Should you find yourself in 1876 Santa Rosa, don’t expect too much. The pretty little courthouse in Courthouse Square wasn’t yet built; neither was the McDonald mansion. It was a frontier village of no particular interest except for one thing – it had the only iron bridge in the West.
I don’t usually give away the ending of an article, but bridges aren’t the most riveting topic for most, and I fear Gentle Reader might otherwise drift off to other entertainments. So here’s my Executive Summary:
Santa Rosa’s current downtown plan calls for demolishing the city hall complex and restoring Santa Rosa Creek to a natural condition. With the creek exposed the roadway will have to be rebuilt as a bridge. It would be appropriate to model its appearance after the “Iron Bridge,” Santa Rosa’s first famous landmark and early tourist attraction.
When the Iron Bridge was built the local newspaper commented that Santa Rosa was “a city of bridges.” Today there are dozens of places where city streets cross over our many creeks. If the city is serious about creek restoration, it could re-embrace that old slogan and draw better attention to the more important bridges that stretch above them.
Until the first train entered town in 1871 and stopped at today’s Railroad Square, travel to Petaluma and points south could be iffy during bad winters.
The first bridge over Santa Rosa Creek was built in 1859, after a year of twisting arms at the Board of Supervisors – they didn’t want to spend any money on “improvement” until the county was completely debt-free (oh, how things have changed).
Up to that point, there were fords on the creek where the banks were worn down enough for a wagon or stagecoach to cross the usually shallow waterway. Even after that first bridge was built, attorney T. J. Butts recalled some avoided using it:
|I was in Santa Rosa when the first iron bridge in the state was built over the creek on Main Street. It had been the custom up to that time for farmers to drive down the bank and ford the creek when coming to town instead of crossing the old wooden bridge. When the matter of building the new bridge came up before the Board of Supervisors, one old gentleman, who was a well-known man in this town and was a trustee of one of the colleges here went before the Board to protest against the bridge, and in his speech he said: “We don’t need no bridge and if you put that bridge thar, whar are ye goin’ to set yer tire, and whar are you goin’ to water yer critter?”|
The Santa Rosa newspaper assured readers the wooden bridge was high enough “the water can never actually rise to the bridge.” They were wrong. Two years later in 1861, a big storm took out the middle pilings causing a dangerous sag, while approaches on both sides were washed away. The same thing happened again in 1864.
A replacement was built in 1865 and the Sonoma Democrat promised it would be a “bridge that will withstand the floods, and be an ornament to the place rather than an ‘eye sore,’ such as was the old one.” But wooden bridge II had its own problems and by 1868 it was also unsafe, the deck having holes and planks worn thin.
Each round of repairs cost nearly as much as (and in one case, possibly more than) the cost of building a new bridge. And after Santa Rosa was officially incorporated in 1868 the question of who owned the bridge was first raised; neither the town nor the county wanted to pay for expensive maintenance and repairs. A judge finally decreed that it belonged to the town in 1875, after the Petaluma road was reborn as “Santa Rosa Avenue” and new additions on the other side of the creek were unofficially dubbed “South Santa Rosa.” (I swear, if there’s ever a version of Trivial Pursuit Santa Rosa, I’m gonna slap a paywall on pages like this and really clean up.)
By then the bridge was in such rough shape only pedestrians were allowed, the horse-drawn traffic going over the new (1872) bridge on Third street just west of the railroad tracks. While Santa Rosa was hand-wringing over what to do about repairs, into town came Mr. R. Higgins, a salesman with impeccable timing.
Higgins was from the King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The company mass manufactured arch bridge parts that were shipped by rail and assembled on site.* Thousands of their wrought iron bridges were erected in the late 19th-early 20th century, but by 1875 none had been yet built west of the Rockies. The Santa Rosa bridge was to be their West Coast showpiece.
This caused the little town’s poobahs to flip with joy; Santa Rosa would at last have a tourist attraction (of sorts). And while they would still pay full $4,000 price for the iron bridge they would save a fortune by not having to rebuild the damn thing every few years – “it was as imperishable as time itself.”
Even better, “before the season is over Santa Rosa will be entitled to the name of the city of bridges,” gushed the Democrat newspaper. Counting this bridge, the Third st. bridge, the railroad bridge and the one about to be constructed at E street, Santa Rosa would have four bridges within a nine block area. So yeah, no matter where you were in 1876 Santa Rosa a bridge over the creek was only a few steps away.
The sections of the bridge arrived a few weeks later, but assembly was soon halted because of a serious accident. After the first arch was raised and temporarily held in position by guy ropes, the second arch was being hoisted into place when a guy rope knot failed. The first arch tipped over onto the one being raised, and that arch fell into the creek. Higgins – who was supervising the workers – jumped into the creek to avoid being hit and struck his head, knocking him unconscious. Damage to the iron arches was repaired by a blacksmith and Higgins walked with a limp from a badly sprained ankle when work resumed about three weeks later.
There was a grand turnout for the dedication ceremony in March, where “a test of its strength with such force as could be improvised for the occasion would be made.” The description in the Democrat suggested some weren’t sure the unusual-looking bridge was safe – and given their past history of funky bridges at that location, who could blame them.
The highlight of the festivities was Jim Clark racing a team of four horses over it. Clark, who was profiled here earlier, was a key player in Santa Rosa’s early history and much admired as a horseman. “The bridge having been cleared, Mr. Clark drove his team at full speed across the bridge, but it did not effect it in the slightest degree.”
A couple of weeks later, however, there was a sign on the bridge warning anyone riding faster than a walk would be fined $20 (equivalent to about $500 today). “It is a common habit to drive across at full speed to the detriment of the bridge,” the paper reported, so maybe they still weren’t certain it was safe.
That iron bridge served Santa Rosa for about thirty years but not much about it appeared in the papers – nobody cares about bridges when they do their job. But come late 1905, it was decided to replace it. That was during a brief window when Santa Rosa was fielding all sorts of ideas to improve the town, including turning part of the creek into a water park. Alas, the 1906 earthquake knocked down all those wonderful plans (for more, see “SANTA ROSA’S FORGOTTEN FUTURE“).
Perhaps weakened further by the quake, it was deemed “dangerous” in 1907. “The old span wobbles much when a team passes over, and for some time heavy loads have been taken to the other bridges.” As it was being torn down, the Press Democrat told a charming story about how circus elephants needed to ford the creek instead, then decided they liked being in the water so much they wouldn’t budge:
|A little boy remarked to another yesterday that when the circus comes the elephants will not be able to cross. The other reminded him that they hadn’t crossed there last year, either. “They didn’t try it,” he said. “If they had, I guess the fellers would a’ had to buy new elephants, ’cause the bridge wasn’t strong enough, and they’d all been killed.” Last year the elephants forded the creek at Davis street, and the drivers had a “time” in getting them to leave their wallowing in the bed of the creek.|
The City Council authorized construction of a new steel bridge with a concrete deck and the iron bridge was dismantled in August, 1907. By the end of the year the new bridge was open, but not before the driver of a large touring car with four passengers ignored the warning lanterns and almost pitched the auto into the creek.
The arches from the iron bridge were stored for a couple of years, then were repurposed to be the bridge over Pierson street. That bridge has subsequently been replaced, and the arches are presumably lost.
Snapping back to our modern day, Santa Rosa has grand plans to transform the downtown area, outlined in the current draft of the Downtown Station Area Specific Plan. (If you’re interested at all in this topic, I suggest downloading that PDF – I had a devil of a time finding it on the city’s website, and I don’t trust staff not to move it somewhere else.)
Top priority is adding thousands of housing units “to satisfy unmet demand,” in spite of the major obstacles to constructing tall, high density buildings in the downtown area – inadequate parking, earthquake risk (an active fault line blocks away) and lack of services (no place to buy an apple or an aspirin, as there are no grocery stores or pharmacies around there). The document also calls for the city hall complex to be moved and the site developed for housing, with the portion of Santa Rosa Creek now hidden in a culvert to be daylighted and restored.
When (if) that happens, the existing roadway must be changed from a graded surface street into a bridge – and that would give Santa Rosa a unique opportunity to acknowledge our past by making it a replica of the historic Iron Bridge.
Until it was hidden in its culvert about 55 years ago, this section of Santa Rosa Creek was the most popular stretch of the waterway, being easily accessible and close to Courthouse Square. Now so long buried it’s been completely forgotten; if the city really wants to draw attention to the very existence of the creek beneath, it needs to make a dramatic statement.
(RIGHT: The replica Lôn Las Ogwen bridge in Wales. Photo: The Happy Pontist)
My proposal is NOT to construct an actual “bowstring” bridge but to artistically add fake arches to either side. Many communities have similarly made faux arches in honor of demolished old bridges, some versions even modernist (examples here and here) if that’s what the artistic set deems appropriate.
When it comes to all things concerning the creeks, the city document defers to the “Creeks Master Plan” (another difficult to find PDF you might want to download). Although it discusses trail bridges at length – and nothing wrong with that – only a short section on pg. 19 deals with vehicular bridges, which is the way that most of us interact with the creeks on any basis.
By my rough count there are at least forty bridges over Santa Rosa, Matanzas, Paulin and Spring creeks. Some are no more than culverts, of course, but I imagine there are at least 25 that are recognizable bridges, with railings and a potential overlook.
While full creek restorations and building trail footbridges are going to be expensive long-term tasks, Santa Rosa could begin by drawing more attention to its creeks without spending all that much. Larger and better signage on the bridges would be a good start; railings could be painted in a distinctive color – or even better, swapped out for more picturesque see-through guardrails, such as seen in the Welsh example.
Anyone who’s read this journal over the years knows that Santa Rosa’s great folly is its failure to define itself. Just before the 1906 earthquake it dreamed of becoming a great tourist destination, attracting state and even national conventions; after the Golden Gate Bridge was built it was hoped that it would become the northern metropolis of the Bay Area, on par with San Jose or Oakland. It has tried parasitically attaching itself to Luther Burbank and Charles Schulz; its Chamber of Commerce has called Santa Rosa the “Gateway to the Redwood Empire,” “The City Designed for Living,” and in the worst $80,000 ever spent, paid experts to come up with idiotic motto, “California Cornucopia.”
Santa Rosa’s greatest asset has always been what it has most ignored and abused – its nearly 100 miles of waterways. Let’s do something to remember the Iron Bridge and paint the other railings while we’re waiting for the city to get around to building trails around the restored creeks. And while that’s underway, let’s ditch the silly slogans and call this place what it really is: “Santa Rosa, a City of Bridges.” Works for me.
* The Democrat identified the bridge as “Z. King’s Patent Wrought Iron Tubular Arch Bridge,” technically better known as a bowstring-arch bridge. A Google search will turn up a surprising number of academic papers explaining the mechanics behind these structures and the Wikipedia page has a good overview of how they work along with photos of various examples.
Top photo credit: “Santa Rosa, California in Vintage Postcards” by Bob and Kay Voliva
THE BRIDGE QUESTION.
...As neither party claims it, and neither regards it as property, then we must find some other solution of the dispute.
It — the bridge — must be treated, not as property, but as a burden to be borne by the party legally responsible for It.
The facts as shown by the submission are substantially as follows:
The bridge was built by the plaintiff before the incorporation of the defendant, out of the county funds, at a cost of $2,875, prior to the 23d day of March, 1872, and is on what was then a county road, mainly traveled, leading from Petaluma to Healdsburg. That up to the present time this road, not included within the city limits, is a public county road, and no order has ever been made abandoning any part of it. That the county has continuously repaired all that portion outside of the city limits, but has not repaired that portion inside the city limits, since the 28th of March, 1872. That the town of Santa Rosa was incorporated under the general laws for the incorporation of towns on the 23d day of February, 1867, and lay north of, and did not include Santa Rosa creek or any part of the bridge. That on the 28th day of March, 1872, the said town was reincorporated as the city of Santa Rosa by special act, which extended the limits north of the creek and bridge three quarters of a mile, and south one quarter of a mile, including said creek and bridge. That the defendant, the city of Santa Rosa, is now, and has been, fully organized since its reincorporation, with full set of officers, including a Board of Trustees. That the portion of thoroughfare from the southern limits of the city to the bridge, formerly a portion of the county road, is known now, and was designated by the trustees as “Santa Rosa Avenue,” and has been, as well as other portions of the same road, inside the city limits, continuously worked on and kept in repairs by the city since its reincorporation. That said bridge stands in the middle of, and connects “Santa Rosa Avenue” and the thoroughfare from the creek to Mendocino street. Since the reincorporation, the city has repaired the bridge under protest.
The land on both sides of the avenue, and also on both sides of the thoroughfare to Mendocino street, has been laid out into lots and streets, approaching at right angles.
Santa Rosa creek is 138 feet wide, and is not a navigable stream.
The business portion of the city is north of the creek; on the south, it is occupied by business men for residences. The bridge is the only thoroughfare across said creek, connecting the north and south portions of the city, and is constantly used by the people in traveling to and fro…
…1. My conclusions are, that the county has no control over, or connection with the bridge, and it is not its duty to repair or rebuild the same.
2. That the bridge is under the control of the City of Santa Rosa, and if the same is to be repaired or rebuilt, it must be done by it.
3. That this Court has no power to issue a mandate to the city authorities requiring it to repair or rebuild said bridge, in the absence of proof that the city has money applicable to such purposes. Let judgment be entered accordingly.
Wm. C. Wallace,
Sept 8, 1875.
– Daily Democrat, September 16 1875
We are informed by Mr. R. Higgins, agent for the contractors for the new iron bridge over Santa Rosa creek, that the old bridge is now positively unsafe for crossing. Mr. Higgins says he will make it so that it will be safe for pedestrians to cross in a day or two, but that no vehicle can cross it without the greatest danger. Those desiring to cross the creek in vehicles, will have to pass over the bridge on the Sebastopol road, near the depot.
– Sonoma Democrat, December 8 1875
We think our City Fathers have acted wisely in the adoption of a plan for an iron bridge over Santa Rosa creek. From what we can learn the cost will be but a trifle more than a wooden Howe Truss Bridge, taking all things into consideration, The plan adopted is one of the King Bridge Company’s circle arch, whose principal offices are in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Topeka, Kansas. Mr. Higgins their agent on this coast is now in the city and has already telegraphed to Mr. King to forward the bridge with all dispatch, and he says there is no unnecessary delay he will have it up ready for use within 60 or 65 days, this being their first bridge on this coast Mr. Higgins says they are going to give us a first-class Job, with a few extras thrown in, as they are going to make it their advertising bridge on the Pacific and establish an agency here…
– Sonoma Democrat, December 8 1875
A City of Bridges.
Before the season is over Santa Rosa will be entitled to the name of the city of bridges. A splendid iron bridge will span the creek at the crossing of Main street. It will be the first iron and the handsomest bridge of its size in the State. A wooden bridge is in course of construction at the crossing of D street to connect with Sonoma avenue. This will be a handsome structure. But the most unique and neatest bridge will be a short distance further up the creek, at the crossing of Second street, connecting with an avenue laid out on the opposite side of Santa Rosa creek, parallel with Sonoma avenue. This will be a wire suspension bridge of a light and elegant pattern. All these bridges have been contracted for and two of them are now under way. We learn that the spring beyond the reservoir, known as the Tarwater spring has been sold and the property is to be improved. The opening up of the section, on the opposite side of the creek is one of the most important improvements ever undertaken in this city. It has been here ofore [sic] unnoticed on account of its inaccessibility. The building of these bridges will put it within a few minutes walk of the centre of the town.
– Sonoma Democrat, January 15 1876
Accident at the Bridge.
Saturday afternoon, at about six o’clock, an accident occurred at the iron bridge from the following cause: The men engaged in its construction are inexperienced hands and one of them had tied an insecure knot in one of the guys supporting the first arch. When the second arch was being hoisted into position this knot gave way, which allowed the standing arch to fall upon the one being raised, throwing it into the creek. The first arch fell upon the trestle work. The iron used in the bridge is wrought, and the only damage it sustained was in being slightly sprung, which can be easily remedied by blacksmiths. Mr. Higgins, the Superintendent of the work, was standing upon the trestle at the time the accident occurred, and jumped into the creek. In his fall he was struck upon the head by a piece of timber and rendered senseless. His right ankle was badly sprained and his system received a severe shock, however, his internal injuries are thought not to be serious. The accident will delay the construction of the bridge about one week. Geo. E. King, General Western Agent for the bridge, had arrived in Santa Rosa a short time previous to the accident and the work is going on under his supervision during Mr. Higgins’ illness.
– Daily Democrat, February 28 1876
Dimensions of the Iron Bridge.
“Can the Democrat give the cost, width, span and material of the bridge now being constructed across Santa Rosa creek, with the address of the contractors? And oblige bridge and other subscribers. John Knight. Sanel, Mendocino county.”
[ln reply to the above inquiry we will state that the cost of the iron bridge being constructed across Santa Rosa creek is $4,000; the width is 16 feet; span, 125 feet: the material used is rolled and hammered iron. For further information, address Geo. E King, Santa Rosa. —Eds. Democrat.]
– Sonoma Democrat, March 3 1876
THE NEW BRIDGE.
The new bridge across Santa Rosa creek was completed last Saturday in the forenoon. It was the same day formally turned over to the Board of City Trustees. The plan is what is known as Z. King’s Patent Wrought Iron Tubular Arch Bridge, manufactured by the King Iron Bridge Company, at Cleveland, Ohio. It consists of the arches, lower chords, upright posts and diagonal counter braces, and the bottom and overhead lateral bracing. The material used consists entirely of wrought iron, which is erected and trussed perfect in itself without any woodwork whatever. When the frame work of iron is complete then the pine flooring is laid. The length of the bridge is 125 feet, in one span, a carriage way 16 feet wide, and a footway five feet wide, on each side of the carriage way and outside of the supporting arches. The plan of the bridge seems to combine comparative lightness of material with strength and beauty. There are over three thousand of these bridges now in use in the Atlantic States, but to Santa Rosa belongs the credit of the first iron bridge west of the Rocky Mountains. The bridge is cheap and durable. Wherever used the company have certificates recommending them in the highest degree. We think the Trustees are entitled to the thanks of the community for the excellent judgment they displayed in the matter of the bridge across Santa Rosa creek.
– Sonoma Democrat, March 8 1876
Raising the Arches.
Contrary to general expectation, Sunday morning dawned dark and threatening, with the promise of a heavy storm. In view of this fact, Mr. King and Mr. Higgins determined to raise the arches of the iron bridge across Santa Rosa creek, notwithstanding it was Sunday. In the forenoon it commenced to drizzle, and by 1 o’clock it had settled in a steady and continuous fall of rain. In the midst of it the work of raising the arches of the bridge progressed with dispatch, and we are glad to say with no untoward accident to delay its progress or mar the beauty of the structure. Sunday morning, in view of the inevitable rise in the creek, the arches were in a very insecure position, They lay upon a temporary framework built in the bed of the stream and liable to be carried away by the high water. In which case the arches would have been thrown into the river. Mr. King determined to raise them and succeeded in doing so and securing them before dark by braces so that there was no danger from the water. The arches are very handsomely turned, and the bridge will be when completed, the only structure of the kind in California, and it will be the most ornamental bridge of its size in the State. Mr. Higgins, though lame from a fall, stood all day in the rain and assisted by giving directions to the men, who were mostly new in that kind of work. Sure enough, Monday morning the creek was booming, but over the frail under structure the iron arches rested secure upon their stone foundation.
– Sonoma Democrat, March 11 1876
THE IRON BRIDGE.
Formal Dedication of the King Bridge – Grand Turnout of the Citizens — The Band — Wine and Wit — Jim Clark the First to Cross — A dashing Four-in-Hand Team.
Saturday, March 11, 1876, will long be remembered as the day of the final completion and dedication to public use of the Santa Rosa iron bridge. In the forenoon the City Trustees were advised of the fact that the finishing touch had been given and at 2 p. m., a test of its strength with such force as could be improvised for the occasion would be made and that the “popping of bottles” would intersperse the exercises.
The Santa Rosa Band, ever ready to add to occasions for Santa Rosa, was out and discoursed soul stirring music as only the Santa Rosa Band can. J. P. Clark, the prince of drivers tendered his services and with his “coach and four” dashing horses conveyed the officers of the city […and city officials…] followed by the Band and a large number of citizens of the city and county in vehicles, horseback and afoot, arrived at the scene of the festivities. Mr. Clark drove his team immediately upon the bridge and was followed in close order by the band wagon and other vehicles and the people, everybody having the utmost confidence in the capacity of the bridge to stand the pressure.
After some delay Messrs. Downing, Rea & Rauscher, photograph artists of this city, from a position on the grounds of Mr. John Ingram, photographed the bridge.
The Band played and toasts were drank and after calls for the City Attorney Campbell, he responded in a few brief remarks as follows:
He thanked the City Fathers and those present who had conferred upon him the honor of responding to the grand occasion, but that as he had not expected to be assigned the position was illy prepared to do justice to the subject. He said, “We are here to-day to witness the formal opening and dedication of the new bridge and at the suggestion of his friend, Mr. Thornton, he would name it the ‘Santa Rosa Iron Bridge’ and who could look upon it now in its finished state without admiration. It had strength and beauty, and would stand for years as a monument to the genius and industry of its builders. It was as imperishable as time itself, and would not go down and dissolve even with the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, but with the great globe itself. He said the City Fathers were here, and had witnessed the completion of this undertaking, and they could justly feel proud of what they had done. We are in the midst of a beautiful city, whose limits had recently been extended, with beautiful houses in the midst of beautiful yards filled with sweet scented flowers, and inhabited by the industrious mechanics, business and professional men, and fair and lovely women; and — God bless them! — they too were here to honor the ceremonies of this dedication. And we now have the finest bridge on the coast!
In concluding Mr. Campbell introduced Mr. George E. King, the architect and builder. Three rousing and hearty cheers were given for Mr. King, after which he responded as follows:
Mr. King thanked the people present for their manifestation of good will towards him personally; indeed he was proud to acknowledge that since his arrival in Santa Rosa he had received nothing but kindness and hospitality at the hands of the people, and he never could forget it. To-day, in looking over this assemblage of people who had come spontaneously to testify their appreciation of the bridge just completed, he could hardly find words to express his gratitude. He referred to the turnouts and fine horses here, and said they could not be excelled on this or any other coast. He gave a history of the iron bridge and the opposition it had met on Its first introduction, and said this was the first and only bridge of the kind on the coast, and that time would demonstrate that it was all that could be desired. The Band played several lively airs. Three cheers were given to Mr. Higgins, also to the City Trustees, the Santa Rosa Band and James P. Clark. The bridge having been cleared, Mr. Clark drove his team at full speed across the bridge, but it did not effect it in the slightest degree. The sparkling wine being exhausted, the merry crowd dispersed to their homes well pleased with what they had seen.
Mr. R. Higgins,the agent of the firm of King & Son, obtained the contract from the city and displayed great energy in making preparations for and in carrying on the work. Mr. George E. King, of the firm, arrived with the materials from Cleveland, and since then has superintended the work personally, and it is the universal opinion that the structure is complete in all its parts. This is the first and only iron bridge on the Pacific Coast, and Santa Rosa has reason to be proud of it.
– Sonoma Democrat, March 18 1876
The Iron Bridge.
Parties traveling over the new Iron Bridge will take notice there is a sign which calls for a fine of twenty dollars if they drive faster than a walk; and the city authorities say they are determined to carry out the law. We have been informed that it is a common habit to drive across at full speed to the detriment of the bridge.
– Sonoma Democrat, April 1 1876
What is the Name?
The street leading northerly from the plaza is called C or Mendocino street, at the option of the caller. The continuation of the same street on the south side of the plaza is called Main street as far as the iron bridge, and then, we believe, Santa Rosa Avenue. The two streets fronting the east and west sides of the plaza are called C street, Hinton Avenue, Commercial Row and perhaps by other names. This is calculated to bring about some confusion, and we hope the Mayor and Board of Aldermen will settle the name or names authoritatively, if it has not been done heretofore.
– Sonoma Democrat, April 22 1876
We learn that some persons continue to violate the ordinance forbidding fast driving or riding ever the iron bridge, and that the penalty will hereafter be strictly enforced.
– Sonoma Democrat, May 27 1876
BUSINESS TRANSACTED BY THE CITY COUNCILMEN
…City Engineer Ricksecker gave a verbal report on the three styles of bridges before the Council. The iron bridge, he said, was a strong, substantial structure, but the plans and specifications failed to provide any foundation of piles, stone or concrete. The re-inforced concrete bridge he considered as good, but not as ornamental as a solid stone structure. He recommended that the foundation be four feet under the water line instead of two feet. He suggested that the approaches might be made from the timber of the old bridge for temporary use, and fill in later from the street and lot gradings. Architect Willcox explained his plans for a re-inforced concrete bridge from street to street, with a driveway and walks on each side of the road. Mr. Willcox estimated the cost of the re-inforced concrete bridge at $9,200; re-inforced concrete bridge with stone facing $10,700; all stone bridge, $12,000. After further consideration the plans were adopted with the suggestions made by Engineer Ricksecker, and the clerk was instructed to advertise for a steel bridge in addition to the three kinds of bridges already named…
– Press Democrat, November 14 1905
AWARD CONTRACT FOR NEW BRIDGE ON MAIN STREET
A fine steel bridge, with concrete flooring is to take the place of the old iron structure on Main street, which has been adjudged dangerous for all but light loads….
– Press Democrat, April 10 1907
TEARING DOWN THE OLD BRIDGE
Main Street Bridge Being Removed to Make Way for New and Modern Structure Across Creek
Not many more travelers will pass over, and not much more water will flow under, the old iron bridge across Santa Rosa creek at Main street. Yesterday the workmen began to tear it down. The footpath on either side has been removed, and pedestrians must now keep in the middle of the road. The old span wobbles much when a team passes over, and for some time heavy loads have been taken to the other bridges.
A little boy remarked to another yesterday that when the circus comes the elephants will not be able to cross. The other reminded him that they hadn’t crossed there last year, either. “They didn’t try it,” he said. “If they had, I guess the fellers would a’ had to buy new elephants, ’cause the bridge wasn’t strong enough, and they’d all been killed.” Last year the elephants forded the creek at Davis street, and the drivers had a “time” in getting them to leave their wallowing in the bed of the creek.
The old bridge was built in 1877, [sic] and was regarded as a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It was a good bridge, too. But it has severed [sic] its purpose. The new steel bridge will require sixty days or thereabouts in its construction. Meanwhile, teams will go around, and foot-travelers will have a little plank bridge for their use.
– Press Democrat, August 22 1907
THE MUCH WANTED BRIDGE IS ORDERED
Contractor W. L. Call was awarded the contract to erect the bridge at the end of Pierson street across Santa Rosa Creek, by the Board of Supervisors on Thursday morning….The city donated the old Iron bridge that formerly stood on Main street and this will be reconstructed and shortened and will be just the thing…
– Press Democrat, January 8 1909