Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ferry Street Bridge, Dayton OR

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR


[View Larger Map]

A few photos of the Ferry St. footbridge over the Yamhill River in Dayton, OR. I happened to be in the area back in April and stopped briefly for a look. In retrospect I probably ought to have, y'know, looked around the town itself as well, but I was on vacation and trying to hit a bunch of places on the blog todo list, and being a bit monomaniacal in the process. And in my defense, a torrential downpour opened up while I was on the bridge, so it wasn't really a great day to be walking around looking at old buildings and so forth.

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

The city of Dayton is thinking about replacing the current bridge with a new structure, as they think it's a bit long in the tooth for a wooden bridge in this climate. That document doesn't go into any depth on the origin of the current bridge; it mentions it was built some time in the 1970s (but they weren't sure exactly when) and the easement status for it is unclear. Which kind of suggests to me that building it wasn't an official city project. Or it was and they just weren't as wound up about meticulous recordkeeping back then. Or everything's documented to the hilt, but whoever wrote the report didn't spend a lot of time on historical research. These are all possibilities.

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

As the name of the bridge suggests, the bridge is at the foot of Ferry Street, which is the main drag through town. And as the name of the street suggests, there once was a ferry across the river at this spot. The local historical society's "about" page mentions that the ferry came first, in the 1840s, and the town later grew up around it. The book A History of Oregon Ferries since 1826 has a couple of pages about Yamhill River ferries, and it seems to indicate Dayton didn't get a (non-railroad) bridge over the river until some time in the 1890s. The current bridge is just outside of town, a bit upstream. There's a bit of debris on the bank of the river immediately upstream of the bridge that looks like it might have been a dock at one point, although it's hard to imagine that any part of a wooden dock would have survived the elements for ~120 years. It's probably something much newer and unrelated.

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

In any case, the bridge seems nice enough. It has that groovy 70s Oregon look, where we were all going back to the land and building everything out of good, honest solid wood from here on out: Geodesic dome houses, hot tubs, probably even the solar panels. Note that this was back before anyone ever heard of spotted owls, obviously. It totally looks like it could've been someone's DIY project, using plans from the latest Whole Earth Catalog.

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

The only problem with the bridge is that it doesn't really go anywhere. There's a bit of parkland on the far side of the bridge, along with what looks like, um, the municipal sewage lagoons. Or maybe they're just irrigation ponds, I'm not totally sure. But that's about all there is. The bridge might be convenient if you're on one of those long distance bike rides around the Willamette Valley that my coworkers love to brag about doing, and you'd kind of like to avoid riding on state highways clogged with 18 wheelers and casino-bound RVs. That would make sense anyway.

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

Ferry St. Bridge, Dayton OR

No comments :