Whose view? From where? — October 2015

We had four correct responses to the October photo, which was taken at the Rock Island Swing Bridge Park in Inver Grove Heights.  Sara Klasky's response came in first citing a personal connection to "the park [which] is near our home and we enjoy it frequently."

David Schmidt provided a nice summary of how this historic site has been restored into a beautiful park. "The picture was taken at the Rock Island Swing Bridge park in Inver Grove Heights. It's a cool bit of history of the bridge between Dakota and Washington Co. The remnant of the double deck railroad - automobile bridge across the Mississippi River. It's a beautiful park with picnic area and a great chance to walk the restored Dakota Co. portion of bridge about 1/3 of the way out into the river. We visit it several times a year and take visiting friends to view our River!"

Matthew Loyas' response provided some sensory effects. "I believe this is an old toll bridge that connected St. Paul Park to South St. Paul.  That would be the Northern Tier energy oil refinery in the background.  When the wind changed you could smell the pork rendering plant in South Saint Paul from one direction and the fresh donuts from Supermom’s bakery in St. Paul Park form the other direction.  If the stories I hear are correct, the bridge was very narrow and rickety until they closed it down.  This toll bridge would have been an alternative to crossing the river on one of the highways. 

And last, but not least, Tom Bell, a long time resident of the area, gave a personal account of crossing the historic bridge. "The view is from the segment of the Rock Island swing bridge that crossed the Mississippi River from St. Paul Park to Inver Grove Heights. The bridge had railroad tracks above and vehicle lanes below. I crossed on that bridge each day during the school year for my first years of teaching in St. Paul Park, that was in 1955-58. When the Wakota Bridge was constructed the swing bridge stayed open for vehicles paying a toll, but trains ceased to cross. Eventually most of the bridge was dismantled except the portion coming out from Inver Grove Heights and became a park open to the public."

For more information about the Rock Island Swing Bridge Park, including how to get there, visit the park's website.


About “Whose view? From where?”

Each month in this section, we feature a photo somewhere along the river corridor in the Twin Cities that is in some way significant or important or just plain scenic. Individuals may then email us and identify the view and explain why they believe it is significant to the community or important to them personally. We'll publish some of your responses in the next issue of Mississippi Messages, where we will also reveal the correct answer.

Irene Jones