Skip to main content

1889 Lanes Bridge Location (Old California State Route 41)

Recently I visited the location of the 1889 Lanes Bridge along what was California State Route 41 north of the Fresno City limits on the San Joaquin River.


Previously I touched on former alignments of CA 41 in the Fresno Area which can be found on the following three blogs:

1941 Lanes Bridge Renovations (Old CA 41) 

Old CA 41 in Southern Fresno County and the Expressway that never was

Old CA 180 and CA 41 surface alignments in Fresno

As stated in the 1941 Lanes Bridge blog the original crossing of the San Joaquin River was the 1889 Lanes Bridge.   The original Lanes Bridge was located about a mile up river north of the 1941 bridge roughly where Lanes Road ends today at the San Joaquin River.  The original Lanes Bridge was first called the Yosemite Bridge but soon became known as the Lanes Bridge due Lanes Station which was a general store in close proximity which opened in 1894.  In 1917 the original Lanes Bridge had a partial collapse but was quickly repaired.  By 1934 the original Lanes Bridge had become part of CA 41 but was considered obsolete even for the standards of the time.  The original 1934 alignment of CA 41 used modern Friant Road and Lanes Road to cross the San Joaquin River via the original Lanes Bridge.  The original Lanes Bridge was heavily damaged in a 1937 flood along the San Joaquin River but was once again repaired.  It wasn't until the summer of 1940 when an overloaded truck crashed through the road deck of that the use of the original Lanes Bridge ended.  CA 41 traffic was temporarily rerouted to Friant over the 1906 North Fort Bridge until the 1941 Lanes Bridge was opened.

Fresnobeehive.com has a really good article about bridge crossings over the San Joaquin River.  The article includes various photos of the original Lanes Bridge and the 1941 replacement.

Lanes Bridge Spanned Decades

The 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County shows the location of the original Lanes Bridge at the San Joaquin River.


The original alignment of CA 41 was routed along what is now a long abandoned alignment of Abby Street in the River Park neighborhood of northern Fresno (near the annexed community of Pinedale).  Abby Street once crossed over what is now the CA 41 freeway to Friant Road.  CA 41 followed an older alignment of Friant Road which has been repurposed as part of the Lewis E. Eaton Trail along a ridge above the San Joaquin River northward to Rice Road.  CA 41 followed Rice Road to Lanes Road which approached the 1889 Lanes Bridge on the south band of the San Joaquin River.  The two maps below illustrate the differences in the alignment of CA 41 related to the 1889 Lanes Bridge, the temporary alignment through Friant and the 1941 Lanes Bridge.  Note; the location of the 1889 Lanes Bridge is marked on the first map over the San Joaquin River.



Interestingly Abby Street nowadays barely resembles anything like a State Highway.  Abby Street presently is open from traffic from Pinedale Avenue southward towards Beachwood Avenue.  This photo below is of the northern end of Abby Street (one the left) at Pinedale Avenue.


Heading southward on Abby Street from Pinedale Avenue traffic can no longer directly cross Minarets Avenue.



Southbound Abby Street passes by Birch Avenue and Spruce Avenue before terminating at Beachwood Avenue.  Abby Street terminates within sight of later CA 41 alignment Blackstone Avenue.





My drive to the location of the 1889 Lanes Bridge began from the modern alignment of Friant Road with a left hand turn onto Rice Road.  My path followed the northbound alignment of what was CA 41.



Rice Road crosses under the Lewis E. Eaton Trail and picks up the original alignment of CA 41 descending the ridge line towards the San Joaquin River.




CA 41 would have split left towards the 1889 Lanes Bridge and Lanes Road whereas the temporary alignment through Friant continued to the right.




Lanes Drive currently bears little evidence of an early California State Highway aside from an old sportsmen club and barn approaching the San Joaquin River.  It is hard to imagine traffic on northbound CA 41 heading towards the 1889 Lanes Bridge on Lanes Road.








Lanes Road dead-ends at a gate at the San Joaquin River.  This would have been the southern approach to the 1889 Lanes Bridge.  Sadly the location doesn't even have a historic marker denoting it was the location of an important highway crossing.


Turning back south from the 1889 Lanes Bridge location the ridge line above the San Joaquin River is very apparent.  It is easy to see why CA 41 was routed on the higher terrain given the San Joaquin River was much more flood prone in the 1930s.


Comments

Anonymous said…
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of Lanes Bridge and rode my bicycle down to the point where the road was closed. Thank you for posting this.
Giacomo said…
I ran across your blog researching family photographs.
I have a photo(s? of the original 1889 Lanes Bridge taken about 1920.
Happy to send scans.
Challenger Tom said…
Yes, I would love to see the bridge scans. My email is; tomfearer@yahoo.com.

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley

The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh

Firebaugh is a city located on the San Joaquin River of western Fresno County.  Firebaugh is one of the oldest American communities in San Joaquin Valley having been settled as the location of Firebaugh's Ferry in 1854.  Traditionally Firebaugh has been served by California State Route 33 which was one of the original Sign State Routes announced during August 1934.  In modern times California State Route 33 is aligned through Firebaugh on N Street.  Originally California State Route 33 headed southbound passed through Firebaugh via; N Street, 8th Street, O Street, 12th Street, Nees Avenue and Washoe Avenue.  The blog cover depicts early California State Route 33 near Firebaugh crossing over a one-lane canal bridge.  The image below is from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County which depicts the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh. Part 1; the history of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh The community of Firebaugh is named in honor of Andr

Driving the Watkins Glen Historic Road Course - New York

  Situated at the south end of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Watkins Glen is well known for wineries along Seneca Lake and waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park . But one thing that gives the town much renown is its connection to the world of auto racing. The raceway at Watkins Glen Internationa l holds a number of big races every year, such as Six Hours at the Glen and the NASCAR Cup Series . The history of auto racing at Watkins Glen starts during the 1940s when the race followed a course on local roads and also through the streets of downtown Watkins Glen. It's a course that you can follow today, preferably at a more moderate speed than the auto racers of yore raced at. Let's explore the history of the original course, how it came to by and why it is no more. Organized races through the village of Watkins Glen and surrounding roads were first proposed and started by Cameron R. Argetsinger in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war sports car