The Famous Spiral Bridge: My O.G.M.B.C. Submission

My entry for the Old Grumbleface May Bridge Challenge is going to be a history lesson.  Not a very in-depth history lesson, but certainly an exciting and self-serving history lesson.  When I set out this morning I thought I would simply meet the minimum requirement of a picture of my bike strategically placed in front of a bridge.  Well, that’s just not my style.

But then, history lessons are not my style either, so this O.G.M.B.C. post will be a first for me.  In a way, I guess you could say this post about a historic bridge is history-making (not to mention long-winded.)

The story of the famous Hastings Spiral Bridge begins in the year 1895.  That’s the year it opened to connect Hastings to St. Paul via Highway 61.  I do believe the bridge really WAS famous for two reasons: 1)  All of the Hastings tourism brochures say it was famous, and 2) Thirty years ago, when my wife and I first moved to MY Town, my grandfather had a shock of recognition and said “Hmmmmm, Hastings?  Isn’t that where they had some kind of spiral bridge?  If an 80-year old man from Michigan knew about it, that’s famous enough for me.

 

The famous Hastings Spiral Bridge spiraled motorists right down onto the main street and forced them to drive through the business district before continuing their journey south.  After the spiral bridge was torn down in 1951, the new bridge bypassed the old downtown area and those old businesses were never able to fully recover.

 

At this point you’re probably wondering how I plan to take a picture of my bike in front of a bridge that was destroyed more than 70 years ago.  Before I can tell you that, I have to relate a little more history.

Earlier this year I was bike touring in the deserts of the American southwest.  My route took me through Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where The London Bridge now spans a portion of the Colorado River.  Formerly, London Bridge was in London, England and it spanned the River Thames from 1831 to 1967, until London Bridge started falling down.  At that time, a wealthy man named Robert McCulloch (of McCulloch Chain Saw fame) bought the bridge, transported it to Lake Havasu City, and rebuilt it.

London Bridge is standing up, thanks to Mr. McCulloch.

 

My town has its own Mr. McCulloch.  Our Mr. McCulloch is named Mr. Bauer and he owns an industrial and agricultural well-drilling company, a John Deere dealership, and a whole lot of land.  He also buys historic buildings that are scheduled for demolition and rebuilds them on one of his properties.  He built a smaller replica of the famous Hastings Spiral Bridge there as well.  I only had to pedal south seven miles on Highway 61 to get my picture of the spiral bridge and my bike.

 

Highway 61 south of MY Town.

 

There it is–the replica of the famous Hastings Spiral Bridge. Running underneath the bridge is a replica of the Mississippi River.

 

I got my roadie bike in on this one.  It would be fun to ride across the bridge, but as you can see, the bridge is fenced in.  Mr. Bauer opens the property up to the public for events a couple of times a year.  Unfortunately, those times do not occur in the month of May.

 

 

 

Me, roadie bike, bridge.

 

And that brings us to the end of today’s history lesson.  I look forward to seeing more O.G.M.B.C. posts soon.

 

 

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

5 response to "The Famous Spiral Bridge: My O.G.M.B.C. Submission"

  1. By: Bill Stone Posted: May 3, 2018

    Great report, Greg. I’m guessing that will be the only spiral bridge showing up in this month’s challenge.

  2. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: May 5, 2018

    1967-68 I was working my first job in London. The rumour went around that this crazy American had bought London Bridge thinking he had bought Tower Bridge. Although corrected in the press, some people still believe it is true.

    I would like to cycle a spiral bridge but we haven’t got any so I can’t.

  3. By: The Navigator Posted: May 6, 2018

    Very interesting and well-written. I’m sorry you can’t ride that spiral bridge. The spiral (i.e. ‘pigtail’) bridges in the Black Hills of South Dakota on the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway were sooooo fun… they should be on every cyclist’s ‘bike-it’ list.

Leave a Reply