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Snake River Bridge (Old)

Photos 

Image

Published prior to 1923

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BH Photo #366456

Map 

Description 

A ferry service between the Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington was established in 1862 by Edmond Pearcy of the Walla Walla and Clearwater Road Company. It was outmoded and inadequate by the late 1890s and a clamor arose for construction of a bridge. The din fell upon deaf ears in the state legislatures. Road and bridge finance were considered a local responsibility in that era. The counties of Nez Perce and Asotin were either unable or unwilling to pay for the bridge. The task of uniting the two cities was assumed by a group of local business men who incorporated a private toll bridge company in 1897. The Lewiston & Concord (now Clarkston) Bridge Company began to erect a prefabricated span across the Snake in 1898. The 1500 foot steel cantilever structure was originally intended to span a river in Argentina but the South American firm that ordered it went bankrupt before taking delivery. The abandoned bridge was purchased from the east coast fabricator at a bargain price although an additional 200 foot approach span was required to close the river’s gap. The bridge was completed at a cost of $110,000 and opened on June 24, 1899. The venture was a less than smashing success. The local folks hated the tolls, even though they were a modest five cents for pedestrians and ten cents for a team and wagon. Pearcy’s ferry continued to operate profitably in competition with the new crossing. A long political struggle ensued, finally ending in 1913 when the states agreed to share the cost of purchasing the bridge equally. The bridge company received $80,000 and the span became a free crossing on December 4, 1913.The ferry went out of business the same day.

The Argentine bridge was obsolete by the late 1930s and replaced by the Snake River Interstate Bridge in 1939.

Facts 

Overview
Lost Through truss bridge over Snake River on US-12
Location
Clarkston, Asotin County, Washington, and Nez Perce County, Idaho
Status
Replaced by a new bridge
History
Built 1899; replaced 1939
Builder
- Lewiston Concord Bridge Co. of Lewiston, Idaho
Design
Through truss
Dimensions
Total length: 1,700.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+46.42049, -117.03668   (decimal degrees)
46°25'14" N, 117°02'12" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
11/497181/5140769 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Clarkston
Inventory number
BH 74006 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 10, 2018: New photo from Nathan Holth
  • May 31, 2018: New photo from Leslie R Trick
  • October 3, 2016: Updated by Luke: Noted that the bridge was cantilevered and the first to cross the river
  • October 3, 2016: Added by Dave King

Related Bridges 

Sources