Wild Cat Bridge – Lane County

Bridge Over Troubled Waters Tuesday – Week Nineteen!  Wild Cat Bridge happened to be located on a route I was driving west of Eugene – Nelson Mountain Road to Sweethome to Old Stagecoach Road back along highway one twenty-six to.  I’m attaching a map of the loop – it’s a beautiful route that I wholeheartedly recommend anyone who has an interest to drive.

Finding Wild Cat Bridge

Wild Cat Bridge was the second bridge I found accidentally while driving along a loop I created along Nelson Mountain Road and Old Stagecoach Road.  It’s located just off Highway one twenty-six near Walton, Oregon.

Arriving at Wild Cat Bridge

The bridge has several features I found just fascinating and want to mention them while we’re taking a closer look at Wild Cat Bridge.  When I arrived the weather was pretty icky, not much to advocate about the Oregon fall weather.  However once we did arrive I did have a great time at the bridge.  The first thing I noticed outside the bridge was the curved sides on the upper part.  Many of the bridges we’ve seen have angles where the walls meet the upper portion, but these were delicately curved.  I believe it gives the bridge a certain grace.  The bridge itself was built in nineteen twenty-five originally and seems remarkably well preserved.  A quick bit of history here –

View of the Wild Cat bridge as I walked up to it
The Wild Cat bridge seen as I arrived.  The curved portions I mentioned can be seen in this picture
AC Stryker, who was the Lane County Bridges Commissioner at the time was responsible for the bridge being originally constructed
Wild Cat Bridge was built in nineteen twenty-five with the blessing of A.C. Striker who was the county bridge commissioner at the time

Inside Wild Cat Bridge

As I walked inside the Wild Cat Bridge, I couldn’t help by notice that the interior smelled new and many of the timbers seemed like they were in remarkably good shape.  Many of the tin rafters looked new and I even saw the very bolts used to hold the bridge together seemed to be made of galvanized metal (not necessarily something commonly available when the bridge was constructed).

Inside the Wild Cat Bridge the clean walls and window beneath the roof can be seen
The walls are in fantastic shape and the normal window just below the roof can be seen
The walls are in super good shape and there is a faint smell of freshly cut wood, as if the bridge has been updated minutes before I arrived the roof can also be seen just a bit and the tin on the top looks absolutely new
Looking up the newness of the bridge roof can be seen - it looks absolutely pristine
The ceiling can be clearly seen inside, it looks very new and I can’t imagine it’s been there more than a year or two
One bolt I found looks very new and holds much of the support beams together
The bolt used to secure the support timbers can be seen and appears very new – apparently there was some recent renovation of the Wild Cat Bridge

Only One Window, What??

Inside – unlike any other bridge I’ve seen during this tour is a window – but only on the one side.  According to one site I visited while researching Wild Cat Bridge it was to help drivers see oncoming traffic – and while I agree with that particular assessment it can’t help but be noticed while walking through (do this at your own risk, by the way) that the window looked out onto a beautiful view of the river.

The window facing south shows an incredible view and is designed to give drivers better idea if other cars are in the bridge, but I thought it also looked out onto a beautiful river view
The window is a long one that is only visible on the “nice-looking” side of the bridge – the view is incredible and the design is deep set with short windows, though there are no louvers like other bridges
Looking out at the fall colors and beautiful river from the bridge
The view is just incredible and I’m thinking I picked the perfect day to visit.  The trees are beautiful at this time of year and there isn’t much more lovely than the gold and yellow tree leaves.  The river going by is also just beautiful
Wide view looking out the window - seems tough to believe the reason for this amazing view was to only alert cars, it’s just too nice a view otherwise
Here is a one hundred eighty degree view looking out the bridge window – the river is just gorgeous and I find it difficult that the reason for the window is only for drivers to see other cars – the view is just too spectacular

Extra Feature That was Pointed Out to Me

One feature that was pointed out to me that I didn’t notice before was the ornamental designs on the sides of all of the entrances, on the outside.  I’m sure there is a technical term for the part that I’m describing, but I really like the way they make the bridge seem even more vintage, despite many of the observations I’ve made regarding the new bolts and clean new wood smell.

This is one of the things I like about the bridges in Oregon, all of the separate personalities on them, and Wild Cat Bridge definitely has a unique personality, this design seems purely ornamental, but I’m glad it’s there
This adds some charm to me and I’m grateful it was pointed out to me.  Usually I’m good at spotting things like this but in this case because it blended in so well I just skipped past it

Summary and Rating

All of these bridges are fantastic and I can only imagine what some of the other ones will be about.  Wild Cat Bridge was found rather accidentally and while there revealed many different unique features I’d not seem before.  There is a distinct odor of fresh wood inside and I suspect there were repairs or renovations performed recently.  In addition, the interior roof and some of the bolts appear to be almost new, and no age marks or wear can be detected.  The best feature of Wild Cat Bridge has to be it’s single large window looking out to the river.  Wild Cat Bridge, for being an unplanned visit was thrilling and wonderful and it deserves the five Heywillamettes it gets.  I’m grateful I was able to visit it while in Eugene, and I definitely recommend anyone who has a chance take the loop I mentioned earlier and enjoy the drive.



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