Sunday, 4 March 2018

Behind the Photo: The Redwood Bridge's white elephants

Often, I will see an old photo or ad and spend some time digging into its back story. Sometimes I find a great story, sometimes not. Either way, I learn a few things about the city's history. Here's my latest attempt:

Canafornian on Flickr, one of the city's foremost collectors of historic postcards, recently posted this gem and alerted me to it.

It is a photo of the Red River taken from St. John's Park and was posted in November 1907. In the water you can see the beginnings of the Redwood Bridge, but those piers were probably being demolished by the time this postcard was sent.

Construction on the bridge began in early 1907 and its piers were pretty much completed by March.

The city then had an "oops" moment when it was realized that it failed to get permission from the feds to install something in a navigable waterway.

The Voice, April 5, 1907 (read)

The city argued that it should be able to keep the piers where they were as it would cost thousands to remove them and have them rebuilt. The feds insisted that they were too close together and had to go.

The city lost the argument.

The bill to tear them out and rebuild them came to nearly $30,000.

For more about the history of the Redwood Bridge, read my Winnipeg Places post.

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