The Big River Bridge

In those days “1870” it was a BIG! river in comparison to the flow that we see today. Prior to that you had to swim the river, there are many references to this by the doctor who had to swim, to service folks to the west. There was a ferry boat for a while, but most would choose to swim rather than pay the toll. There was a rock based area to the north where you could sometimes “Ford” the river by walking across the river.  “Rockford” Township was named for this part of the river. Then in 1873 a Toll Bridge was constructed. In 1877 that bridge was washed out in a Flood, back to swimming for 2 years. In 1880 another bridge was ready for use, which was soon replaced with a Steel bridge, the “Big River Bridge” that was in service until the concrete bridge was built. I refer to this as the Washington Street Bridge, which does not exist today. First picture [from the east] second picture [from the west] are the remnants of the original supports of the wood bridges which angled north to  south, to Washington St. I am still searching for photos of these bridges.

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