The Sunset Boulevard Bridge
A view taken from a moving Amtrak train on an adjacent bridge. Conditions being what they were, I couldn't line up the perfect shot.
Photo taken by Matthew Harris in December 2010
BH Photo #191534
“We camped this day on the banks of the Nedwhuald, and at the same point where General Wright hung Qualichien, the noted Yakima chief, and several other Indians, from which fact the creek is known to many as Hangman’s creek.” - Captain John Mullan, July 14, 1859
The broad, deep canyon carved by the small stream called Sin too too lay by the Spokanes and Lah too by the Nez Perce marks the city’s western boundary, physically and psychologically if not politically. It was bridged by a series of untrustworthy spans before the present structure linking 6th and 7th Avenues with the west was built.
City engineer, Morton McCartney, prepared the plans for a reinforced concrete bridge to span Hangman creek in 1910. They were reviewed and approved by the firm of Waddell & Harrington, famed Kansas City bridge architects. J.E. Cunningham was awarded a $416,000 contract by the city and began construction of the crossing in October 1911. The bridge, six massive open spandrel concrete arches standing up to 65 feet in height and spanning a gap over a thousand feet long was opened on October 15, 1913.
The Washington legislature attempted to expunge the record of the grisly episode that gave the creek its name by officially declaring that henceforth the stream should be known as “Latah “creek in 1899. A bronze plaque on the balustrade of the bridge reads, “Latah Bridge 1913” but the grim reminder of General Wright’s executioner remains on most maps and in the common parlance of those who live along the creek.
- Concrete arch bridge over Latah Creek on Sunset Boulevard in Spokane
- Spokane, Spokane County, Washington
- Open to traffic
- Built 1911
- - J.E. Cunningham of Spokane, Washington (Contractor)
- Morton McCartney (City Engineer)
- W.S. Maloney (Designer)
- Waddell & Harrington of Kansas City, Missouri
- Open-spandrel arch
Length of largest span: 149.9 ft.
Total length: 1,069.9 ft.
Deck width: 44.9 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1982
- Also called
- Hangman's Creek Bridge
Sunset Boulevard Bridge
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +47.64995, -117.44731 (decimal degrees)
47°38'60" N, 117°26'50" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 11/466407/5277491 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Spokane NW
- Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
- Inventory numbers
- NRHP 82004293 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 34561 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- Inspection report (as of September 2017)
- Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 81.4 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com
- April 19, 2018: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical info to description
- February 7, 2017: New photo from Kyle Jarvis
- October 7, 2015: New photo from Kyle Jarvis
- May 10, 2012: New photos from Mike Goff
- January 2, 2011: New photos from Matthew Harris
- Matthew Harris - mnharris [at] gmail [dot] com
- Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com
- Kyle Jarvis
- Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
- Richard Doody