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As It Was: Bridges Increase Travel in Southern Oregon and California

Replacing ferries by bridges increased travel and accessibility in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Martin’s Ferry near Happy Camp, Calif., floated people, stock, and supplies across the Klamath River.  It was named for John F. Martin who settled there in 1854.  A ferry served the Rogue River in 1884, where the present-day Caveman Bridge of Grants Pass crosses.

Steel-truss bridges, sold in sections and assembled on site, were common in the region. 

The Coos Bay Bridge was one of six bridges built along the Oregon Coast Highway.  Opened in 1936, it was dedicated in 1947 to its designer, Conde B. McCullough.  At the time, this cantilever-truss bridge was the longest of its kind, measuring more than a mile.

The Pioneer Memorial Bridge, dedicated in 1931, crosses the Shasta River, seven miles north of Yreka.  It is 794 feet long and 252 feet above the water, even higher than the Golden Gate Bridge at 220 feet above the water.  A plaque erected on Aug. 29, 1931, honors pioneer stage coach drivers from 1854 to 1857 who were known as “knights of the whip.”

Source: Jenner, Gail L., and Bernita L. Tickner. Images of America: The State of Jefferson. Charleston. Arcadia Publishing, 2005, pp. 34, 52, 93, 95.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.