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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.

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