Big River Bridge Repaired

Mendocino Lumber Company mill at Big River, showing the bridge crossing the river, and a view to the northeast of the mill and its buildings. (Gift of Evelyn Larkin, The Evelyn Larkin Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

October 2, 1907 – The Big River Bridge reopened for public travel after having been closed for 8 days. The closure was needed because the main pier that supported the shore end of the northern span settled 6 feet in one night.

Wilder Pullen and Pete Hansen completed the repairs. In the meantime, George A. Boyd improvised a temporary ferry on the river. This was the fourth time in less than two years that this bridge, built in 1899, had been closed for repairs.

Just 8 months earlier, the same pier had sunk 8 feet following a heavy rainstorm that dumped over 16 inches of rain in 6 days. In January 1906, another heavy storm resulted in a strong river current that undermined the center piers and caused the bridge to drop 5 feet. Those repairs had barely been completed when an entire span of the bridge fell into the water during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

A new bridge, consisting of two 120-foot Howe truss spans and supported on reinforced concrete piers and abutments, was built in 1924 to replace this bridge.

1906 Earthquake – Newspaper accounts and oral history interviews on the great quake. Twenty black and white photos showing local destruction. $15.