Bridge on Highway No. 10 East of Village Built in 1905 for $4,000
Last week we asked for information as to when the bridge a mile east of the village on No. 10, over the Blue Earth river was built. Several have brought us information and it was all very interesting.
In 1904 Al Quimby, who was the cashier of the local bank and the owner of the farm east of the village, now owned and operated by Ray Stratton, filed a petition with the Blue Earth County commissioners requesting a new bridge. Local business men were interested because they felt it would bring more of the farmers living east of the river to Vernon Center. They had to go around by way of Old Town or to the Cable Mill bridge to get across the river. When the river was low they drove through the river.
The commissioners set the date for an inspection and a hearing. The date was September 25, 1904, and the five commissioners came to Vernon Center on the passenger that arrived here at 9:05. They were accompanied by the county engineer, Walter P. Brooks and county attorney, Sam B. Wilson. They were met at the depot by the Vernon Center township board, G.C. Cornish, chairman, Henry Schwarz and Henry J. Good, also clerk F.S. Hemingway. They proceeded at once to the site suggested for the new bridge. There was already quite a crowd there but they were mostly on the east side of the river. They sent their spokesman across the river in a boat to confer with the commissioners. Many of those present on the east side of the river had come on horseback or with their teams hitched on buggies and wagons and lived east of Vernon Center. It had all been well planned. There were also a number of the boys present who were excused from school and two of them that we talked with were Sanford Cornish and Giles Gray.
The board members were all much impressed and very favorable. At their next regular meeting they recommended that a new bridge should be built and the following year a contract was let for $4,000 for its construction. It was finished right on time but we have not learned whether there was a celebration or dedication. Does anyone remember about this?
Al Quimby had arranged for a dinner at the local hotel which was operated by Eli Meirs and there were over 50 present. Because of
the sumptuous menu the charge was increased from the regular price of $.25 to $.35. Here is the menu as served that day: roast beef, roast pork, chicken, baked and mashed potatoes, gravy, escalloped corn, baked beans, assorted jellies, jam, cake, apple and pumpkin pie, choice of beverage. According to our information, the beverages mush have been passed around more than once as several of the men were pretty happy before they went home.
The bridge has had a lot of traffic over it in the fifty years. The planks have had to be renewed several times and in 1914 the dirt approach was damaged by the high waters and considerable work had to be done in filling with dirt which was hauled by horses and scrapers. It was during the time that H.C. Kraus was county commissioner. W.W. Griffith remembers the incident well and we understand he furnished a team and scraper.
Albert Halverson recalls when the bridge was built and remembered that he and Charles Grannis mixed the cement for the piers on boards that were laid out as close as they could get to the piers. Albert said it was quite a job in those days and the pay was low for the workers.
Proposals for the new bridge were opened at the county auditor's office Tuesday. There were five bids and the lowest one ran about $4,000 under the estimate by the engineers of $85,000. The high bid was $96,011.50 by the Concrete Construction Co. of Litchfield and the low bid was $83,150.56 by the L.M. Feller Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. The commissioners recommended to the state that the low bid by the Feller company be accepted.
County Commissioner Nickelson of the fourth district was in our office Tuesday afternoon and he informed us that it was expected that work on the new bridge would get under way at an early date and be completed and ready for use before January 1. The old bridge can then be taken down during the winter and the steel salvaged and used elsewhere. The new bridge will be 234 feet in length and 24 feet wide from curb to curb.
Mr. Nickelson also stated that the contract for surfacing the road west of Amboy would be let on the 24th of June.
|(printed in the Vernon Center News in about 1955.)|
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