1931: LeDue first to cross new bridge
The following appeared in the Rock County Herald on October 16, 1931, and is the last in a series about Luverne's Rock River bridge.
Senator Schall, after a brief statement concerning good roads, gave a political speech lasting an hour and a half. The following is the ending of his speech:
Rock river bridge was built by the Widell Construction Co., of Mankato, under the personal direction of G. A. Hildeen, and they completed their task more than ten days ago, when most of the contractor’s equipment and supplies were loaded and shipped back to headquarters. Since then a limited number of men have been engaged in clearing up the bridge area and putting the finishing touches on the bridge itself and nothing that would add to the appearance or the general surroundings was neglected. In fact, those who have paid particular attention to the activities of the contractors and their crews have been most agreeable surprised by the broad-minded, generous manner in which they consistently sought to please. The same attitude has been shown by the state highway department in every way possible.
Now that the trunk highway is open to travel the old township road that for many years provided the only entrance to the old fair grounds and race track, east of town, will likely be permanently abandoned, for this roadway now provides entrance only to the farm occupied by David Jones, and a more direct approach is available from the trunk highway.
Earlier in the grading operations, many were inclined to believe that the pronounced grade of the new highway would detract from the attractiveness of Luverne’s public park, but as things have been shaping themselves during the last few weeks a majority of these critics has become convinced that the road betterment has also resulted in added conveniences and picturesque features to the recreation grounds.
On a recent visit here, the chief officials of Minnesota’s highway department paid a visit to Luverne’s public park and Commissioner C. M. Babcock expressed the opinion that Luverne has one of the most attractive parks of limited area to be found anywhere in Southern Minnesota, and that with the improvements that are being made from year to year, it won’t be long until it will be noted as one of the outstanding pleasure grounds of this section. Incidentally, Mr. Babcock and his assistants have aided wherever possible in promoting this desirable result.
Through the combined efforts of fate and “wags,” the honor being the first one with a vehicle to cross the new Rock river bridge went to C. M. LaDue, with his sorrel pony and road cart.
An adverse angle of the trunk highway improvement work east of Luverne was obtained Tuesday by many motorists who travelled the new Rock river grade, for the two days of rainy weather had softened the surface to a marked extent. As a result there were from one to eight cars stalled at a time, at almost any hour of the day, but the caterpillar tractors were brought into use, and everyone given a lift that needed it. The road was passable the following day.
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