Spokane's second Monroe Street Bridge, a steel bridge, is completed on June 27, 1892.

  • By Laura Arksey
  • Posted 3/11/2006
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7683
On June 27, 1892, Spokane's second Monroe Street Bridge, a steel bridge, is completed. It replaces a rickety wooden bridge that burned down in 1890. The steel Monroe Street Bridge will be replaced in 1909 with Spokane's historic concrete arch Monroe Street Bridge, at the time the largest concrete-arch bridge in the world.

The new steel bridge accommodated power wires for streetcars and overhead lighting. This bridge vibrated badly, and in 1905 a National Good Roads Association consultant declared it unsafe, although it continued to be used. Even Ringling Brothers Circus elephants were said to have balked at crossing it. The second Monroe Street Bridge was in use for barely 20 years.

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; "Tacoma Narrows Bridge: People of the 1940 Narrows Bridge," WSDOT website accessed on March 11, 2006 (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/tnbhistory/People/people1.htm#1).

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