Skip to main content

The last covered bridges of the California State Highway System (California State Route 96)

California has numerous covered bridges which once served the highways and roads of the State.  In modern times most of the existing covered bridges in California have been converted to pedestrian use and a state of preservation.  The California State Highway System had two covered bridge holdouts which were active on California State Route 96 in Siskiyou County until 1950.  This blog examines the history of the Dillon Creek and Clear Creek Covered Bridges which were the last two structures of their kind on a California State Highway System.  Pictured above as the blog cover is the Dillon Creek Covered Bridge as it was prior to being demolished during 1950.  

The history of the Dillon Creek and Clear Creek Covered Bridges

What is now California State Route 96, and the Klamath River Highway was first defined by the 1919 Third State Highway Bond Act as Legislative Route Number 46 (LRN 46).  The original definition of LRN 46 was as follows:

"Klamath River Bridge on LRN 3 (future US Route 99) to LRN 1 (future US Route 101)"

The planned route of LRN 46 and the Klamath River Highway appears on the 1920 California Highway Commission Map.  

The August 1934 California Highways and Public Works announced the original run of Sign State Routes.  The entirety of LRN 46 and the Klamath River Highway was assigned as California State Route 96.  The attached article map displays California State Route 96 being applied over the completed portions of LRN 46 and the Klamath River Highway.  The Klamath River Highway between Klamath Glen and the Yurok Reservation ultimately was never constructed.  

The November/December 1950 California Highways & Public Works contains an article regarding the removal of the last two covered bridges from the State Highway System. The Clear Creek and Dillon Creek Covered Bridges are noted to have been located on California State Route 96 in Siskiyou County. The Clear Creek and Dillon Creek Covered Bridges were constructed during 1921-1922 by the United States Bureau of Public Roads when the Klamath River Highway was in a primitive state of repair. The Clear Creek Covered Bridge is noted to have been built with an eleven-foot-wide road deck whereas the Dillon Creek Covered Bridge had a fifteen-foot nine-inch-wide road deck. The modernized spans over Dillon Creek and Clear Creek are displayed in contrast to their covered bridge predecessors.

The modern Clear Creek Bridge can be found on California State Route 96 at Postmile SIS 32.65.

The modern Dillon Creek Bridge can be found on California State Route 96 at Postmile SIS R16.18.


Popular posts from this blog

Paper Highways: The Unbuilt New Orleans Bypass (Proposed I-410)

  There are many examples around the United States of proposed freeway corridors in urban areas that never saw the light of day for one reason or another. They all fall somewhere in between the little-known and the infamous and from the mundane to the spectacular. One of the more obscure and interesting examples of such a project is the short-lived idea to construct a southern beltway for the New Orleans metropolitan area in the 1960s and 70s. Greater New Orleans and its surrounding area grew rapidly in the years after World War II, as suburban sprawl encroached on the historically rural downriver parishes around the city. In response to the development of the region’s Westbank and the emergence of communities in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes as viable suburban communities during this period, regional planners began to consider concepts for new infrastructure projects to serve this growing population.  The idea for a circular freeway around the southern perimeter of t

Hernando de Soto Bridge (Memphis, TN)

The newest of the bridges that span the lower Mississippi River at Memphis, the Hernando de Soto Bridge was completed in 1973 and carries Interstate 40 between downtown Memphis and West Memphis, AR. The bridge’s signature M-shaped superstructure makes it an instantly recognizable landmark in the city and one of the most visually unique bridges on the Mississippi River. As early as 1953, Memphis city planners recommended the construction of a second highway bridge across the Mississippi River to connect the city with West Memphis, AR. The Memphis & Arkansas Bridge had been completed only four years earlier a couple miles downriver from downtown, however it was expected that long-term growth in the metro area would warrant the construction of an additional bridge, the fourth crossing of the Mississippi River to be built at Memphis, in the not-too-distant future. Unlike the previous three Mississippi River bridges to be built the city, the location chosen for this bridge was about two

Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (Memphis, TN)

  Like the expansion of the railroads the previous century, the modernization of the country’s highway infrastructure in the early and mid 20th Century required the construction of new landmark bridges along the lower Mississippi River (and nation-wide for that matter) that would facilitate the expected growth in overall traffic demand in ensuing decades. While this new movement had been anticipated to some extent in the Memphis area with the design of the Harahan Bridge, neither it nor its neighbor the older Frisco Bridge were capable of accommodating the sharp rise in the popularity and demand of the automobile as a mode of cross-river transportation during the Great Depression. As was the case 30 years prior, the solution in the 1940s was to construct a new bridge in the same general location as its predecessors, only this time the bridge would be the first built exclusively for vehicle traffic. This bridge, the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, was completed in 1949 and was the third