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McCullough bridges stand test of time

You carried a story recently about Conde McCullough, who built many of Oregon's historic bridges and who designed a bridge near Prospect that was later "redesigned" by bureaucrats. What are some of his designs that survived the bureaucracy and were built as he intended?

— Thomas G., Medford

Conde McCullough, considered the godfather of Oregon's scenic bridges, got his start in 1920 with a local bridge: the Rock Point Bridge over the Rogue River near Gold Hill. He also designed the "Caveman Bridge" over the Rogue at Grants Pass.

According to historian Finn J.D. John, an instructor at Oregon State University, McCullough moved to Oregon from Iowa in 1916 and after three years at Oregon Agricultural College (OSU) started working for the state's fledgling highway department.

John says MCCullough preferred to build bridges in reinforced concrete, "using clean and elegant arches, sparely decorated with a nod to Gothic cathedral architecture or possibly art-deco skyscraper design."

Other bridges he designed included his first multi-arch bridge in Myrtle Creek, a concrete-covered-steel arch bridge that links Oregon City with West Linn, the Santiam River bridge just outside Jefferson and the McLaughlin Bridge over the Clackamas River north of Oregon City.

He's probably best known for the numerous bridges he designed for the Roosevelt Military Highway — now known as Highway 101 — on the Oregon Coast. These include the bridges at Gold Beach, Reedsport, Florence, Newport, Depoe Bay and Coos Bay. The Coos Bay bridge is named after McCullough, who died in 1946.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.