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Monroe Street Bridge (1889)




BH Photo #419551


The first Monroe Street bridge was financed by the street car company in cooperation with the city and other private investors who paid a third of its $45,000 cost. The San Francisco Bridge Company began constructing the Howe truss span and its trestle approaches in December 1888. A cableway powered by a donkey engine was built on the south bank or the river. The bridge timbers were fabricated on the hill and when ready for placement lowered down to the workmen on the cable. The structural integrity of the span came into question shortly after its opening. The foundation for the north pier was blasted out of bedrock but the southern approach was built on a landfill. Melting snow and spring rains caused the structure to settle. The city refused to pay its share until it was repaired. The cable car company responded by posting widely ignored signs placing the span off limits to pedestrians. The controversy was settled on the night of July 23, 1890 when fire consumed the bridge and several buildings on north Monroe Street.


Lost Timber stringer bridge over Spokane River
Spokane, Spokane County, Washington
Destroyed by fire
Built 1889 Burned 1890
Timber stringer
Approximate latitude, longitude
+47.66050, -117.42675   (decimal degrees)
47°39'38" N, 117°25'36" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
11/467957/5278655 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 80785 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 19, 2018: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical info to description
  • March 20, 2018: Updated by Leslie R trick: Corrected year

Related Bridges 


  • Leslie R Trick - Leslie [dot] Trick [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Richard Doody