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.
Kurt Smith said…
Any idea where the original Fort Washington fort was located???


As best I can tell , it was on the east bank of the river near where the original Lanes Bridge was....

Appreciate any info you may have

Thanks

Kurt Smith
kurtsmith404@aol.com

Popular posts from this blog

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Horace Wilkinson Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

Standing tall across from downtown Baton Rouge, the Horace Wilkinson Bridge carries Interstate 10 across the lower Mississippi River between West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parishes. Unusually, the bridge is actually named for three separate people; three generations of Horace Wilkinsons who served in the Louisiana State Legislature over a combined period of 54 years. Constructed in the 1960s and opened to traffic in 1968, this is one of the largest steel bridges on the lower Mississippi. It’s also the tallest bridge across the Mississippi, with its roadway reaching 175 ft at the center span. Baton Rouge is the northernmost city on the river where deep-water, ocean-going vessels can operate. As a result, this bridge is the northernmost bridge on the river of truly gigantic proportions. Altogether, the bridge is nearly 2 ½ miles long and its massive truss superstructure is 4,550 ft long with a center main truss span of 1,235 ft. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge is one of the largest

Natchez-Vidalia Bridge (Natchez, MS)

  Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and Vicksburg near the city of Natchez, the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge crosses the lower Mississippi River between southwest Mississippi and northeastern Louisiana at the city of Vidalia. This river crossing is a dual span, which creates an interesting visual effect that is atypical on the Mississippi River in general. Construction on the original bridge took place in the late 1930s in conjunction with a much larger parallel effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen the area’s flood protection and levee system along the Mississippi River. One of the more ambitious aspects of this plan was to relocate the city of Vidalia to a location of higher ground about one mile downriver from the original settlement. The redirection of the river through the Natchez Gorge (which necessitated the relocation of the town) and the reconstruction of the river’s levee system in the area were undertaken in the aftermath of the Great Flood of 1927, wh