An amazing video has been digitized of the historic Spiral Bridge in Hastings, showing it in use before its demolition, and a brief shot of its demise. You can check it out here. Thanks to Cathy Wurzer for posting this on the Tales of the Road facebook page!
“Highway Explorer” comes through again….this time with pics of an old iron bridge in Reads Landing in Wabasha County. This bridge is at the west end of 202nd Street, just north of modern U.S. 61. It is now used as a private entrance.
Although it was once part of the Wabasha Military Road, this bridge was never used by U.S. 61. The old military road passed through Reads Landing on its way to Camp Lacupolis, where it ascended out of the river valley and then followed modern County Roads 10 and 4 towards Lake City. The road was eventually moved to a new alignment that bypassed Reads Landing entirely.
The current alignment of U.S. 61 along the lake wasn’t constructed until 1930.
Today we have another set of photos from “Highway Explorer”, this time of a stretch of old highway in the northeastern corner of Rice County. This road, now labeled on maps as Albany Avenue, was once part of State Highway 165. However, its history goes back a bit further. (See below for a map of the south end of the old alignment).
The first road in this area was the historic Dodd Road, a path blazed between St. Paul and St. Peter in the mid 1850’s. By the early 1920’s, the stretch of Dodd Road in northeast Rice County had ceased to be an important long-distance route. A 1921 auto trails map doesn’t even show it. Construction records show that the road was graveled (and presumably graded) as a county job in 1924. Construction plans show the road as “State Road 25”, which in today’s terms would be a County State Aid Highway. The road was eventually added to the trunk highway system in 1934 as part of the new State Highway 165, a route connecting Faribault and Lakeville as an alternate to U.S. 65, bypassing Northfield.
What is now Albany Avenue remained in use until 1947, when a new grade was constructed just to the east, leaving it behind as a local road, shown on later construction plans as County Road 98. The new grade was paved in 1949, and eventually became U.S. 65 in 1956. In 1964, I-35 was constructed just to the west. The bit of the south end of Albany Avenue was destroyed by the new freeway.
Today, the old highway remains gravel, just as it was back in 1924. Bridge #3978, a 20 foot concrete slab structure constructed in 1923 by the Department of Highways over Chub Creek, still survives today. The old road also passes by an historic church and through the unincorporated town of Hazelwood. It is now accessible at both ends via Rice County Road 46, which now occupies the old two-lane alignment of U.S. 65.
I came across this little article on Boston.com about the state of Vermont ordering towns to claim their historic road right-of-ways, or lose public access to them.
Looks like the state of Vermont has a problem on its hands. Perhaps they should have kept better track of right-of-ways? Now if only Minnesota needed someone to do this for them….