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Category: Random Sites

Aged and Rusting: War Memorial Bridge

Aged and Rusting: War Memorial Bridge

This is War Memorial Bridge, sometimes known as Climax Bridge due to its proximity to Climax, Minnesota. The bridge’s official designation is MNDot Bridge #7097. War Memorial Bridge spans the Red River on Minnesota’s western border, between Polk County, Minnesota, and Traill County, North Dakota.

War Memorial Bridge

War Memorial Bridge was built in 1957 and it is considered a significant historical bridge by the state of Minnesota, due in part to its unique construction. As described by MNDOT’s historic bridges page:

The bridge was designed to accommodate shifting Red River of the North soils through previously established engineering techniques such as the use of long approach spans, rocker bents, long finger expansion joints, and swivel hinges. It is significant for its truss design and exemplifying the cooperation between North Dakota and Minnesota highway departments to improve connections between the two states.

Read MNDOT’s PDF report on War Memorial Bridge.

War Memorial Bridge

I decided to photograph this bridge along with several others for a potential future book about bridges. These steel truss bridges are disappearing all the time, to be replaced with highly-functional but comparatively boring modern highway bridges. Another bridge just a few miles to the south, Nielsville Bridge, built in 1939, is a good example. It is closed due to its deteriorating condition, but a grant for a new bridge was denied in 2016, leaving its fate undetermined. I think it’s best to photograph these places before they’re gone.

War Memorial Bridge

War Memorial Bridge

Above: Looking over the Red River of the North from the roadway.

War Memorial Bridge
Image / Google Earth

Above: War Memorial Bridge is directly west of Climax, Minnesota, or about 15 minutes southwest of Crookston. What do you know about War Memorial Bridge? Please leave a comment.

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright © 2017 Sonic Tremor Media

Pioneer Remains in Strand Township

Pioneer Remains in Strand Township

In Strand Township, Norman County, not far from Gary, Minnesota and about twelve miles west of Mahnomen stand the remains of a pioneer community. I ran across this church and school by accident as I was returning from a trip to northeast Minnesota to photograph some spots in the forest, including Togo.

strand township church

This was Immanuel Lutheran Church, possibly built as early as 1910. If anyone knows the history of this church, please leave a comment. I poked my camera through a window to get a photo of the inside, disturbing the pigeons in the process. You can see them in flight near the ceiling.

strand township church

strand township church

We featured dozens of country churches like this in our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains, available now.

strand township church

strand township church

Just three miles west, this abandoned one room school stands crumbling at the intersection of Highways 200 and 32. This school predates the church by roughly thirty years, dating to the 1880s. This school and the church down the road are just a few miles from Gary, Minnesota, and not far from a few other places we’ve photographed, like Sundal and Lockhart, Minnesota.

strand township school

strand township school

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

Bagley Lost Highway

Bagley Lost Highway

There’s an abandoned stretch of road sandwiched between US Highway 2 and Airport Drive on the outskirts of Bagley, Minnesota. A visitor to this website suggested this place to us after seeing our post on the lost highway in what was once McHugh, Minnesota, near Detroit Lakes.

Bagley Lost Highway
Image/Google Earth

Based on the map, it looks like US Highway 2 was realigned at some point, leaving this stretch of highway abandoned. If someone knows the details, please leave a comment.

Bagley Lost Highway

Bagley Lost Highway

This abandoned road stretches about six-tenths of a mile and parallels the railroad line.

Bagley Lost Highway

In North Dakota, we photographed another lost highway, created by a man-made flood.

Bagley Lost Highway

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

Phelps Mill

Phelps Mill

This is Phelps Mill, in Ottertail County, about fourteen miles northeast of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It was originally known as Maine Roller Mills.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

This mill began operations in 1889 and prospered as a flour mill in the age of hyrdopower that predated steam, gas, and electric mills. The plaque on-site says it closed for good in 1939. The sign shown below says 1931.

Ottertail County bought the site in 1965, and ten years later it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

We drove up to the mill one weekend afternoon and I was surprised to see the mill standing with the door wide open, welcoming travelers who were passing through. There is also a really nice little riverside park here, perfect for a picnic.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

 

This place has it’s own arts and crafts festival every year in July.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

The restoration and development referenced in the sign above is largely credited to a campaign by local activist Geneva Tweten, referenced on the plaque below.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

The mill is open to the public and pretty well-trafficked on a beautiful day like this. We saw twenty or more vehicles come through while we were there, which is pretty impressive considering the remoteness of the site. I also discovered my cellphone was reception was less-than-total.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

The fall colors were just starting to show.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

The Ottertail River is gorgeous from above.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

This window was covered in flies, and for just a moment I had an Amityville flashback.

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

Phelps Mill, Minnesota

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

St. Pauli Lutheran Church

St. Pauli Lutheran Church

This is St. Pauli Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Almond Township, Big Stone County, just a short drive north of Ortonville on US Highway 75.

As I understand the explanation on this page, I think this church was built in 1896 after a split within the Norwegian Lutheran community created two new congregations with separate churches.

St. Pauli Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church

St. Pauli Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church

The grounds of this church and cemetery are in remarkable condition.  It’s clear there are some people who really take pride in this place.

St. Pauli Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church

St. Pauli Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church

St. Pauli Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Mehurin Township Hall

Mehurin Township Hall

This old township hall stands alone beside a gravel road in Lac Qui Parle County, just a few miles east of the border with South Dakota.  I found it particularly beautiful, on top of a hill, with purple blooms in the prairie grasses.

Mehurin Township Hall

Mehurin Township Hall

Mehurin Township Hall

Mehurin Township Hall

Mehurin Township Hall

Mehurin Township Hall

Mehurin Township Hall

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Twin Cities Skyline

Twin Cities Skyline

Looking west-south-west on Minneapolis in January, 2011.  Wait for it…