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Stone Arch Bridge
A view of the Stone Arch Bridge from near river level.
Carries Pedestrian and bicycle lanes; formerly two tracks of the Great Northern Railway
Crosses Mississippi River
Locale Minneapolis, Minnesota
Maintained by Minneapolis Park Board
ID number 27004
Design 21 stone arch spans, plus one steel-deck truss span
Total length 2100 feet
Width 28 feet
Longest span 197.5 feet (channel span)
Clearance below 24.4 feet
Opened 1883
Bridges over the Mississippi in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Stone Arch Bridge is about center of this image, between 3rd Ave. Bridge and I-35W
Coordinates 44°58′51″N 93°15′13″W / 44.98083°N 93.25361°W / 44.98083; -93.25361

The Stone Arch Bridge is a former railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Saint Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Positioned between the 3rd Avenue Bridge and the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge,[1] the Stone Arch Bridge was built in 1883 by railroad tycoon James J. Hill for his Great Northern Railway, and accessed the former passenger station located about a mile to the west, on the west bank of the river. The structure is now used as a pedestrian/bicycle bridge. It is an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 as a part of the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District, (District #71000438).

Contents

Heritage trail plaque

A plaque near the bridge explains that the bridge was built for the Manitoba Line (St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway), which would be used to bring wheat from the Red River valley and Canada to the Minneapolis mills. It remains as a monument to James J. Hill, his vision, and is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

History

The bridge has been altered somewhat from its original appearance. When the lock and dam was built at Saint Anthony Falls, two of the arches were replaced with a truss so barges could pass through the locks. Later, in 1965, floodwaters undermined three of the piers and caused the bridge to sag. The bridge was repaired by strengthening the piers and reinforcing underneath two of the arches.

When it was in rail service, the bridge carried trains of many railroads to and from the Minneapolis Great Northern Depot, including the Great Northern Railway's Empire Builder. The bridge ceased to be used as a railroad bridge in 1978, and after a period of disuse, was repaired and adapted in the early 1990s to its present use. The bike and walking trails across the bridge are integrated into the city's park and trail system, and form part of the St Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, which includes interpretive plaques describing the history of the area. The most recent renovations—including indirect lighting—were completed in late 2005. The lighting was paid for by private donations.

During the summer months, the Stone Arch Bridge is a focus of numerous festivals in the area of St. Anthony Main and Historic Main Street. The Stone Arch Festival of the Arts occurs Father's Day weekend and features many local artists. Fireworks displays on the Fourth of July and during the Minneapolis Aquatennial in late July also bring crowds; fireworks are launched from nearby Hennepin Island. The bridge offers views of the Minneapolis skyline, Pillsbury "A" Mill, the Mill City Museum, and many other places in the district, and is near both the restaurants of Main St SE and the Guthrie Theater.

See also

References

  1. ^ Brandt, Steve. (May 31, 1989) Star Tribune Hennepin considers buying Stone Arch bridge. Section news; Page 7B
  • Olsen, Byron D. (1998). Great Northern Railway 1945-1970 Photo Archive Volume 2. ISBN 1-882256-79-4
  • Costello, Mary Charlotte (2002). Climbing the Mississippi River Bridge by Bridge, Volume Two: Minnesota. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications. ISBN 0-9644518-2-4.  

Image gallery: the Stone Arch Bridge

External links

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