence at the end of Hawkins Drive, west end of the College Bridge, north side of street. I'd sure like to know where the rest of them are! In 2008 those fence sections were removed, to where I do not know.

-3rd, 1980: From BDD This Was Brainerd, 5/25/2008, 30 years ago, 1978: "Mayor C. Elmer Anderson and Howard Blanc, president of the Brainerd City Council, took a last, ceremonial ride across the old Laurel Street Bridge. The bridge is now closed to traffic as construction of a new bridge gets under way." The plaque now/2008 reads 1980, so it looks like it was a 2 year building project.

EAST LAUREL ST.BRIDGE (over ravine): This short-lived wooden bridge connected Brainerd proper with SE Brainerd along Laurel St. It likely facilitated movement for folks who worked at the NP Shops. It must have been quite a shortcut at the time. All that remains now (2006) is a footpath down in the ravine, just a usually dry swamp of cattails and brush.

RAILROAD, Minnesota & International: This was across the Rice Lake/dam boomage reservoir, where later Mill Ave. became Hwy. 25 N. Later an automobile bridge; see Rice Lake Bridge.

-1st.: March, 1871, west end collapsed 1875, killing 4 people, wooden.
-2nd.: 1875, I assume immediate replacement, wood and steel.
-3rd.: 1896?, all steel

-other replacements???

RAVINE BRIDGE: (Sometimes known as the East Brainerd Bridge): Since 1914 called "The Fill". Sept. 28th, 1885, the council authorized construction of a high-line bridge connecting Kingwood St. with Kindred St. (both now/2009 Washington St.) in East Brainerd. 18' was driveway, and 6' more for a walkway. Cost was $2375, and as on all bridges the sign read "$5 fine for driving faster than a walk". A "custodian of the bridge" was paid $15/month to enforce this here. Destroyed by wind June 2, 1898; replaced May 1, 1899. Then replaced by an earthen structure called "The Fill" in 1914. [B75, 1946]. On tis site I will refer to these bridges as Ravine Bridges.

Here's a great timeline started on the RAVINE BRIDGES/EAST BRAINERD BRIDGES compiled by John Van Essen, 2009. I may build upon this as more info becomes available.

-1885/__/__: The original crossing in 1885 was planks just above the water. [B75, 1946, p. 50].
-1885/09/28: The first wagon bridge was approved by Sept. 28, 1885, by resolution. [B75, 1946, p. 53-54].
-1887/__/__: Kindred's horse-drawn streetcar system used that bridge in 1887. [B75, 1946, p. 34].
-1888/06/08: The mayor appoints a "Custodian of the East Brainerd Bridge". [B75, 1946, p. 54]

-1893/__/__: Parker's electric streetcar system built its own bridge around 1893. [about 100’ S. of the city’s wagon bridge.] [B75, 1946, p. 66].
-1898/06/07: Both bridges went down in the June 2, 1898 windstorm. [B75, 1946, p. 67].
-1899/05/01: The wagon bridge reconstruction was finished on May 1, 1899. [B75, 1946, p. 67].
-1914/03/01: The [dirt] fill was started March 1, 1914 and was finished soon after. [B75,1946, p. 113].

With this timeline one can see that Brainerd spent a lot of effort and money over a long period of time trying to solve the problem of traversing just one ravine. They went from planks to a wagon bridge to a shared wagon/horse-drawn streetcar bridge, to separate wagon/electric streetcar bridges, and back to a wagon bridge! Finally, the thing was just filled in with dirt in 1914 which solved all of the problems...well, until the 1990's and mid-2000's when the concrete culvert gave way and formed a pesky recurring sink hole! This was resolved and completely rebuilt in about 2008.

RICE LAKE BRIDGE (2006 Hwy. 25 N., 2009 Hwy. 3): This was earlier a RR bridge.

SEVENTH STREET BRIDGE (over Little Buffalo Creek, AKA Meadow Brook, Slaughterhouse Creek, Betzolt's Creek): On Aug. 5, 1885, the Common Council ordered a bridge built on S.7th St. This is where the Cullen Bottling Works, later Cibuzar, later Coca Cola plant was. [B75, 1946, p. 53] Now/2009 all one sees is the road going over a huge culvert, with a deep ravine on the west side, and the still-flowing artesion wells on the east side, north of the creek.

-1st.: 1932
-2nd.: 1990's or so?