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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)
Saint Louis River Bridge Ruins
Cloquet, MN

Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)

• Structure ID: N/A
• Location: River Mile 36.4
• River Elevation: 1,179 Feet
• Railroad: Former Duluth & Northeastern
• Daily Traffic Count: 0, Bridge Was Removed In The Early 1950s
• Bridge Type: Steel Deck Girder
• Bridge Length: 700 Feet (Estimated Distance Between Abutments)
• Bridge Width: 1 Track
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet
• Date Built: Crossing Dates To 1898
The Duluth & Northeastern was primarily a logging railroad. It was chartered in 1898 by the Potlatch Corporation, which ran the Potlatch Paper Mill in Cloquet. The railroad brought logs to the mill, hauled supplies back out to the logging camps, and handled common carrier freight as needed. The railroad once ran 58 miles to Hornby, MN, but in recent years, it ran only to Saginaw, MN, which is about 11 miles north of Cloquet. The D&NE interchanged with the DM&IR and CN at Saginaw.

The Saint Louis River crossing consisted of two bridges. The north channel bridge crossed at this location, and the south channel bridge crossed at the eastern tip of Dunlap Island. The bridge at this location, the upper bridge, dates back to 1898. The northwest tip of Dunlap Island proved to be an unfavorable location for a bridge due to the ground being less stable and ice jamming up against the island. The bridge finally washed out in the early 1950s. When it was rebuilt, a shorter path was chosen just down stream of the old bridge.

The north bridge abutment still exists. It is visible from a trail that runs along the north riverbank. The south abutment appears to still exist. The track leading to the south abutment is still in place behind the Cloquet Terminal Railroad shop. The shop building puts the end of the tracks into a shadow, so it is hard to see. The CTRR land is private property, so one cannot walk in to see it. From what I can see, it appears that the old bridge abutment is still there. There are no visible remains of the mid-channel piers.

The photo above is looking northwest towards the site of the north end of the old Upper Dunlap Island Bridge. The north bridge abutment is located about in the center of the photo. It is not visible in this view. The vantage point is the deck of the newer Upper Dunlap Island Bridge, which is now a regional trail crossing.


Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)
The photo above is another view of the location where the old Upper Dunlap Island Bridge once crossed the north channel of the Saint Louis River. The vantage point is from the newer Upper Dunlap Island Bridge, which is visible in the foreground. The photo below is the north bridge abutment, which is located next to a trail that runs along the riverfront.

Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)
Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)
These photos are two more views of the north bridge abutment. The photo above is from on top of the old railroad grade, while the photo below is looking towards the east side of the abutment. It is interesting to see that an electrical box and conduit are still attached to the structure despite sitting abandoned for nearly 60 years.

Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)
Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)
These two photos are views of the northwest end of Dunlap Island, where the south abutment of the railroad bridge is located. The photo above is looking west across the river, while the photo below is looking southwest. The river splits into two channels at this location. The bridge landed on the tip of the island, and crossed the north channel. The abutment would be located on the point of land that juts out to the right of the building in the foreground of the photo below.

Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)
Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)
These two images were clipped from Bing Maps using the Bird's Eye View. The image above is looking east towards the west tip of Dunlap Island. The south abutment of the old bridge is in the center of the photo just below the white car. The image below is looking upstream to the west where the river splits at Dunlap Island. The dark line traces the path of the old railroad bridge. The newer bridge, in comparison, is much shorter than the old bridge.

Upper Dunlap Island Bridge (Old)

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