4th Street Trail Bridge (St. Paul)

Deck Girder Bridge over 4th Street and Trout Brook
Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name 4th Street Trail Bridge (St. Paul)
Built By Northern Pacific Railroad
Contractor (Main Spans) Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By Ramsey County
Length 83 Feet Total, 28 Foot Main Spans
Width 2 Tracks
Height Above Ground 13 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Girder and I-Beam
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Steel Tower
Date Built 1880 and 1893
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
NP Bridge Number 0.45
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1885, the Saint Paul & Northern Pacific Railroad would build a line from Northtown in Minneapolis, to 7th Street in Saint Paul; a distance of 15 miles.
The line served as a connection point, with several lines heading west at Northtown, and connections to Chicago at St. Paul.
The railroad became part of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1896, which had constructed many lines expanding to the west coast.
The railroad continued to serve as a mainline, being double tracked very soon after construction.

By 1970, the NP merged with rival Great Northern, as well as Chicago, Burlington & Quincy to form Burlington Northern.
BN continued to maintain this as a high priority line. By 1996, the BN merged with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to form BNSF Railway.
BNSF continues to operate this line as the St. Paul Subdivision, and is the busiest section of track in Minnesota.

This structure was once a freight spur from the mainline to the St. Paul Depot and several connections.
The bridge was first built in 1880 as a simple I-Beam span over Trout Brook.
It was rebuilt again in 1893 with two new deck girder spans, which would cross 4th Street.
This location of 4th Street has numerous bridges as several lines converged and served various industry. These tracks would all lead north through a very small valley, eventually splitting at Westminster Junction.
Today, this bridge continues to be largely unaltered from its 1893 appearance. The difference is the addition of a trail deck. The bridge directly to the east was demolished at the time of the trail deck being added.
This structure sits on stone and steel substructures.

The author has ranked this structure as moderate significance, due to its common design. However, the 1880 I-Beam span is one of the oldest known for railroad use.

The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


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

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