BARRETT/COTTONWOOD BRIDGE

 

In 1927 there was yet another flood.  Some roads were washed out and the Cottonwood Bridge was swept away AGAIN.   Historically, this bridge along with the Sweetwater bridge washed out every time there was a flood.   The first permanent bridge at Cottonwood creek was built in 1914 and washed out in 1916.    Each time the bridge was washed away they made a make-shift bridge with cables at first, then with planks until a permanent bridge could be rebuilt.  It was not as hard to get across the river with horse and buggy, but the cars made it more difficult.

By 1929 two bridges had been completed, one over the Potrero Creek and one over the Cottonwood Creek.  These two creeks joined just north of the present day Cottonwood Bridge.  One was a two truss bridge and the other a three truss bridge.  Both bridges were  supported by overhead steel beams and girders.  These bridges were built for the old cars and were very narrow.   Several people have stated they thought these were used bridges when they were erected at this location.   Note the two pictures of the dedication in 1929.  It looks like a big celebration with a band and dignitaries.   In the one picture you can see the three truss bridge where everyone is gathering for the celebration.

Sometime in the 1940ís two trucks met on the narrow three truss bridge.  One truck driver veered to the right to avoid hitting the oncoming truck.  He hit the truss and one full span collapsed.  It must have been during dry season, as they just took that one span down and filled it in with dirt and continued using the remaining two span bridge. The third picture that was taken on the Potrero grade overlooks the valley and it definitely shows two bridges with only two spans each.  It is a good picture of  the highway winding down the grade on a very narrow road and can be seen today on the north side of the highway.  This shows the conditions of the roads at that time.

Both of these bridges have been torn down, but if you drive to the end of the road past the feed store,  you can see evidence of their existence. This all took place prior to Highway 94 Club, but it is the type of project they would have been involved in.

An interesting sideline, Mr. Smith, who is a long time resident of Barrett, said the original telegraph line from the desert to Ft. Rosecrans went across the river by these bridges and was  built about 1870 by the Army.   Evidence of these telegraph poles could be seen for years.  Once a soldier wanted to get married while stationed in the desert and there was no minister, so they called a preacher in San Diego and he married them over the telegraph line.

 

Picture #29, 30, 31 and 32  

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