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Photos

General View of Contractors Plant
General View of Contractors Plant - August 2, 1906

Air Compressor
Air Compressor - August 11, 1906

Caisson Pier 1
Caisson for Pier 1- August 17, 1906

Boiler Compressor House
Boiler Compressor House - August 22, 1906

General View of Plant
General View of Plant, Towards Pierre - September 5, 1906

Driving Piles at Pier 2
Driving piles at Pier 2 - September 5, 1906

Interior View of Caisson Pier 7
Interior View of Caisson Pier 7 - September 22, 1906

Detailed view of Concrete Plant
Detailed View of Concrete Plant - October 3, 1906

General View of Concrete Plant
General View of Concrete Plant - October 3, 1906

General View of Concrete Plant
General View of Concrete Plant - October 13, 1906

General View of Caisson, Pier 1
General View of Caisson Pier 1 - October 25, 1906

First Course of Masonry Pier 1
First Course of Masonry Pier 1 - November 2, 1906

Skull found at Elevation 1383 feet
Skull Found atElevation 1383 ft. - November 3, 1906

McMullen's Dinkie Engine
McMullen's Dinkie Engine - November 29, 1906

Lowering Caisson, Pier 2
Lowering Caisson, Pier 2 - November 29, 1906

Caisson Pier 3
Caisson Pier 3 - January 5, 1907

Driving East approach to Bridge
Driving East Approach to Bridge - January 5, 1907

Erecting First Steel Span
Erecting First Steel Span - January 22, 1907

Berheisel's Pile Driver
Berheisel's Pile Driver- January 26, 1907

Pier 2 Complete
Pier 2 Complete- January 31, 1907

End View of Traveler
End View of Traveler - February 23, 1907

View of First Span
View of First Span - March 4, 1907

Ice Breaking Up on Missouri River
Ice Breaking Up on Missouri River - March 10, 1907

Ice Jam at Bridge
Ice Jam at Bridge - March 11, 1907

Creating Railroad Grade, Pierre in Background
Creating Railroad Grade, Pierre in Background - March 16, 1907

Graders at Work
Graders at Work - March 16, 1907

View of First Span
View of First Span - March 19, 1907

Side view of Traveler
Side View of Traveler - March 23, 1907

Upstream View of Span
Upstream View of Span 1 - March 23, 1907

View Showing Condition of Bridge
View Showing Condition of Bridge - March 29, 1907

View Showing Condition of Bridge
View Showing Condition of Bridge - April 29, 1907

Turntable Drum, Pier 3
Turntable drum center Pier 3 - May 11, 1907

Steel Erection Gang
Steel Erection Gang - May 15, 1907

View Showing Turnout to Pier 3a
View Showing Turnout to Pier 3a - May 15, 1907

Caisson Pier 3a
Caisson Pier 3a - May 17, 1907

Construction of Pier 3a
Construction on Pier 3a - May 17, 1907

Steel Erection Gang
Steel Erection Gang - May 15, 1907

View Showing Turnout to Pier 3a
View Showing Turnout to Pier 3a - May 15, 1907

Caisson Pier 3a
Caisson Pier 3a - May 17, 1907

Construction of Pier 3a
Construction on Pier 3a - May 17, 1907

Gumbo Lilies
Gumbo Lilies - June 5, 1907

View Showing Condition of Bridge
View Showing Condition of Bridge - June 15, 1907

Cutting Edge of Caisson Pier 7
Cutting Edge of Caisson Pier 7 - September 5, 1907

Completed Chicago and Northwestern Bridge
Completed Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Bridge

Story

Beginnings

The September 14, 1905 issue of the Daily Capitol-Journal heralded the promise of a new railroad to connect the city with the Black Hills.

"At last Pierre is to have rail connections with the Hills.After years of waiting and hoping the country between the mighty Missouri and the Mountains of the west is to be girded with steel rails....It is a great thing for the whole country.Now watch Pierre grow."

Pontoon Bridge Connecting Pierre and Fort Pierre

Prior to 1907, pontoon bridges, steamboats, and the frozen Missouri River were the primary modes of transportation connecting Pierre and Ft. Pierre. Pedestrians crossing the river were subject to rapid currents, ice jams, floating debris and other natural hazards.


Construction

Construction of First Span

Pierre Weekly Dakotan
January 31, 1907
Steel Work Begun

The legislature has so much attracted the attention of every one, and the work upon the big bridge across the Missouri river has gone on so systematically and quietly that few of our people are aware that last Tuesday......the approach from the east built upon piling had been completed to the first stone pier, and from that point false work is erected resting upon piling set through the ice into the bed of the river....caissons three and four have been sunk to bed rock and sealed and the pier at caisson three is completed and that at four is about done.

The big octagonal caisson for the center pier, upon which the turntable will revolve, is down fifteen feet and very little difficulty is being experienced in sinking it. The caisson for the two remaining bridge piers will be ready for the air by the first of February and it is the expectation to have them all completed before the ice breaks in March. After the bridge piers are completed there is one more caisson to sink for the ice breaker to protect the turntable....

The steel will all be handled from this end. By the time the first span, for which the piers are now ready, is completed the draw span may be taken up and there is likely to be nothing to interfere with the progress of the steel work from this time forward. The steel contract is separate from that for the piers, the latter begin done by W. W. McDonald & Co., but the steel work is in the hands of the L.M. Bernhisel Construction Co.

While the extremely cold weather is severe upon the men above ground it does not all interfere with the “sandhogs” as the men who work below are called by their fellows, and the unusually strong ice bridge greatly facilitates the entire procedure.

Pile Driver Work began on the temporary railroad bridge on November of 1905. The first official train crossed the temporary bridge shortly before Christmas Day 1905.
Pier 2, Lowering Caisson Caissons were used to sink Piers to the solid shale foundation, some forty feet below river. This images shows the caisson of Pier 2, on November 30, 1906.
Completion of Pier 2 Completion of Pier 2, January 31, 1907.
View of Bridge, May 1907 The 445 foot long pin-connected, through-truss draw span was completed by May of 1907. The draw span would open to allow river traffic to pass through.
Road Grading Crew This image shows the railroad grading crews near Ft. Pierre that prepared the rail to the new bridge.
Completed Bridge View of the completed bridge taken in 1909. A steamboat is seen in the foreground.

Completion

First Train Crossing Bridge

The first passenger train on the newly completed Chicago & Northwestern Bridge crossed the Missouri River on October 14, 1907.

Openning of Railroad Span

With its completion, the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad bridge connected the Capitol city of Pierre to the Black Hills. Rail lines replaced the cumbersome trails of western South Dakota. The 1,862.5 foot bridge crossed a river and helped connect an entire state.





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