Since You Asked: A bridge too many
I have some bridge questions. My records indicate the first Main Street bridge was washed out in 1890 and the replacement (later moved to Jackson Street) existed 1902 to 1912. Was there no crossing except by fording for 12 years? What year was the Eighth Street bridge constructed to relieve traffic on the 1912 Main Street bridge? I remember walking across the collapsed Cottage Street bridge in the 1940s. Do you have a record of the year it washed out? These question may not be of general interest, but there may be other bridge freaks, I mean fans, other than me.
P.S. Also curious about dates of Barnett Road and McAndrews Road bridges, but better not push my luck.
Ken L., Happy Valley, Ore.
We at Since You Asked headquarters had to rely heavily (OK, completely), on the Mail Tribune's fabulous librarian, Pam Sieg, who can find everything in our newspaper's archives. So, here you go, Ken:
1886 — The first bridge across Bear Creek was built at Main Street.
1889-90 — The bridge washed out, people forded Bear Creek, and that would be by horse and buggy, not automobile.
1902 — A $6,000 steel bridge across Bear Creek at Main Street was completed after two months of construction.
1903 — The first privately owned car arrived in Medford.
1912 — The steel bridge was moved to Jackson Street, and a concrete bridge was built at Main Street.
1927 — The 1927 flood turned the Cottage Street bridge into a dam, as debris clogged the creek and the creek flooded city streets. So the city dynamited it. (Research did not turn up when it had been built).
1931 — Cottage Street bridge built for $25,000.
1936 — "McAndrews Ford" near McAndrews Farm was replaced with McAndrews bridge, a Depression-era Works Progress Administration project.
1943 — Flood nearly wiped out the Cottage Street bridge. In July, repair work began on the Cottage Street bridge. That flood took out four bridges across the county, including a portion of the Barnett Road bridge.
1948 — A new Barnett bridge was built (and widened in 1966), and that one's due to be replaced by the Oregon Department of Transportation for $1.8 million in 2009.
1952 — A new McAndrews bridge was built (later widened in 1967).
1960 — The Eighth Street bridge was built. The $51,000 two-lane bridge was restricted to one-way traffic eastbound, and the Main Street bridge was restricted to one-way traffic westbound. Plans were under review for a new bridge at Tenth Street, to be built in 1961.
1992 — The 79-year-old Main Street bridge replaced for $1.75 million (city paid 10 percent of that, ODOT found the rest).
2005-06 — McAndrews Road bridge replaced for $7.6 million through ODOT.
We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.