The History of Duluth, Minnesota's Seven Bridges Road
In the mid-1990's the city of Duluth, realizing the historic significance of the bridges, initiated a program to repair and restore the structures. Bridge #2, just south of the Lakeview hockey rinks, being the most damaged of the lot, was the first to be restored.
The original blueprints were consulted with the work beginning in late 1996, and completed the following summer. The bridge was restored to it original condition, and the project was hailed a success.
Restored Historic Bridge#2 along Seven Bridges Road.
In the spring of 1998, the Duluth Preservation Alliance awarded the restoration with a plaque at its annual awards ceremony. Work on Historic Bridge #6 (shown left) was begun the following year, a century after Samuel Snively began construction on the original road. Repairs to the remaining five bridges are slated to take place over the next few years.
Although in fairly rough condition and its paved section in need of resurfacing, Seven Bridges Road remains one of Duluth's more idyllic drives. (SIDEBAR) Traveling the road, you'll often meet hikers and bicyclists, equestrians, and automobiles. Fisherman can be spotted angling for trout along the creek bank, and during the warmer days of summer, swimmers are often seen cooling themselves in pools such as the one situated just beneath the falls near Historic Bridge #6. During the winter months, snowmobilers share the route with hikers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoe enthusiasts.
If you continue upward along the dirt road after crossing the last bridge (Historic Bridge #7), you'll follow Snively's final extension to his original road (and the last addition to Skyline Parkway), which takes you to Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve.
Located at the hill's crest, the overlook at Hawk Ridge presents one of the finest vistas you'll find of Lake Superior and the surrounding lakehead region. Each autumn, bird watchers from around the country gather there to watch the annual southern migration of hawks, eagles and other birds of prey. On some days, thousands of birds can be counted as they funnel down along the North Shore to cross the narrow western tip of Lake Superior.
One day, back in early November of 1934, Sam Snively stood along Hawk Ridge overlooking eastern Duluth and the blue expanse of Lake Superior. Much of his celebrated farm, less than a mile away, had been destroyed sixteen years before in a devastating forest fire that had swept through the area. He sold the property soon after. Now, as he stood there, fast approaching his 75th birthday, and well into in his last term as mayor, he contemplated his long life in Duluth.
Douglas Overland Collection
Thank you for visiting The History of Duluth, Minnesota's Seven Bridges Road.
Questions or comments please contact: Mark Ryan
Northeast Minnesota Historical Center
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
Northwest Architectural Archives
Skyline Planning & Preservation Alliance
Minnesota Historical Society
Duluth Preservation Alliance
Historic Minnesota Bridge Site
Superior Hiking Trail
"Snively's Road" by Mark Ryan, Minnesota History , v 54, n. 4, Winter 1994
"Passing Time Along the Skyline Parkway", Duluth News-Tribune, May 10, 1997
"Mr. Snively, the Roadbuilder" by Mark Ryan, Lake Superior Magazine, September, 1998
Other Duluth and Minnesota Related Sites
Woodshed--The Minnesota Page
Duluth Convention and Visitors Bureau
Two-Bit Tour of Old Duluth
Seeing the Light
Preservation Information Sites