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Boreal Community Media

Historic stone bridge in Grand Portage getting a “facelift”: construction to begin Monday.

Jun 15, 2018 08:43AM ● By Editor

From staff reports at The Cook County News Herald - June 15, 2018

After nearly a century of heavy use, traffic, and unforgiving Minnesota winters, the historic stone bridge in Grand Portage is in need of repair. Work will begin later this month to rehabilitate the bridge masonry using craftspeople and volunteers highly skilled in historic preservation techniques. The craftspeople will also document, disassemble, and then rebuild the bridge parapets (walls above the road surface) as they were built during the original construction of the bridge.

For the duration of the project (approximately six to eight weeks), traffic over the bridge will be reduced to one lane only. Crew, pedestrian, and vehicle safety will take priority in the construction zone. Signs will direct vehicle and pedestrian crossing patterns/ right of way.

The stone bridge was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps— Indian Division (CCC-ID), and completed in 1938. It may be the only CCC-ID built bridge remaining in the state of Minnesota.

The single-arch bridge is an iconic landmark in Grand Portage, and has been an integral part of the community for 80 years. The bridge connects the main travel corridor between the east and west areas of the village, but is also a treasured centerpiece to the community. For generations, the bridge has been part of daily life including fishing along the Grand Portage Creek, as a beautiful backdrop for picnics in the nearby “Pines,” and as a meeting place, connecting generations of Grand Portage Ojibwe people.

This historic preservation project is a collaboration between the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage National Monument, and the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center, with assistance from the Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps, and the Cook County Highway Department. 

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