Skip to main content

Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge


Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge is a lost structure which once served the mining town of Lancha Plana in Amador County, California.  Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge spanned the Mokelumne River as one of the first suspension bridges constructed in California.  Pictured as the blog cover photo is the abandoned Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge as it was featured in the September 1950 California Highways & Public Works.  Lancha Plana and the site of Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge were flooded when the Commanche Reservoir began to form in 1963.  



The history of Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge

Lancha Plana had been settled by Mexican Miners during 1848. Lancha Plana had continuous Post Office service from 1859-1919. Lancha Plana was located along a stage road between Jackson and Jenny Lind. In 1856 Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge was constructed at the Mokelumne River to facilitate easier crossings between Amador County and Calaveras County.

Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge is referenced in the September 1950 California Highways & Public Works as being 300 feet long and being built to a standard which withstood the infamous floods of 1862. The article stub notes the structure was then in a state of abandonment with the cables rusted and timber deck lost to age.



The site of Lancha Plana and Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge can be seen west of Campo Seco on the 1873 Bancroft's Map of California.  


Lancha Plana and the site of Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge can be seen on the 1889 United States Geological Map of Jackson.  Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge was located immediately west of modern Buena Vista Road.  


The 1935 Division of Highways Map of Amador County is one of the last to shown Lancha Plana and the site of Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge in substantial detail.  Westmoreland's Bridge can be seen spanning the Mokelumne River and connecting Buena Vista Road with Calaveras County.  The major county road is shown branching west directly through Lancha Plana into Calaveras County towards Camanche.  It isn't clear when Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge was abandoned.  


The site of Lancha Plana and Westmoreland's Suspension Bridge were flooded when the Camanche Reservoir began to form in 1963.  Camanche Dam would be completed during 1964 by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District.  It isn't fully clear if any remains of the structure remain underneath the waters of the Camanche Reservoir.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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

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

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