The History of Duluth, Minnesota's Seven Bridges Road


Page 7 of 7


Historic Bridge #5In 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 Bridge #2Bridge #2 from riverRestored Bridge Arch

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. Bridge #6 RestorationWork 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 Road to Hawk Ridgecrossing the last bridge (Historic Bridge #7), you'll follow Snively's final extensionPlanned Eastern 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.

Panorama Thumbnail

Vista of Lake Superior from overlook at Hawk Ridge

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.

Snively End Portrait



"Sometimes, when I become discouraged, I say to myself, I should have gone to another city to seek my fortune. But when I look over these hills and see the great natural beauties of our community, I console myself and wonder--where in all this wide world could I find such a view as this?"

-Samuel Snively




Douglas Overland Collection

Thank you for visiting The History of Duluth, Minnesota's Seven Bridges Road.

Questions or comments please contact: Mark Ryan


Related Links

Northeast Minnesota Historical Center

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

Duluth News-Tribune

Northwest Architectural Archives

Skyline Planning & Preservation Alliance

Minnesota Historical Society

Duluth Preservation Alliance

Historic Minnesota Bridge Site

Superior Trails

Duluth Streams

Superior Hiking Trail


Additional Information

"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



A 56 minute video documentary detailing the history of Skyline Parkway and Samuel Snively's role in its construction and promotion is available for sale.


Clip doesn't play? Download a Free QUICKTIME PLAYER Here


Only $19.99 + shipping and tax (where applicable)

Inquire at Video Purchase Request



Beautiful Seven Bridges Road Poster

The stone-arch bridges along Seven Bridges Road turned 100 years old. The bridges and road were officially opened on July 6, 1912. Starting in 1996, the city began a restoration program on all the bridges along Seven Bridges Road. The project was completed in 2007. Hopefully the bridges will endure another century. This nicely designed 11.5 x 16.5 poster depicts several fine art photographs of the bridges set against a 1910 Morell & Nichols architectural drawing of Bridge #7. Looks great framed!


Only $14.99 + shipping and tax

To order contact Mark Ryan



Other Duluth and Minnesota Related Sites


Woodshed--The Minnesota Page

Duluth Convention and Visitors Bureau

Two-Bit Tour of Old Duluth

Duluth Streams

Seeing the Light


Preservation Information Sites

Preseveration Directory







Web Pages © 1999-2008 Mark Ryan. All color photographs by Mark Ryan. © 1998-2008 Mark Ryan. Photographs credited to William Overland Collection or to Douglas Overland Collection are © William Overland, and © Douglas Overland, respectively.

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