Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Old and the New-Hasting, Minnesota Bridges




The old Spiral Bridge in Hastings, Minnesota as seen in the postcard above.

"At Hastings, there is a tall bluff on the north side of the Mississippi River. A conventional bridge would have required a long approach on the southern side. The problem is that a long approach would cause traffic to bypass downtown Hastings. Building a spiral solved the problem—it allowed traffic to enter and exit from Main Street downtown Hastings, yet the approach gained the elevation needed to allow the bridge to be level. When built, this was the only spiral wagon and automobile bridge in the US, and only 2 are known to have been built in Europe.

The old bridge served for many years. But due to neglect, the steel rusted, and towards the end, the bridge could only support 4 tons, which prevented truck traffic from crossing the river. The new bridge was built shortly after WWII. The old bridge was given to the City of Hastings, but they could not afford to maintain it. An effort by the citizens also failed to raise the needed money. As a result, the old bridge was removed in the mid-1950s. As soon as it was torn down, the city realized they had made a mistake. The Spiral Bridge was a symbol of the city for decades. Now days, when someone in Hastings wants to tear down a historic building, the cry goes out to remember what happened to the spiral bridge. "
Credit: http://www.johnweeks.com/bridges/pages/b08.html

Sunday Bridges Meme: To see more bridges from around the world, Click here to check the meme for bridges that Louis La Vache has established at San Francisco Bay Daily Photo.

21 comments:

  1. Very interesting about the former spiral bridge. In the 1960's the highway planners in Phoenix proposed doing spiral on and off ramps for an interstate highway that cut right across the edge of downtown. There was considered not enough room for conventional on and off ramps. The design would have caused the freeway to be elevated 70 feet in the air.

    Fortunately, the daily newspaper publisher opposed the idea and the freeway was delayed. When they finally built the freeway in the late 1980's, the put it in a tunnel below ground and put a park on top of it, which today has the main Phoenix library, a Japanese garden, and other benefits for the community.

    By the way, we have photos of Santa Fe going up today on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site.

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  2. belle photo, j'aime beaucoup la vieille carte postale

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  3. I think the bridge on the left looks safer than the one on the right.

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  4. The old bridge did not remain, but it continues to serve as a reminder to save what is precious. That's a good legacy for a bridge. I can't say, though, that everything old is necessarily precious. It seems that circular on-off ramps are the norm today, if not for bridges, for freeways.

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  5. I enjoyed this interesting post this AM.

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  6. This is fascinating. What a shame these things get neglected.

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  7. Fun and interesting bridge shots and info!

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  8. Interesting bridge and interesting info. Our past is precious and we should keep some of it. MB

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  9. What an interesting bit of history. And, what an interesting piece of architecture and engineering.

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  10. Thanks for that bit of history. Every town and city needs to be reminded not to tear down such important historical structures!

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  11. Nice post Kate. I prefer the older bridges. I think they have a little more character. Enjoy your Sunday!

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  12. Lovely post with a history on bridges! I like the spiral bridge :D

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  13. very interesting history of the old bridge. a great lesson learned.:p

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  14. How sad that they couldn't have kept that bridge. Sure was cool looking! Thanks for a little piece of history!

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  15. 1:
    We have a Hastings in New Zealand.
    2: No one except an earthquake is allowed to tear things down. My opinion and my tears
    3:My cousin who is a chemical engineer checks our Auckland harbour bridge everyday.
    5: Boohoohoo, to those who allowed the demise of your beautiful spiral bridge,
    6: Thanks for sharing, the spiral is a good luck symbol to the Maoris of New Zealand.

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  16. What a shame about the spiral bridge - I can imagine people coming just to experience it!

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  17. The spiral bridge was awesome.

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  18. The old bridge looks so rickety compared to the new!
    but it also looks so cool... I love the old historical pictures of different areas. And old buildings, churches, etc that still stand.

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  19. What a shame they couldn't save it. I have never heard of this bridge and I'm really glad you shared this piece of history.

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  20. I found a youtube video of cars driving on the spiral bridge. That looks very dangerous, but they had to drive very slow through the turns.

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  21. Very good, Kate! An interesting and welcome contribution to Sunday Bridges.

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