Sunday, November 18, 2007

Iron Bridge

Clara enjoying a pint of Old Speckled Hen on the patio of the Saxon Mill, on the River Avon in Guy's Cliff, just outside Warwick.

Since I can no longer take my daily walk around Kenilworth Castle, my favorite walk is now, by default, the walk through the Lower Arboretum to Canada Avenue. There's no castle dominating the landscape, but there is beautiful prairie, oak savanna and oak woods, pine plantations, an oxbow pond, and the Cannon River. From certain vantage points, the view of Carleton's Skinner Chapel is almost English—and today's cold drizzle added to that English feeling. It really is a lovely walk. The only thing missing is a pub at the far end of the walk. I like to imagine a riverside pub, like the Saxon Mill on the Avon outside of Warwick, called the Iron Bridge, named after the old bridge on Canada Avenue at the far northeast corner of the arboretum.

The Waterford Bridge ("the Iron Bridge") on Canada Ave.

The bridge, officially known as the Waterford Bridge, was built in 1908. After the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed this summer, the Waterford Bridge was identified as one of the most structurally-deficient bridges in the state, and is now scheduled for replacement, perhaps as early as next year. There is a possibility that the old 1908 iron bridge could be preserved for its historical value if Canada Avenue can be realigned. The bridge was built by the Hennepin Bridge Company, founded in 1900, using a metal truss design that was common at the time. The bridge should be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and could be converted to pedestrian or bicycle use (like this other Hennepin Bridge company bridge in Wisconsin). I hope an effort will be made to preserve this historic bridge. Now, about that pub...
The sign over the Iron Bridge on the south side of the Cannon River (click to enlarge)

The view from the bridge, looking southwest down the Cannon River (toward Northfield)

The "structurally-deficient" undercarriage of the bridge

After today's cold, wet walk, Clara and I returned home for hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps (in lieu of a pint in the non-existent Iron Bridge Pub), then I built fire in the woodstove and cooked up a pot of corn and potato chowder and some homemade rolls while listening to one of the greatest recordings of all time: the classic RCA Victor recording of Verdi's Aïda from the late 1950s, with Jussi Björling, Zinka Milanov, Leonard Warren, and Fedora Barbieri.


fabrile heart said...

Aaaaagh, a peck of the Hen. It certainly looks good from here :)

Penny said...

My son tried fishing from that bridge last summer. No luck, but standing on the bridge and looking down at the gutter below the deck, we could sure see a lot of dead fish -- presumably ones that were dropped after being caught.

I love the idea of a little pub there! Want to become a poetry-writing, bread-baking, Latin-speaking publican?

Christopher Tassava said...

I can't help run such a pub, but I'll definitely patronize it. My favorite run is from the Arb trailhead near the West Gym, up to Canada Avenue along the river (more or less), and then back. A nice pint would make the return trip all the better. Important to stay hydrated.

New Poem: "Phrasebook"

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