A Historical Look at the Rogue River Bridge in Gold Beach
Published: 06/26/2019 Updated: 08/06/2019
Built at the height of The Great Depression, the graceful Rogue River Bridge was more than a utilitarian traffic way, it was an engineering marvel and aesthetic landmark.
The Rogue River Bridge spans the mouth of the Rogue River at Gold Beach, connecting the Coastal Highway, US 101. Known as the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge after the Oregon governor who promoted its construction, the bridge replaced unreliable ferry operations and hoped to capture California tourist business on Oregon's south coast. The Rogue River Bridge was completed in 1932 and is one of six major bridges designed by Conde B. McCullough. McCullough utilized a technique for pre-stressing the arch ribs, developed in the early twentieth century by French engineer Eugène Freyssinet. It was an experiment of sorts that used less concrete and steel, which saved money. More apparent to the motoring public was the graceful seven-arch bridge gave the illusion of cut-stone construction. In 1982, the American Society of Civil Engineers designated the Rogue River Bridge a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark because of McCullough's use of Freyssinet's pre-stressing technique. In 2005, the bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and continues to serve motorists traveling along the dramatic Oregon Coast.