In 1884, the townspeople decided to build a bridge of wood and steel in place of the ferry. The bridge, which cost $15,000 to build, is pictured at the right. The city decided to charge a small toll in order to pay for the cost of the construction of the bridge. The fare was 25 cents for a one way team carrying two people and 40 cents for a two-way "ticket". The charge for pedestrians crossing the bridge was only a nickel. This bridge lasted until September 11, 1906 when a disastrous wind storm blew the bridge off its foundation.
In 1902 construction began on a new bridge which was made of steel. The bridge was completed by the fall of that year. A toll was charged during the day. One difference from the old bridge was that at night anyone could cross the bridge at no cost.
The toll bridge was turned over to the state of Wisconsin on July 1, 1937. From then on it became known as the free bridge. There was a vote in the city the month before to decide the outcome of the bridge. Seven hundred-fifty people voted ed to turn the bridge over to the state and one hundred fifty-four people wanted to keep it a toll bridge. A lot of money was made from the toll bridge. The bridge was in tough shape, however, and soon needed replacement.
Governor Heil approved a contract to build a bridge that would be 1,375 feet long, starting on Third Avenue between Goodrich furniture store and the Bank of Durand. The bridge has a 24 foot wide road instead of the old 16 foot road. One change from the old bridge was this one has a walkway for pedestrians. The total cost of the bridge came to about $250,000.
Now, in 1998, people are debating whether to build a new and improved bridge that would replace the present one. As of now, they are still in the planning stages of the project.
......Click Here to see pictures of past bridges
Written and Edited by: Nate Daniels & Brian Raiche in October of 1998