Grassy Point Drawbridge

Through Truss Swing Bridge over St. Louis River
Superior, Douglas County, Wisconsin
West Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Grassy Point Drawbridge
Built By Northern Pacific Railway
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 1,660 Feet Total; 430 Foot Largest Span
Width 2 Tracks, 1 In Use
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Swing Bridge, Through Plate Girder and Trestle
Substructure Type Concrete and Timber Pile
Date Built 1912
Traffic Count 6 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Traffic Count 6 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
NP Bridge Number 94.6
Significance Regional Significance
Documentation Date February 2014

The first bridge here was built in 1887 by the Minneapolis & Duluth Railroad in 1887, which was later incorporated into the Northern Pacific.
However, in 1912 the bridge would be rebuilt with the current structure. This new structure features a large riveted and pin connected through truss swing bridge.
In addition to the main span, the bridge is also approached by through girder spans and trestle on either side. While there were three draw bridges crossing between Duluth and Superior, this is the sole remaining structure.
The bridge rests on concrete and timber substructures. While the bridge was built double track, it has had the eastbound track removed. There are still slots for it on the steel spans, but the wood spans for that second track are gone.
The majority of rail traffic crossing the St. Louis River into Wisconsin up here crosses downstream on the Oliver Bridge, instead of on this bridge.
Overall, the bridge remains in fair condition. Long term plans call for the replacement of this structure with a new bridge, however these plans are not scheduled.

Grassy Point was the focus of a major reclamation effort in the 90s, resulting in good (winter) views of the bridge from the ice, such as the one above.
The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the unusual design and remaining operating swing span.
The photo above is an overview.

St. Louis River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Oliver Bridge
Downstream St. Louis Bay Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Northern Pacific Bridge Book, provided by Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association
Contractor Reported contractor
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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