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Then and Now

Howard Street Bridge

The pedestrian-only Howard St. bridge, this one spanning the center channel of the Spokane River where is passes through Riverfront Park, has been around for almost a century.


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Image One Photo Archive The Spokesman-Review Image Two Jesse Tinsley The Spokesman-Review

You have to be “of a certain age” to remember riding across the Spokane River on the Howard Street Bridge because the bridges became pedestrian-only for Expo ‘74. But for most of a century traffic would pass over the series of three bridges dubbed the Howard, Havermale and Washington— bringing shoppers and workers downtown from the North side of Spokane. The traffic passed under the elevated trestle that brought trains to the Milwaukee Road and Union Pacific depot. The cars bumped across the tracks near the Great Northern depot, of which only the Riverfront Park clock tower remains. Opening in 1881, the Howard St. bridges were the first span across the river in Spokane, followed quckly by the first rickety wooden Monroe St. bridge. Before the Howard street project, crossing the river meant fording it in a shallow spot or going to Antoine Plante’s ferry landing and pulling yourself across the river with a rope.But the current Howard St. bridges are getting tired. The south bridge, closest to downtown, has a large sectioned blocked off to limit pedestrian loads. The sidewalks of the middle bridge, shown here, have been fenced off because of cracking support beams. The north bridge is fine. The problem is being studied as the city begins work on a new master plan for the park.


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