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Waiting for the Bridge

The couple seated at the top of this land form is not identified, but the pose is certainly entertaining.  We might let our examination of this photo stop there but, if we did, a lot of local history would be lost.  To begin with, where is it?  [Don't forget to click on the photos to get larger images.] 2013.001.006 While the terrain looks vaguely familiar, I couldn’t place the land form but Red Cliff came to mind.  So, I asked the Red Cliff regulars (those whom I consult for anything Red Cliffian) and was told, politely, “No, it’s not Santa Claus rock in Red Cliff, it is actually Battle Mountain.”  And even more exciting, it is Battle Mountain as it was prior to the building of the Red Cliff Bridge (completed in 1941). Starting at the distant hillside behind the couple, we see Vic Dump Woods.  Vic Dump had the contract from the Forest Service to cut timber on that hillside.  The white “line” on the hillside, is the skid trail.  Horses pulled logs to the skid trail where the logs were then sent down the skid trail.  At the bottom of the trail, horses were again used to take the logs to the Fleming Lumber Co. mill on Turkey Creek for processing.  That skid trail is still visible today using GoogleEarth.
1925 Victor Dump at the reins of the horse team and Otto Bergman sitting on lumber from the Fleming Lumber mill.  The lumber is on a skid drawn by a horse team.   1925 Victor Dump at the reins of the horse team and Otto Bergman sitting on lumber from the Fleming Lumber mill. The lumber is on a skid drawn by a horse team.

Looking at midfield in this photo (behind the top of the land form), we see Butters Flats, a clear area.  At the very bottom of the photo at right, is a road going into Red Cliff, again before the bridge was constructed. Construction of the Red Cliff Bridge and the road on either side (Hwy 24) involved a lot of blasting and clearing rock.  The very top of Battle Mountain, Lover’s Leap, where our happy couple sits, was blown off and a hoist was constructed.  There was also a hoist on the opposite (Leadville) side and a highline cable ran between the two.  This highline was used to hoist the main girders during bridge construction.
Lover’s Leap rock formation which marks the access to Red Cliff. Hoist on the top of the formation indicates the construction period for the Red Cliff arch bridge on Highway 24 (1938-1939).  Lover’s Leap rock formation which marks the access to Red Cliff. Hoist on the top of the formation indicates the construction period for the Red Cliff arch bridge on Highway 24 (1938-1939).

Blasting on the Leadville side approach was done to create the road bed for Hwy 24.
Railroad bridge over the Eagle River visible at right foreground. Railroad bridge over the Eagle River visible at right foreground.

The main girders for the bridge arrived by rail at the Red Cliff Depot and then were lifted into place using the cables and hoist.  The entire process was fascinating and difficult given the terrain.  Watching the progress provided hours of entertainment for locals.
Bud Beck on a girder. Bud Beck on a girder.

The shot below of the roadbed construction on the bridge puts the Lover’s Leap of Battle Mountain, or what’s left of it, on the right.  An amazing amount of rock was removed to accomplish the task, something the young couple on the peak never imagined. 2008.009.145 Thanks to Ernie, Len, and Bud!          

Comments

I

Interesting, as always, Jaci - thank you!!!!

I'm just glad someone saved that photo...a gem!

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