Spokane's first Monroe Street Bridge is completed on October 17, 1889.

  • By Laura Arksey
  • Posted 3/02/2006
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7667
On October 17, 1889, the first Monroe Street Bridge in Spokane is completed. The first bridge on the site is a rickety wooden affair built by the Spokane Cable Railway Company in partnership with the city and private interests. It will burn down in 1890 and be replaced in 1892 by the second Monroe Street Bridge, a steel bridge.

The first bridge was built out of wood, and tied with iron rods. It cost $45,000, of which $15,000 was raised by popular subscription. Spokane Cable Railway and the City of Spokane Falls shared the remaining cost. The bridge was designed for use by wagon, pedestrian, and cable car.

It burned down on July 22, 1890, and was replaced by a second Monroe Street Bridge, a steel bridge completed on June 27, 1892. This steel bridge was declared unsafe in 1905. The third Monroe Street Bridge, a massive and beautiful concrete-arch structure that became iconic to Spokane, opened on November 3, 1911. It was closed for restoration on January 6, 2003, and reopened on September 16, 2005.

Sources: Charles V. Mutschler, Spokane's Street Railways (Spokane: Inland Empire Railway Historical Society, 1987), 31; Byron Barber, “The Golden Era of Bridgebuilding,” (Pacific Northwesterner, Vol. 28, No. 1, Winter, 1984), 3-7; “Bridge Builder Amazed By City,” Spokesman-Review, August 22, 1951; “Bridging Generations,” Spokesman-Review, September 17, 2005, Sec. O, pp. 1-8; “Bridging the Past to the Future,” Spokesman-Review, Special Supplement, September 11, 2005, pp. 1-8; Nancy Gale Compau, History of the Monroe Street Bridges: 1889 to Rehabilitation in 2005 (Spokane: Historic Preservation Advocates, 2005); Craig Holstine and Richard Hobbs, Spanning Washington: Historic Highway Bridges of the Evergreen State (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2005), 124-128; Craig Holstine, "Spokane Register of Historic Places Nomination Form," Spokane: City/County Historic Landmarks Commission, 1990; Henry Matthews, Kirtland Cutter: Architect in the Land of Promise (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998), 258-259; National Register of Historic Places website accessed February 14, 2006 (http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/research/nrs.htm); Spokane Historic Preservation Office website, accessed February 14, 2006 (http://www.historicspokane.org). See also “Historic Spokane Bridge Rebuilt,” Pacific Builder and Engineer, September 6, 2004, pp. 10-11.

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