The Beautiful Bridges of the Oregon Coast… Part Two

One of many bridges designed by Conde McCullough in the 1930s Yaquina Bay Bridge is located next to Newport on the Oregon Coast.

Gorgeous skies provide a dramatic backdrop for the Yaquina Bay Bridge near Newport, Oregon.

Last Monday I posted a story and photos on the Cape Creek Bridge designed by Conde McCullough. Today I am going to feature two more of his bridges: the Yaquina Bay Bridge near Newport, and the Siuslaw Bridge near Florence. I first became aware of these two beauties when I used to visit my dad who managed a hotel on the coast for my brother in the late 70s. Marshall later sold the place, an action for which I have never quite forgiven him. Neither have I forgiven my cousins who had the luck of growing up in Newport.

The property my brother owned and my dad managed. Writers, artists, and professors from the University of Oregon stayed there for $10 a night in the 70s. Now it is an expensive Bed and Breakfast.

Gull Haven: The property my brother co-owned and my dad managed. Writers, artists, and professors from the University of Oregon stayed there for $10 a night in the 70s. Now it is an expensive Bed and Breakfast.

I was driving across the Yaquina Bay Bridge on my trip down the coast last fall when I thought, damn, I have to get a photo of this (above). Being by myself meant I was designated photographer. You know all the warnings about driving and using your cell phone, or driving and texting— they should add driving and taking photos. Enough said. Once I got across the bridge I found a side road where I was able to get out of the car and take Highway Patrol approved photos.

Yaquina Bay Bridge near Newport, Oregon.

A side view of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The gull on the right added a little action.

The Yaquina Bay Bridge on the Oregon coast designed by Conde McCullough.

A close up of the spans with the historic Newport waterfront in the background.

I spent the night at a delightful campground next to the Florence Marina. This gave me the opportunity to walk over to the Siuslaw Bridge and spend time admiring it. The bridge was built under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Public Works Administration during the Great Depression. It was one of hundreds of projects across the nation designed to put Americans back to work. Both Peggy’s dad in Pennsylvania and my dad in Iowa benefited from this program. Some 140 men worked on the Siuslaw Bridge. It was opened March 31, 1936.

The bridge under construction. (Photo from display next to the bridge.)

The bridge under construction. (Photo from display next to the bridge.)

Ever the artist, McCullough incorporated Art Deco, Moderne, Gothic and Egyptian themes into his bridge.

Suislaw Bridge on the Oregon coast designed by Condi McCullough.

A view of the bridge as it looks today.

Siuslaw Bridge near Florence, Oregon.

A view of the bridge from the other side rendered in black and white., giving it the ‘old time’ feel.

Suislaw Bridge in Florence Oregon across the Suislaw River

I walked along the sidewalk going across the bridge to get this photo.

The walkway across the bridge.

The walkway across the bridge.

Structure on Siuslaw Bridge near Florence designed by Cond McCullough in the 1930s.

An art deco look? Or are we talking Egyptian here?

Siuslaw Bridge on the Oregon coast.

Having seen the bridge from both sides and on top, I decided to take a look underneath for my final view.

18 comments on “The Beautiful Bridges of the Oregon Coast… Part Two

  1. Love all these shots and wonder how you got some of them! Quite often, I hold the camera while Bert is driving and I try to take a shot through the windshield. You can imagine how that turns out. And by the way, with all your connections to Gull Haven, see if you can get us a room for $10!!! It’d be worth the trip!

    • It’s only recently that I have discovered that I can get away with taking shots through the moving car window and provide an interesting perspective. Normally Peggy is driving, however, when I attempt it. 🙂 –Curt

  2. Another great post on the history of one of the many phenomenal bridges in Oregon! I LOVE this bridge. It used to terrify me as a child, I was always scared when we went over it because of how massive it is! 🙂

    I went on a crabbing trip last summer in this bay, it was a perfect day for it. Not a cloud in the sky, a great day for boating with this picturesque bridge looming in the distance.

    • From a child’s perspective, massive indeed! I can see the little Christina shutting her eyes tightly when crossing the bridge and anxiously asking if the bridge is over yet. Glad you have enjoyed the series. I am sure more Oregon bridges will find their way into my blog in the future. Did you know that Conde McCollough designed some 300 Oregon bridges during his stint as bridge overseer? –Curt

      • Oh wow. I didn’t know that! I’m really enjoying the history you’re providing in your posts. I’ve been around some of these bridges all my life, so it is really interesting learning the back story behind them! 🙂

  3. Gull Haven looks like it would be a wonderful place to stay, especially for $10 a night. For a view like that, I’d be willing to go a little higher than that even.

  4. Thanks for introducing me to bridges up close. Normally i admire from afar. It is nice to look at the details and consider some historic facts, like your dad and Peggy’s dad working on projects like this that to put Americans back to work. I now look at the bridge differently …

  5. The architectural details are marvelous. It’s so well done — the different elements don’t compete, but support one another. Fair enough, I suppose, given it’s a bridge.

    I always enjoy the history attached to the things you show us, and I particularly enjoyed the photo of the bridge under construction. The last photo is my favorite. It feels almost Moorish to me. It’s just lovely.

  6. Oh that Suislaw River Bridge is a beauty. Isn’t the art deco fabulous! I have already admired this bridge, but your photos do a great job of showing all her best sides and even her underbelly. If I remember correctly that road you took to get a shot of the other bridge was designed specifically for photographers. Isn’t it just a berm that heads out into the water? I sure wish we could build up the New Deal work programs again, and restore and repair and earthquake-proof all those old bridges.

    • Good news, Crystal, the Oregon Highway Department recognizes the value of the bridges and is doing extensive renovation work. I suspect the tourist draw is also a factor. I wasn’t aware that the road was built for photography but it sure encouraged it! –Curt

      • Ha ha, I was kidding. I was driving closer and closer to the bridge, thinking to myself, “How am I going to get a good shot of it?” Then bam, this road appeared. When I saw your photo, I recognized the angle, and decided it must be a road built for photographers. 🙂

        I am so glad to hear Oregon is doing renovation work on the bridges. I’m a little sheltered here in Portland, and all I hear about are the failed plans to build a better Vancouver-Portland bridge, and the controversy over the Tilikum Crossing, which doesn’t accommodate cars. While in the meantime I look at the criss-crossing highway bridges and cross my fingers for no earthquakes till I get to the other side. It’s reassuring to know that Oregon is able to deal with some infrastructure when so many of the bridges in our country are in dangerous shape.

      • And there has been so much news lately, at least here in Southern Oregon, about the next big massive quake along the coast. It will happen, they always do, but the question is when. It could be today; it could be 50 years from now. It all makes me glad I live inland, however. Kidding, eh. 🙂 But you are right, it was excellent for photographs. –Curt

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