A Significant Span

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of an awe-inspiring bridge.

On June 1, 1911, construction was completed on a half-mile long, 185-foot tall railroad bridge nearStillwater. Two days later, the first train crossed the bridge. About four still do so every day.

A small group of people visited the bridge on the Minnesota side Wednesday evening, its 100th birthday. The gravel pull-off on the road where the trail leads down to the river was otherwise empty; no other well-wishers had come. But the bridge sees plenty of revelers — mostly 80 or more years younger than itself — on a regular basis. They make circles of rocks in the woods and light fires inside them, then they drink beer and leave the cans as offerings to the bridge or the river or their own self-centered youth.

The place was quiet Wednesday evening, but perhaps the bridge didn’t want a party.

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