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Old Wenatchee Bridge

Photos 

Old Wenatchee Bridge

Photo taken by C Hanchey in August 2014

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

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BH Photo #308333

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Description 

The Washington Bridge Company began construction of the first bridge on the Columbia designed for wagons and pedestrians in February 1906. The private bridge company was led by W.T. Clark and Marvin Chase of the Wenatchee (later Highline) Canal Company. The pair needed the bridge to carry an irrigation pipeline to the properties they hoped to develop on the dry but fertile benchlands east of the river. They persuaded local businessmen to put up $20,000 as a show of good faith and Clark headed to Seattle to raise the remaining $100,000 required for the venture. The needed capital was secured with relative ease after Clark spoke to a group of eastern capitalists and railroad men at the Rainier Club. James J. Hill, alone, subscribed to the tune of $60,000. Hill firmly believed that his railways would only prosper if the towns along them did likewise. Marvin Chase was appointed chief engineer for the project. The narrow steel cantilever span was completed on January 9, 1908 at a cost of $171,000.

From the outset, the bridge company had intended to recoup its investment by selling the span to the state or a local municipality but no agency stepped forward to take the crossing off its hands. The bridge opened as a free crossing but the company threatened to impose a toll of five cents for pedestrians and bicyclists and thirty five cents for a four horse team and wagon. That got the attention of the legislature and after much squabbling money was appropriated to purchase the bridge. It was the first state owned crossing on the Columbia.

The ferries continued to operate for several years after the bridge opened. The promoters promised that the structure could carry a load of 58 tons safely but some freight haulers were frightened off by the sign above its portals proclaiming, “$25.00 fine for riding or driving across this bridge faster than a walk”.

Facts 

Overview
Cantilevered through truss bridge over Columbia River carrying a pedestrian walkway and pipeline
Location
Wenatchee, Chelan County, Washington, and Douglas County, Washington
Status
Open to pedestrians
History
Built 1908; bypassed by new highway bridge in 1950; reopened to pedestrians in 2010
Builders
- Marvin Chase
- Washington Bridge Co.
Design
Cantilevered through truss
Dimensions
Total length: 1,060.0 ft.
Deck width: 20.5 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1982
Also called
Columbia River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+47.41465, -120.29731   (decimal degrees)
47°24'53" N, 120°17'50" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/703872/5254786 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Wenatchee
Inventory numbers
NRHP 82004198 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 44747 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 15, 2018: New photos from Leslie R trick
  • April 19, 2018: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical info to description
  • November 15, 2014: New photos from C Hanchey
  • April 4, 2010: Added by James Baughn

Related Bridges 

Sources 

  • Wikipedia - Old Wenatchee Bridge
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • C Hanchey - cmh2315fl [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Richard Doody
  • Leslie R Trick - Leslie [dot] Trick [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

Old Wenatchee Bridge
Posted October 29, 2014, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Its hard to believe that one of the oldest cantilever highway truss bridges in the country (and beautifully preserved for pedestrians) has been posted here for four years yet nobody has posted photos or even made a comment about this bridge. It is a truly amazing bridge, and I am excited to share this new HistoricBridges.org page I just completed for this bridge, which includes a full photo-documentation of the bridge, completed as part of my Pacific Northwest trip I did this past summer. http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowse...