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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography

The Remembrance Garden

A Photo Tour Of The I-35W Bridge
Memorial Remembrance Garden


I-35W Bridge Memorial — The Remembrance Garden At Night
The I-35W bridge collapse memorial is known as the Remembrance Garden. It is located about one-quarter mile west of the new I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge along West River Parkway. It is about a block east of the Guthrie Theater and located directly north of Gold Medal Park. The garden was dedicated on August 1, 2011, at 6:05 PM, exactly 4 years to the minute from the the moment of the tragedy.

The photo above is looking east along the sidewalk and bicycle trail running along West River Parkway. The main memorial consists of 13 steel columns, one for each person who died as a result of the bridge collapse.

Note—these materials are covered by copyright and may not be used without written permission.


I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view is looking northeast across West River Parkway. The structure at the east end of the memorial is known as the Survivors Wall. It is a water feature where the water trickles down over the face of the wall.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This is another view from the west end of the memorial. The steel columns are installed on a level platform. Since the ground slopes away to the west, the west end of the memorial has a series of steps leading down to the sidewalk. Since the east end is level with the sidewalk, the memorial is still fully accessible for disabled visitors.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view is from directly across the street from the memorial. The Mississippi River is located behind the memorial. The memorial sits at elevation 820, while the river is at 751 feet, resulting in the memorial overlook being perched 69 feet above the surface of the water.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view is looking northwest across West River Parkway from the sidewalk running along the northern edge of Gold Medal Park. The memorial was originally slated to be in Gold Medal Park, but it was moved to this location because this land is owned by the city of Minneapolis, but Gold Medal Park is privately owned.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view is similar to the photo directly above, but taken from the north side of West River Parkway.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is looking west down the length of the memorial. This gives a good view of the survivor wall in relation to the vertical columns.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is looking east down the length of the memorial. The wooden wall in the background blocks the view into the site of the old Minnegasco plant. The gas company once had a very large manufactured gas plant along the riverfront. The city purchased much of that land to build the West River Parkway. Centerpoint Energy still has a small facility, and much of the rest is waiting to be developed into the Bluff Street Park.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is a closer view of the east end of the memorial and the survivor wall. I attempted to photograph the memorial several times after it opened, but there were always too many people around to get photos of the memorial without any people in the way. Many of these photos were taken in early October, 2011, in mid-afternoon with a glorious clear blue sky in the background.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This is another view of the survivor wall looking to the north. The inscription reads, “Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the face of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life. Selfless actions and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events.”

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is looking along the face of the survivor wall. The water generally flows along the stonework into the river rock at the bottom, but the wind and the lettering often allows the water to splash out onto the walkway. The water had to be turned off shortly after the memorial opened because it was found that the recycling system was not working. Instead, the water ran down the bluff behind the memorial and was causing erosion. As of July 2015, the city of Minneapolis is suing the firm that designed the memorial. The water is now turned on only during the anniversary of the collapse.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This is a close view of the lettering on the survivor wall. Some of the letters were stolen shortly after the memorial was opened to the public. The park board removed all of the letters to prevent further vandalism. This photo was taken on October 3, 2011, shortly after the letters were reinstalled. This time, stronger fasteners were used to prevent a repeat occurrence. In addition to the raised letters, stonework below the letters contains the names of the 171 people who were on the bridge and survived the collapse.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This is a closer view of four of the vertical columns. The University of Minnesota Southwest Steam Plant is visible in the background on the far side of the Mississippi River.

The following 13 images are composites that show each column in order from west to east, along with a close view of the text on the column. I did not know any of the victims, and this biographical information was based on the impressive Star Tribune work called ‘13 seconds in August.’


I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #1, Julia Blackhawk, 32 years old. Blackhawk was on her way home from school at the Aveda Institute to her home in Savage. She had two grade school aged sons. She was a member of the Winnebago Nation, and family members described her as being proud of her native heritage.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #2, Richard Chit, 20 years old. Chit was traveling with his mother, Vera Peck, at the time of the bridge collapse. Their vehicle was trapped in the water under the bridge deck, and they had no chance to escape.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #3, Paul Eickstadt, 51 years old. Eickstadt was driving a semi-truck heading southbound, which came to rest right next to the yellow school bus that received so much attention. Paul had just started his shift driving for Sara Lee Bakery by picking up a Taystee truck in Roseville. He was heading to Mason City, Iowa, about a three hour trip.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #4, Sherry Engebretsen, 60 years old. Engebretsen was on her way home to Shoreview from work at Thrivent Financial in downtown Minneapolis. The Star Tribune reports that Engebretsen often competed with co-workers for a prime parking spot. Thrivent now keeps that parking spot open as a memorial to their lost team member.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #5, Peter Hausmann, 47 years old. Hausmann, a father of four, was on his way to Saint Louis Park to pick up a dinner guest. He happened to be on his cellular telephone with his wife, Helen, and the phone went dead as the bridge collapsed.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #6, Patrick Holmes, 36 years old. Holmes was on his way home to Mounds View from his studies as an exercise therapist in Bloomington. He left a wife and two children. Authorities believe that Holmes may have survived the actual bridge collapse, but was fatally injured when a large sign gantry fell on his vehicle.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #7, Greg Jolstad. Known as ‘Jolly’, Greg was one of 18 construction workers on the bridge at the time of the collapse. All of his co-workers survived. He is survived by his wife, Lisa, and three stepchildren.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #8, Vera Peck, 50 years old. Peck and her son, Richard Chit, were trapped in their car under the bridge. They had no chance to escape. As a young adult, Peck emigrated from Cambodia to the United States in 1980.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #9, Christina Sacorafas, 45 years old. Sacorafas was on her way from White Bear Lake to teach a youth folk dancing class at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, which is located along Lake Calhoun. Sacorafas, who has Greek ancestry, became very involved in church after moving to the Twin Cities in 2004.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #10, Hana Sahal, 22 months old. At two months short of her second birthday, Hana was the youngest person to perish in the bridge disaster. Hana was riding in a car with her mother, Sadiya, who also died at the scene.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #11, Sadiya Sahal, 23 years old. Sadiya was a nursing student. She was very excited about finishing her program and starting work so she could serve her community. To compound the tragedy, Sahal's daughter, Hana, and her unbound child were also killed in the collapse.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #12, Scott Sathers, 29 years old. Sathers was on his way home to Maple Grove from his office at Capella University. He had left work late, and might not have been on the bridge at the time of the collapse if he had left at his normal time.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Column #13, Artemio Trinidad-Mena, 29 years old. Trinidad-Mena was running an errand after work. He was employed as a delivery driver for a grocery store on Lake Street, and lived only blocks from the store, so he did not use the I-35W Bridge during his daily commute. Trinidad-Mena was a native of Mexico, but had lived and worked in Minnesota for 10 years.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is looking south from behind the memorial and across West River Parkway and Gold Medal Park. The building in the background is the Bridgewater Lofts, a condominium project completed in the mid-2000s.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is looking east towards the observation deck located behind the memorial.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view is looking north from the memorial along the walkway leading out to the memorial. The University of Minnesota Southwest Steam Plant is located directly across the river, with the Stone Arch Bridge being located just upriver. Interestingly, the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge is not visible from the memorial or from the observation deck.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This is a close view of the northeast corner of the observation deck. Note that it uses a number of materials including wood, concrete, steel, and wire cables.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view is looking northwest from the memorial, where we see the Stone Arch Bridge crossing the Mississippi River. The Saint Anthony Main apartment complex is visible in the background.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view looking north across the river features the steam plant on the right, the Stone Arch Bridge on the left, and one of the two remaining piers of the Lower Bridge in the center. The Lower Bridge was built in 1874 but was closed in 1934 and demolished in 1943 as part of a WWII scrap drive.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is a view looking north across the Mississippi River from the river overlook at the Remembrance Garden. The University of Minnesota Southwest Steam Plant dominates the riverbank, with the remains of the old Lower Bridge being visible on the far left side of the photo.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
Looking upstream from the Remembrance Garden overlook, we see the Stone Arch Bridge, with Riverplace and Saint Anthony Main in the background.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
These two photos are views of the Remembrance Garden under construction in May, 2011. The photo above is a view of the site looking east from the walkway along West River Parkway, while the photo below is a view of the foundation for the walkway in front of the series of vertical columns.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
For further information, contact: john@johnweeks.com