Slide show I wrote up for the Great Northern Railway Historical Society annual convention in Nelson, BC.
The as-built view of the bridge at Marcus over the Columbia River. The bridge was constructed in 1901 entirely of wood. Marcus was where the line from Spokane split, with one branch going on to Grand Forks, Oroville, and eventually Vancouver, BC. The other branch went along the Columbia River, crossed into Canada, and eventually ended at a place called Nelson.
Ice floes and high water along the Columbia in February 1929 severely damaged two spans. During the floe, pier number 5, near the center of the river, started to move downstream during one of the worst ice jams yet experienced in the river at that point. The pier continued to move a few inches a day, until it had gone downstream 22 feet and had settled 20 feet on one corner. The spans were badly twisted when the movement of the pier finally stopped.
Plans called for a new bridge 100 feet upstream from the old structure. Three of the wooden spans would be retained, a fourth wooden span would be rebuilt, and three new steel spans of 225 feet each would be used.
A short timber approach would be required on the south side, and a trestle approach 700 feet long would be required on the north side
During March 1930, during the construction of the new bridge, fire broke out and soon both bridges were burning. Losses at the time were estimated at $150,000. Three wooden spans had just been moved into place from the old structure, all of which were consumed. One new steel span dropped into the river. The trestle approach on the north side burned. The small fire fighting crew from Marcus were joined by forces from Orient and Colville. The new bridge was supposed to have reopened within a week.
The GN mustered it's forces and completed the bridge in by April 1930. Shortly after the new bridg opened, spans of the old bridge were dynamited out of the way.
John Barriger III took this photo of the bridge in 1939, looking north. Notice the the approach and fill on the far side.
John Barriger III took this photo as well, looking south towards Marcus proper. Notice the two wooden spans on this end of the bridge.