WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
MAIN STREET BRIDGE
St. George, Utah
LOCATIONCrossed the Virgin River at the south end of Main Street in St. George.
37° 4' 25.80" North Latitude, 113° 35' 0.88" West Longitude
37.0738° North Latitude, 113.5836° West Longitude
2,541 feet (775 meters) MSL
HISTORYThis bridge was originally located on the old Arrowhead Trail where it crossed Ash Creek at the base of the Black Ridge. The bridge was abandoned after a new concrete bridge was built in 1925.
In 1942, Washington County decided to move the old bridge to St. George to provide improved access to the Bloomington area. The location chosen was the south end of Main Street at the Santa Clara River just above the confluence of the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers. Up to the time, people had to carefully ford the river at that point or go over to the Virgin River Bridge on the east side of the valley.
Concrete abutments were constructed on both sides of the river and the recycled bridge was placed between them. Eldon McArthur, later known as "Weldin' Eldon", had not yet finished welding classes when he was asked to provide welding services. Washington County rented a welding machine from Ashby-McQuaid, an auto repair shop in St. George. Eldon, along with his older brother Rex, put together and welded the supporting members of this bridge.
The Main Street Bridge was then used for the next 63 years for access to Bloomington and later as a bike trail.
On Tuesday, January 11th, during the great flood of 2005, this bridge was ripped apart and washed away. The steel truss shown in photo WCHS-02529 is all that remains today.
WCHS-02529 Photo of an interpretive plaque and remnant of the old Main Street Bridge
WCHS-02530 Photo of an interpretive plaque about the 2005 flood and the old Main Street Bridge