By Kristin Matzke
For thousands of years, the human race has built structures to surmount many obstacles of the natural landscape. The construction of bridges reshapes the very environment in which we live, providing the means for humans and goods to cross a potentially otherwise impassible land.
Blue Earth County is home to a number of historic bridges in the state:
- Using a bowstring through truss design, Kern Bridge was built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company in 1873. It is located in Southbend Township but was closed to traffic in 1990. Up to that point, it was the oldest known state roadway bridge still in use. This bridge was removed in February 2020.
- Located in Mankato, Kennedy Bridge (also known as Hungry Hollow Bridge) was built in 1883. The bridge is one of the few surviving wrought iron bridges in Minnesota. It was removed from duty and put into storage in 2007.
- Dodd Ford Bridge is located just south of Amboy. Built by L. H. Johnson in 1901, it was constructed using a steel suspension design. The bridge is one of only two such bridges in tact in the state.
- Located in Cambria Township, the Marsh Concrete Rainbow Arch Bridge was constructed in 1911. It was designed by James Marsh and is the oldest example of a Marsh arch in Minnesota.
- The Blue Earth River Bridge is a concrete bridge located in west Mankato. At 10:30 in the morning on September 15, 1931, the first to cross the then newly constructed bridge was an old buggy drawn by a bay horse with an elderly gentleman at the reins.
Bridges are often taken for granted due to how prevalent they are in transportation. These particular bridges of Blue Earth County support a cultural and historical significance, bridging the gap between the past and present.