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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Barker's Island Trail Bridge
Saint Louis River Pedestrian Bridge
Superior, WI

Barker's Island Trail Bridge

• Structure ID: N/A (Not Listed In NBI)
• Location: River Mile 2.5
• River Elevation: 602 Feet
• Bridge Type: Concrete Slab
• Bridge Length: 400 Feet (Estimated), 40 Foot Longest Span (Estimated)
• Bridge Width: 10 Feet (Estimated)
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: 8 Feet (Estimated)
• Date Built: ???
Barker's Island is named after Captain Charles S. Barker. The web site for the Barkers Island Inn tells the story of how the island came to be. Barker moved his tug boat and dredging company to Duluth and Superior in 1885. Legend has it that he had an ongoing feud with Martin Pattison, a local lumber baron. To get revenge on Pattison, Barker started dumping debris and dredge sand in front of Pattison's mansion on the Superior Bay waterfront. Whether or not this feud was the reason, much of the sand dredged from the Twin Ports harbor in the 1880s and 1890s were dumped along the edge of Superior Bay forming a large artificial island. Since Captain Barker was in charge of the dredging operation, locals named the island in his honor.

The island became a popular tourist attraction in the early part of the 20th Century. It featured a bird sanctuary and was a very popular swimming hole. A causeway and bridge was built out to the island. Later, with the horse and buggy era giving way to the automobile, and Superior Bay becoming choked with sewage and pollution, tourists went elsewhere. The bridge over the railroad track collapsed, and the causeway bridge rotted into oblivion. The island itself began to sink, and it was almost gone by the 1950s.

The revival of Barker's Island began when the harbor was dredged deeper in the late 1950s. The sand from the dredging was again deposited at Barker's Island. The causeway was improved in the 1960s and tourist attractions started to locate on the island. The first was the Meteor, the last remaining whaleback ship, which has been open for tours since 1973. A marina, conference center, hotel, and housing has followed. More recently, the city of Superior added a park and charter boat dock, which has proven to be very successful. Barker's Island is now one of the top tourist destinations in Superior.

The trail leading out to Barker's Island is a spur off of the Osaugie Trail, which runs along the Superior Bay waterfront. I don't know when the trail bridge was added, but it appears to be late 1980s construction. While the causeway bridge is very short, the trail bridge runs almost the entire length of the causeway, an estimated 400 feet, comprised of 10 concrete slab spans each about 40 feet long.

The photo above is looking southwest towards the north face of the Barker's Island Trail Bridge. The vantage point is a boat dock on the west side of Barker's Island. The Superior, Wisconsin, mainland is visible on the far side of the bay.


Barker's Island Trail Bridge
The photo above is the north side of the main channel span of the Barker's Island Trail Bridge. The Barker's Island Causeway Bridge is located directly behind the trail bridge. The photo below is looking west down the Barker's Island Causeway. The trail bridge is located to the right of the causeway.

Barker's Island Trail Bridge
Barker's Island Trail Bridge
The photo above is looking west down the center of the Barker's Island Trail Bridge. The photo below is a similar photo looking east down the center of the bridge.

Barker's Island Trail Bridge
Barker's Island Trail Bridge
These two photos are views looking east towards Barker's Island along the north face of the trail bridge. The trail bridge is built along the north side of the highway causeway, but is not part of the causeway.

Barker's Island Trail Bridge
Barker's Island Trail Bridge
The photo above is looking southeast towards the main channel span of the Barker's Island Trail Bridge. The vantage point is along the edge of the Osaugie Trail, which runs north and south along the waterfront in Superior. The photo below is a sign for the trail where it intersects the Barker's Island Trail just west of the bridge.

Barker's Island Trail Bridge
Barker's Island Trail Bridge
The Osaugie Trail is built on an old railroad alignment north of the Barker's Island Causeway. The rail line is abandoned for a mile south of the causeway, and then it is in active use further south. As a result, the Osaugie Trail does not follow the railroad south of the causeway. I did find an old wooden bridge on the rail line just below the causeway. The photo above is a view looking south down the length of this bridge, while the photo below is a view looking across the bay towards the east side of the railroad bridge.

Barker's Island Trail Bridge

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