Friday, October 14, 2016

Trail/Great Northern Stone Arch Bridge over Mississippi in Minneapolis, MN

(Bridge Hunter, John Weeks III, Historic Bridges3D Satellite) John's link has the most information.

Also known as the Stone Arch Bridge.

Photo from eBook, p 422 from Bridge Hunter

Carl Venzke posted
"The Great Northern's first Empire Builder entered service in 1929 and is pictured here crossing the famed Stone Arch Bridge that same year. The locomotive , No. 2517, won the "Marathon" name on its tender in 1925 by making a fast 3,600-mile round trip between Seattle, WA, and St. Paul, MN without requiring mechanical attention. The bridge is the only structure on the railway on which "Empire Builder" James J. Hill permitted his name to be inscribed. The flour mills of St. Anthony are seen in the upper left of the photograph. This photograph was taken on the downtown Minneapolis side of the river looking north-northeast."
This looks like a different exposure of the above photo.
Friends of BNSF posted
On June 10, 1929, BNSF predecessor Great Northern Railway opened their famous Empire Builder route. The over 2,200-mile passenger route, now operated by Amtrak, runs from Chicago to Portland and Seattle and is still in service today.

This picture is very similar to the one in Historic Bridges that is credited to the Minneapolis Photo Collection Of Hennepin County Library. Historic Bridges has a few more historical pictures of the bridge. If you look at the 3D Satellite link, the pictures with trains have to be historical because it no longer has tracks. Fortunately, it has been preserved as a trail bridge. I wish I knew about this bridge and the St. Anthony Falls area when I used to take a daughter to Minneapolis for an annual volleyball tournament. It looks like it would have been well worth a visit.

John Weeks III link documents: "The Stone Arch Bridge was built in the 1880s by famous railroad tycoon James J. Hill. At the time, engineers thought that it would be impossible to build a stone arch bridge for rail traffic. They believed that vibrations from passing trains would cause the stone to crumble." The next time I see a stone arch bridge in the east, I'm going to have to note the date. I thought both the B&O and England built some remarkable stone arch bridges in the mid 1800s because the basic Roman stone arch bridge was the most common design that was known at the time for big viaducts. It sounds like James hired some engineers that were out of touch with bridge design history.

Leo Walding posted
Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis under construction in 1883.
[The comments talk about pyramids and ancient inventions of concrete.]
Leo Walding posted
Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. Mississippi River. James J. Hill of the Great Northern RR commissioned the bridge.
Leo Walding The core of engineers removed the right 1/8 of the bridge for a lock!

Minnesota On Our Minds posted
The Great Northern's Stone Arch Bridge and train on the Mississippi River. Minneapolis in the late 1940s.
Dan Krislov: The train is the Chicago Northwestern 400.

Larry Hennis shared
Aaron Grace: Why is there a C&NW train on it? I don't believe they had trackage rights, did they?
[Note the Third Avenue Bridge in the background.]

Don Liotta posted
Stone arch bridge crosses the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Built by the Great Northern railroad, now a pedestrian walkway.

Jordan Palmer posted
The beautiful Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi River at Minneapolis from a slightly different angle. Built by James J. Hill for his Great Northern Railroad, the bridge opened in 1883. The bridge carried two tracks and was originally all stone, note the steel span over the channel, this was built in the 1960s to allow river traffic access to the northern end of Minneapolis. In order to minimize effects on rail traffic, the stone footings were widened, and the steel super structure built around the two stone arches. Once the main frames were up, rail traffic was halted the two arches were knocked out, and cross-members and tracks installed on the steel span, rail traffic was only impacted for seven hours. Unfortunately the passenger rail continued to tumble and after 1971 only Amtrak used the bridge to access the Great Northern Depot. On March 1, 1978 the new Midway Depot closer to St. Paul opened and was the last day passenger trains regularly crossed the Stone Arch Bridge. It is now open as a walking and biking path following major rehabilitation in the 1990s. I captured these photos in September 2013 from the top of the Mill City Museum.
Boyd Walker It now needs more repair work.
[To the left of the bridge is Lock #1.]

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