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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Barker's Island Causeway
Saint Louis River Highway Crossing
Superior, WI

Barker's Island Causeway

• Structure ID: N/A (Not Listed In NBI)
• Location: River Mile 2.5
• River Elevation: 602 Feet
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder
• Bridge Length: 22 Feet (Estimated), 22 Foot Longest Span (Estimated)
• Bridge Width: 26 Feet (Estimated)
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: 7 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.

I haven't determined the specific date when the causeway to Barker's Island was built, bit it appears to be an early 1960s structure. The bridge is a relatively short steel girder structure about 22 feet long. It is flanked by water and sewer pipes on each side of the bridge. The causeway from the mainland runs approximately 375 feet before the bridge, and then another 300 feet from the bridge to Barker's Island.

The photo above is looking northwest towards the Barker's Island Causeway from a boat dock at a city park on Barker's Island. The Richard Bong Veterans Historical Center building is visible in the background. The photo below is a close view of the causeway bridge span, as seen from the same boat dock.


Barker's Island Causeway
Barker's Island Causeway
These two photos are views looking across the bay to the south side of the causeway. The photo above is looking northwest towards the causeway from Barker's Island. The photo below is looking northeast towards the causeway from the abandoned railroad line that runs along the mainland.

Barker's Island Causeway
Barker's Island Causeway
These two photos are views looking down the length of the causeway. The photo above is looking west from Barker's Island towards the city of Superior. The photo below is looking east from the mainland towards Barker's Island.

Barker's Island Causeway
Barker's Island Causeway
These two photos are views of the bridge deck. The photo above is looking southwest from the Barker's Island Trail Bridge, with the city of Superior in the background. The photo below is a similar view looking southeast from the west side of the bridge, with Barker's Island in the background.

Barker's Island Causeway

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