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Swinging Bridge added to state historic registry

The Swinging Bridge was recently added to the State Historic Registry. It spans the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic from Cascade Avenue to Glen Park. Photo courtesy of City of River Falls

The Swinging Bridge has been a part of River Falls since it was constructed in 1925 by the Minneapolis Bridge Company. At the time it cost about $4,800, according to City Development Services Director Amy Peterson.

A news release from the Wisconsin Historical Society said the bridge is one of only about five pedestrian suspension bridges.

"So, it has a unique type of construction," she said.

The bridge has become an iconic part of River Falls, Peterson added.

"When my friends and relatives come to River Falls and they want to see what River Falls is about," Peterson said, "I take them to Glen Park and show them the bridge."

Now, the bridge has been added to the State Registry of Historic Places, as of Feb. 16, according to a news release by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The State Registry is an official list of properties that are significant to Wisconsin's heritage, administered by the State Historic Preservation Office at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Getting the Swinging Bridge added to the state registry is a requirement to get the bridge listed on the national registry, Peterson said.

She said the city has applied to get the Swinging Bridge added to the national registry but there is no timeline for the process, and she doesn't know when the national registry will respond.

Peterson said the Swinging Bridge's addition to the registry is important from a historical perspective as well as tourist perspective.

She said people sometimes look at the registry and specifically visit places to see buildings or structures.

If the bridge is added to the national registry in the future, it could mean additional opportunities for federal and state grants, if and when the bride needs rehabilitation again.

The Swinging Bridge was rehabbed in 1985-86 with careful consideration of the original appearance.

"They worked hard back then to make sure that it stayed true to the original structure," Peterson said.

The bridge was originally listed as potentially eligible for the national registry in 1990 when the city did an architectural history survey.

The City updated the survey in 2014-15, and the bridge was listed as potentially eligible for the registry again at that time.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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