Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Fairview Lift Bridge

Thank you to R. David Adams for submitting these photos of the Fairview Lift Bridge and the accompanying Cartwright Tunnel, between Cartwright, North Dakota and Fairview, Montana.  This bridge is frequently confused with the Snowden Bridge, a few miles away in Montana, partly due to a similar history (each bridge has only been raised once) and construction. However, this bridge is distinct from the Snowden bridge when the Cartwright tunnel is taken into account.  To our knowledge, the tunnel is the only train tunnel in the state of North Dakota.

As you’ll learn from Mr. Adams’ comments below each photo, this lift bridge was built to accommodate steamboat traffic on the Yellowstone River, but the steamboats stopped steaming the Yellowstone River before the bridge was complete.  Thus the lift was only used one time.  The last car crossed the bridge in 1955, and the trains ended in the 1980’s.   Since the bridge and tunnel were so narrow, travelers were required to pick up a phone at one end and call to ensure no traffic was coming from the other side!

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel
Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

On ramp west end of Fairview Lift Bridge just a couple of miles East of Fairview Montana. This Bridge was finished in 1913 and was a bridge used for rail and automobile traffic until 1955.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Looking east as we walk on the rail bed. You can see the Cartwright tunnel at the end of the bridge.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Approaching the bridge support from the west looking east.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

The center section or “draw” weighs in at 1.14 Million Pounds. At each end of the span large concrete counterweights are hung to assist in the lifting of the span.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Platform that contains a three cylinder kerosene engine that lifts the bridge span.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Closer look at the lift mechanism. this lift operated one time to test the bridge and never again. It seems that steamship travel on the Yellowstone ended during the construction of the bridge in 1912!

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Looking up at one of the two counterweights. Held up by several 2 inch cables. I was thinking they have been there for almost a hundred years and decided to move… just in case!

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel
Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

On the east end approach showing the west tunnel opening.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Notice the size of the treated lumber used around the opening! Cars traveled across the top to gain access to the bridge on the right just behind where I was standing.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Inside the tunnel.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

The road that used to allow cars to use the bridge until 1955. right behind me the road slopes down to the bridge and also branches off to get down to the bridge abutments.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Looking west from the tunnel to the bridge.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Looking west.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

I climbed up the small hill on the south of the rail bed to get a better picture of the engine and tower houses that move the center span of the bridge up and down.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Just around the bend is the east entrance to the Tunnel but is now on private lands. Cartwright is just a mile to my back. To read more about this bridge, visit this site.

All photos by R. David Adams, copyright RDA Enterprises. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Kloten, ND

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten is in Nelson County, situated about forty miles south of Highway 2, about halfway between Devils Lake and Grand Forks. Accurate population figures are difficult to find. Kloten’s population was reported at a suspiciously round number of 150 for many years, however our census records going back as far as 1960 do not include population reports for Kloten.

Nathan Mastrud contributed these photos of Kloten with the following comments:

Sign leading to Kloten reads “Dead End” but it still carried us through town. Maybe around 6-10 households remain in Kloten. Some of them were hard to tell if the were inhabited or not because most of the the yards were mowed …even the yards of houses that appeared abandoned. Also few of the remaining ones appeared to have a never ending yard sale.

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

The Kloten grain elevator still looms over the west side of town and a church still remains.

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

A Fire Hall bell was begging to be rung but a few dogs and the fear of shotguns advised otherwise.

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

Photos by Nathan Mastrud & Punchgut Studio, original content © copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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Overly, North Dakota

Overly, North Dakota

According to the 2000 Census, Overly is home to 19 residents. James Johnson contributed these photos with the following comments:

I came to Overly with a goal of finding whatever remains of the old roundhouse. A satellite photograph of the town showed shapes in consistent with roundhouse layout just south of the town. You will have to walk in tall grass to find a turntable and old foundations of the roundhouse. Be extremely careful because you could trip over and be injured! In my review of the foundations I determined there were four service bays in the roundhouse.  Continue reading “Overly, North Dakota”

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Our May 2010 trip took us through Minot, so we stopped to take some photos of this — the Gassman Coulee Trestle in Trestle Valley, just outside of town.  It’s not abandoned, but it’s a really nice place to be outside with your camera on a hot summer night.

Gassman Coulee Trestle

The bridge is 1792 feet long and 117 feet tall at its highest point. When a train crosses, you can hear the rumble miles away.

Gassman Coulee Trestle
Gassman Coulee Trestle

The Sheyenne River Bridge near Karnak is one step larger than this bridge.  The Northern Pacific High Line Bridge in Valley City is bigger still.

Gassman Coulee Trestle
Gassman Coulee Trestle
Trestle Valley Lodge

Years ago, there was a ski resort in this valley called the Trestle Valley Ski Resort and this was the lodge.

UPDATE: Site visitor Jeff snapped these photos of the former lodge, today a private residence.

Trestle Valley Ski Lodge
Trestle Valley Ski Lodge
Trestle Valley Ski Lodge

Trestle photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, original copyright Sonic Tremor Media

Bucyrus, ND

Bucyrus, ND is along Highway 12 in southwestern North Dakota, east of Bowman. It was founded in 1907 as Wolf Butte, and was also known as Dolan for a time. Bucyrus is just down the road from some other places we’ve visited, like Gascoyne, Haley and Griffin.

US Census Data for Bucyrus
Total Population by Place

1920 – 113
1930 – 124
1940 – 117
1950 – 111
1960 – 60
1970 – 42
1980 – 32
1990 – 22
2000 – 26
2010 — 27

Bucyrus fell victim to a wildfire on October 17th, 2012.  The town’s residents were evacuated, but numerous homes were lost to fire.

 

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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Now Arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Crystal Springs was founded in the Dakota Territory in 1873 and the Post Office opened with the name “CRYSTAL SPRINGS” in 1884–named for nearby Crystal Springs Lakes.

We were cruising west on the interstate one day and the Crystal Springs school, perched beautifully atop a hill along the highway, practically jumped out at us, and we stopped to get a few shots. Now arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota. Continue reading “Now Arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota”

Merricourt, ND

Merricourt, North Dakota

A farm post office for Merricourt was established in October 1883. North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick lists Merricourt’s peak population at 153 in the 1940’s.

During our visit to Merricourt, we saw one home which was occupied, right in the middle of the townsite. We also heard someone calling for their dog, so we didn’t stay in that area long. There are quite a few abandoned structures, as well as some buildings which are still maintained. The surrounding miles of farmland are dotted with crumbling farms in every direction. Population loss was hard on this part of the state. Continue reading “Merricourt, ND”

Lonely Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita was founded along the Great Northern Railroad Line in 1911, about fifteen miles northeast of Carrington, North Dakota. It was originally named “Wanitah”, a Native American word of unknown meaning, but later renamed by town planners with the Spanish spelling.  It reached a peak poulation of 150 in 1920. When we visited in 2004, it appeared to have a population around five to ten.

Juanita did have a fairly impressive stone school building, however it appeared to be in use by one of the town’s residents and we chose not to photograph it for privacy’s sake. There was also a big dog running loose which made our visit a quick one.

Juanita, North Dakota

There were quite a few empty homes in Juanita and the landscape is severely overgrown. From one home, only the chimney was visible through the trees. Other than the homes, the school building was the only structure still standing in Juanita.

Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita, North Dakota

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Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita, North Dakota

Do you have an update on what’s going on in Juanita these days? Let us know in the comments.

Juanita, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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Heaton, ND

Heaton was founded in 1899 as a Northern Pacific Railroad town, named for George Heaton, the manager of land sales for the railroad. Population figures include 400 in 1930, 62 in 1960, and approximately 5 when these photos were taken in 2004.

Heaton, about twenty miles west of Carrington, North Dakota, is an interesting town. We visited in May of 2004 and there were three or four houses which looked occupied, but a ton of vacant homes. The whole time we were taking these photos, we could hear kids playing nearby.

Site visitor Brandon Miller, who grew up one mile north of Heaton, wrote to tell us it was his Grandfather’s opinion the tornado which ravaged Heaton in 1907 was a big reason for the town’s eventual decline.

In it’s heyday, Heaton played host to a post office, a lumber yard, gas station, bank, hardware store, two hotels, and three churches.

 In 2012, we spoke with the final resident of Heaton.

Wanna see what we found when we returned to Heaton six years after this visit? Check it out here.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC