National Landmarks Status Sought for Two Eau Claire Bridges

V1 Staff, photos by Janae Breunig

Soo Line Railroad Bridge (a.k.a. the S Bridge)
Soo Line Railroad Bridge (a.k.a. the S Bridge)

Two historic former railroad bridges in Eau Claire may soon be designated as national landmarks. The Eau Claire Landmarks Commission recently voted to support placing the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railroad Bridge (a.k.a. the High Bridge) and the Soo Line Railroad Bridge (a.k.a. the S Bridge) on the National Register of Historic Places. UW-Eau Claire professor John Mann and students from his public history classes researched the bridges’ history and submitted nomination forms to add them to the National Register. Pat Ivory, the city’s senior planner, said the state’s Historic Preservation Review Board is slated to review the applications in November. In the meantime, the Eau Claire City Council is expected to consider supporting the designation as well. Both bridges are already on the city’s own landmark list, and while being part of the National Register is largely honorific, it will bring further attention to the structures, which are notable both because of their aesthetics and their engineering. “It’s fairly unique to have two bridges in the city that are eligible that way,” Ivory said.