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Swinging Bridge added to National Historic Register

The Swinging Bridge was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge spans the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River from Cascade Avenue to Glen Park. Rachel Helgeson / RiverTown Multimedia

The Swinging Bridge was built in 1925, and has been a part of River Falls ever since. It is widely thought of as an iconic part of River Falls. In February, the Swinging Bridge received wider recognition from the state of Wisconsin, when it was added to the State Registry of Historic Places. The recognition has not stopped there.

On July 19, the city was informed that the Swinging Bridge has been added to the National Register for Historic Places.

"The Swinging Bridge is an important part of our city's history, and it is an honor to have this iconic landmark listed on the National Register," said River Falls City Administrator Scot Simpson. "Locals have long designated the bridge as a must-visit site for guests. Designation will bring some additional interest in visiting River Falls plus help make the bridge eligible for funding related to research, improvements, and maintenance."

The news has certainly been popular on Facebook. On Monday, the city posted about the Swinging Bridge being added to the registry. By Tuesday afternoon, that post had reached more than 9,000 people with 396 reactions and 81 shares.

Brandy Howe, senior planner with the city of River falls, said the listing on the registry protects the Swinging Bridge from encroachments by federal licensed or assisted projects, and makes it eligible for federal matching grants for restoration, when funds are available, if and when restoration is needed.

She said the next Historic Preservation Commission meeting will include discussing what to do to recognize the designation. She said a new plaque is likely to be put up by the bridge.

The Swinging Bridge is one of only about five pedestrian suspension bridges in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society news release that announced the Swinging Bridge's addition to the Wisconsin State Registry.

Other locations on the National Register in River Falls include South Hall, North Hall, Glen Park Pool and Bathhouse, and the Roscius and Lydia Freeman House (220 N. Third St.).

According to Development Services Director Amy Peterson, the National Register includes more than 1.4 million "resources," with at least one listing from amost every county in the country.

Peterson said the register focuses on places that are more than 50 years old. Property being added to the registry does not affect what owners can do with the property, Peterson said.

Three districts and more than 275 properties in River Falls may be eligible for the register, according to the City of River Falls Historical and Architectural Resources Survey. Those interested in seeing whether or not their property is on that list can visit www.rfcity.org/229/Historic-Preservation or contact the development department at 715-425-0900.

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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