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Minnesota's Historic Bridges
Third Street Bridge
Historic Significance

Third Street Bridge

The Third Street Bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a representative of a relatively unusual type of truss span, the Pennsylvania through truss. It is also historically significant for its associations with Minneapolis bridge builder, A.Y. Bayne, and the St. Paul engineering firm of Loweth and Wolff. It was constructed in 1909-1910, near the middle of Bayne's career as an independent bridge builder. The Pennsylvania truss (called a "petit truss" in turn-of-the-century texts) has the distinctive aspects of subdivided panels and polygonal upper chord. This type of truss could span a greater distance than the simpler Pratt and Warren trusses. As a bridge with riveted panel intersections, it represents the application of this technology to increasingly longer spans, replacing the previous standard of pin connections.

The City Council of Cannon Falls began consideration of a new bridge to replace the combination spans on Third Street by January 1909, when they sought an engineer's estimate for a new structure. Later that month at a special meeting, L.P. Wolff, a civil engineer in St. Paul and a partner in the firm of Loweth & Wolff, presented to the council estimates for steel spans of several lengths. The council decided to consider the estimates while seeking funding help from state and county sources. In June, the council accepted a revised estimate from Wolff for a 180-foot span and in the next month approved his plans and specifications after state engineers made minor changes.

In late July, the council opened bids from eight companies and selected A.Y. Bayne and Company. W.S. Hewett, formerly a partner of Bayne's and at that time head of the Security Bridge Company, protested the bid of Bayne since its construction bond was not endorsed unconditionally, as he claimed that bid proposal specified. The council went ahead with Bayne and settled on a final price of $9,010. In the previous week, the Goodhue County Commissioners had voted to appropriate $4,000 from county funds to the city for the bridge. Construction continued into the autumn and through the winter, with Bayne requesting delays on the abutments and metal work. The council accepted the bridge as complete, except for minor repairs on May 4, 1910.

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