Bridge Across Time - Salem, Oregon
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member ddtfamily
N 44° 56.799 W 123° 02.403
10T E 496840 N 4977024
Marker documenting the history of the Union Street railroad bridge
Waymark Code: WMGX8B
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 04/19/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 3

This marker provides information about the history of the Union Street Railroad Bridge connecting Salem to lines running west into the valley. It was placed at the east end of the bridge in connection with the conversion of the bridge from an abandoned rail crossing to a pedestrian and bicycle path. The marker text reads:

Bridge across time

Originally intended for interurban passenger and freight traffic, the bridge is now dedicated to public use.

1850-1900 Transportation in Willamette Valley was mainly by steamboats and railroads.
1907 Rail lines were established on both sides of the river, but passengers and freight could only cross at Salem by highway bridge or ferry.
1908 Local newspapers report proposals for an electric rail line passenger bridge.
1913 By the time the railroad bridge was completed, the future of interurban passenger rail service was in doubt.
1920-40s Bridge increasingly used for lumber and other freight transportation.
1940-50s Rail commerce declined as trucking benefited by highway improvements.
1960s-70s Canneries made use of bridge to transfer products between facilities on either side of river.
1980s Lift span permanently fixed in down position.
1990 Last freight trains crossed the bridge.
1999 Urban Renewal Agency of the City of Salem negotiated with Union Pacific to buy structure.
2004 Bridge and Trestle purchased by city for pedestrian, bicycle and emergency use.
2006 Site placed on National Register of Historic Places.
2009 Site reopened.

Photo Captions:

  • On March 15, 1913 the first train crossed to Union Street with Helen West, daughter of the governor, posing on the "cow-catcher" of the locomotive during the celebration.
  • An operator in the small building atop the structure could easily raise the lift span to allow vessels to pass under the bridge.
  • West Salem citizens, cut off from the highway bridge during a flood, crossed to safety on Union Street in January of 1948.

Click a photo to enlarge

Historic Topic: Modern Age 1900 to date

Group Responsible for placement: City Government

Marker Type: City

Region: Willamette Valley

County: Marion

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

Web link to additional information: Not listed

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TheCacheDiva visited Bridge Across Time - Salem, Oregon 09/16/2013 TheCacheDiva visited it