Stewart Creek Stone-Arch Bridge

“The Picturesque is seen in ideas of beauty manifested with something of rudeness, violence, or difficulty. The effect of the whole is spirited and pleasing, but parts are not balanced, proportions are not perfect, and details are rude. We feel at the first glance at a picturesque object, the idea of power exerted, rather than the idea of beauty which it involves.”
— Andrew Jackson Downing, American Landscape Architect

Travelers come upon the Stewart Creek stone-arch bridge in a bend of an unpaved section of Skyline Parkway, where the bridge reveals its mammoth, craggy, Picturesque stonework over a beautifully wooded ravine. The bridge was constructed around 1925 as part of a new section of the scenic parkway. It conveys a mood rather than a particular style and was designed as much for its ornamental effect as it was for its function.

20141001-IMG_0241Made of locally-quarried, dark green gabbro, the single 30-foot elliptical arch spans the deep ravine of Stewart Creek. Atop the arch, a row of boulders shaped into a row of jagged sawtooth creates a railing and gives the bridge a Medieval look. Additional stones were roughly worked into pinnacles and extend along the retaining walls that extend along the bridge approach. The bridge was intended to be the gem of the western extension of Skyline Parkway, which was expected to eventually connect to Fond du Lac and Jay Cooke State Park.

Significant because of its unique design and picturesque location, the stone-arch bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The bridge was nearly destroyed in the flooding that took place in the west end of Duluth in 2012. It was restored and reopened in 2013.



References:

National Register of Historic Places, Bridge No. L-6007, Duluth,
      St. Louis County, Minnesota, National Register #89001826.