Spiral Bridge Dedication Included Barbecue In 1895

The dedication of the famous Spiral Bridge in Hastings drew a large crowd back in 1895. It was completed on April 17, 1895, and dedication on April 27, of that year. Following the dedication, a free barbecued lunch was served on the lawn of the Dakota County Courthouse. The Spiral Bridge was torn down in 1951. (Photo contributed by John Then).

This was in The Hastings Gazette on April 27, 1895

The New High Bridge

The completion of the new high wagon bridge across the Mississippi river is an epoch in the history of our city which deserves more than passing notice, and it is eminently proper that the formal opening should be celebrated by a public demonstration befitting the occasion.

It is now a little more than four years since the matter of building a bridge across the river at this point was first agitated, and to the persistent efforts of Aid. J. P. Sommers, the citizens are greatly indebted for the successful consummation of their labors in this direction.

 

The cost to build the bridge was proposed to be around $40,000. A bill was prepared and forwarded to the Hon. D. S. Hall, who secured its immediate passage through both houses. It passed six hundred and ninety-four to thirty-seven. They awarded the contract to the Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company. The rock for the bridge came from Red Wing. There was considerable delay at the quarry due to bad weather during the winter. George Barbaras and J. P. Sommers were the first private citizens to cross the bridge in a buggy. While the bridge was being built it was visited daily by crowds of curious sight seers. The bridge is the only one of its kind in America and probably in the world.

By the end of World War II and even before that it was evident that the bridge needed to be replaced. Traffic had changed from horses and buggies to cars with V8 engines which made the bridge a hindrance. It swayed in the wind, wood clattered upon the steel girders. Load limits were placed on the bridge. At one point school buses over four tons couldn’t cross. Students would disembark at one end of the bridge and would walk across to be picked up at the other side. The Hastings fire trucks were overweight and couldn’t cross to help out in Denmark Township.

The spiral bridge was replaced in 1951 and soon after the dedication of the new bridge, the spiral bridge was torn down.