Here is the pic that appeared in the Westport Wave of September 1, 2013:
Ten Mile Bridge in 1949
Two bridges at the same time? Er, no. Let Thad Van Beuren, archaeologist and local author, explain:
“Jan Haagen-Smit shared the image above of two former bridges over the lower Ten Mile River. I’m guessing this was taken around the time the railroad was converted to the haul road in 1949. The bridge on the right was built in 1916 at the time that the (Union Lumber Company’s) Ten Mile Branch railroad was constructed. There is evidence of recent demolition of the railway with bulldozer tracks and rails in the foreground. The old bridge is blocked off and a car is visible on the new low-slung bridge. The approaches to the new bridge are very newly placed fill with no plant growth. It was a time of big changes in the woods and along the state highway.”
This movie seems to have been made by the Parks service. If you aren’t from here it shows the great bike trail and walking trail from the south end of FB to the north end of McKerricher State Park. If you are from around here it’s a gentle reminder that we do, indeed, live in a paradise.
The Union Lumber Company’s Ten Mile Branch ran from the Mill site in Fort Bragg north along the coast over five trestles till it came to Ten Mile River. The first of the five – Pudding Creek Trestle – is the only one of the five that remains. There is little to be seen today of the other four trestles.
Laguna Creek was once a freshwater inlet that was periodically flushed by ocean surges. To cross Laguna Creek at MacKerricher State Park. (actually, it should be spelled MacKericher, but one of the MacKericher daughters thought it was “tonier” to have an extra “r” in their name.) the line’s longest trestle (815 feet) was built across the creek and the dumping of fill material created what is now Lake Cleone. The McKerricher trestle was the third of the five trestles – the second was at Virgin Creek, the fourth at Sandhills and the fifth was at Inglenook Fen.
These two great photos show you what you can see today …….
Our layout here in Fort Bragg has two trestles. We have modeled the ones at Virgin Creek and Pudding Creek. A fairly common question is are there any old trestles left in the woods? The answer is “yes” as the photos below attest:
Old trestles #1
Old trestles #2
Old trestles #3
Old trestles #4
Can you go and see them? Alas, no. The roads into the woods these days have locked gates. Also, the loggers stay pretty “mum” about the locations of these remaining trestles.
The Union Lumber Company’s Ten Mile Branch ran from the Mill site in Fort Bragg north along the coast over five trestles till it came to Ten Mile River. At Ten Mile River the railroad made a huge sweeping turn to follow the river eastwards inland.
The ocean front portion of the Ten Mile Railroad route is now a dedicated hiking and equestrian trail from Pudding Creek to Ten Mile. Between 1916 and 1949, the Ten Mile Railroad was a working logging line carrying few passengers except for woods workers and their families who lived in the camps along the Ten Mile River. After the change to truck hauling in 1949, Union Lumber and successors Boise-Cascade and Georgia-Pacific used the railroad route as a logging road until 1983 when winter storms damaged the oceanfront portion of the road. The old railroad bed east of the Ten Mile Bridge is still used by Georgia-Pacific [and its current owners] as a logging road.
The railroad was discontinued June 17, 1949 and replaced by a private trucking road, which in turn was abandoned in 1983. The road is now owned by the people of California through the State Parks system.
North of the access to MacKerricher State Park at Ward Avenue, the route of the Ten Mile Railroad enters the ocean side edge of the Ten Mile sand dunes. The transition point, where the bluffs end and the dunes begin, was the site of a major El Nino washout in February 1998 when the remains of an old railroad trestle could be seen after the pavement toppled to the beach. Subsequent storms washed away most of this trestle.
Remains of an Inlenook Fen Tresrle
Last winter there was a lot of heavy surf and very high tides along the coast with a lot movement of the beach and much debris washed up. Club member Mike Aplet and his charming wife are great hikers. They recently (Spring 2017) walked along the beach along the Inglenook Fen section of the Ten Mile Branch found, and photographed – see below – pieces of the Inglenook Fen Trestle.
I was talking to a couple about the trestles we have on our layout. They were very interested and, I think, quite surprised that an aged accountant knew so much about them. As usual I was basking in the thought that somebody actually thought I knew my onions. And then came the zingers: “Which was the oldest trestle? Which was the highest and which is the largest that still exists?” I was stumped. I took my wee notepad from my pocket, noted the questions down and promised to investigate and post what I found out here.
Now, before I proceed, let me say that if anyone “out there” has better answers than me I’d be right happy if they would contact me.
This, I am sure, is not the oldest trestle. It is however the oldest of which I have a picture:
Now I don’t know if this counts as the highest or not – it’s over the Crooked River Gorge in central Oregon sits nearly 320 feet off of the water:
Biggest Still Around
I feel more confident about this one – it’s the Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge. It was built in 1932 and it is still standing. It’s 600 feet long and 200 feet high. It is the largest freestanding wooden trestle in the world.
Our website has a pretty good page on Russian Gulch. In the text it says,”Prior to the [present] bridge’s opening, traffic across the gulch was carried on a wooden trestle bridge built in 1911, that was designed to support the weight of a 6 horse team!!” The page has pictures of the current very graceful bridge but no picture(s) of the old wooden bridge ……..until now.
I recently came upon this pic of the current bridge under construction:
Russian gulch bridge under construction
Ignore the construction and look at the top left corner of the photo ……..yup …… there’s the old bridge – well part of it and owt is better than nowt!!!
The Virgin Creek Trestle was the first of five Trestles on the Ten Mile Branch which were needed to get Union Lumber Company’s (ULC) trains from the mill opposite downtown to the Ten Mile River basin.
We have only one photo of the Virgin Creek Trestle – this one:
This picture was taken after a severe storm in 1949. The trestle was not repaired but shortened and the remainder turned into a berm. What was left of the trestle was replaced by a berm and a culvert, we believe, in 1959.
A picture of our first model of the Virgin Creek Trestle is below:
As you can see from the picture we built the model of the trestle with no cross bracing (just as in the picture). We have been told that the trestle MUST have had cross bracing. However NO-ONE produced a picture. So …… the model had no cross bracing!
Late last fall the decision was made to replace the eight year old trestle which had suffered the ravages of the Fort Bragg salt air (the layout is but a half mile from the sea), the UV and the winter rains. Work has been ongoing and the new trestle with proper bents is nearly complete.
The old trestle is gone and the support for the new concrete scenery is in place
The footings for the new bents are in place
The new south end with the footings for the new bents
The new north end of the Trestle
The new Virgin Creek Trestle virtually complete
The new trestle even has a creek
Good work by the construction crew particularly President Chuck Whitlock and club member Joe Green