For the price of a toll, a visitor could cross the Grand (Colorado) River into Glenwood Springs by using the Cooper Avenue Bridge. This bridge, built in 1884, had been constructed at a cost of $5,000. Because a Road and Bridge Bond had been floated by Garfield County to build the bridge, the toll was the only way to pay for its construction.The south abutment was at the foot of Cooper Avenue, with the north abutment located on the hot springs pool grounds. As the years passed and the hot springs were developed, it became evident that a toll bridge would no longer be an adequate entrance into Glenwood Springs.On April 9, 1889, the Garfield County Commissioners petitioned the governor for passage of House Bill 50. This bill provided money to build “a bridge over the Grand River at Glenwood Springs.” The commissioners’ petition to the governor cited the new bridge would help stimulate economic growth throughout northwestern Colorado. Silently, locals knew the new bridge would additionally divert tourist traffic from the pool grounds to Grand Avenue and also would provide a more appealing entrance into town.The house bill passed, and the advertising for construction bids was let. In December 1889, the Bullen Bridge Co. from Trinidad was awarded the $37,469 construction contract. Construction started in January 1890, and completion was slated for that same summer. Residents were pleased as the first span was completed that May. However, high water stopped the project, and the construction company disappeared. Business owners near the construction site became disgruntled. Throughout the summer, as work stalled, the Bullen Bridge Co. became unpopular on the street and in the newspapers. Later in the year, construction resumed.State engineers inspected the bridge, known as the State Bridge, in February 1891, passing the construction with slight modification. A celebration opening Glenwood’s new grand entrance occurred April 27, 1891.The State Bridge, known also as the Grand Avenue Bridge, served the community until its replacement in 1953.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday.
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