Do you enjoy history? Do you find historic bridges interesting? Do you want to learn all about Walnut Grove, California? If so read our guide to find out more…
California history is rich with firsts, and this is true in Walnut Grove where the town bridge is concerned. The town was first started in the year 1850, by a man named John W. Sharp. Walnut Grove is situated along the Sacramento River, and the town was one of the very first established in the area. The attraction of this part of California for John Sharp was the large number of oak forests and walnut trees. Eventually a riverboat stop was added and settlers came to the area. The year 1865 saw a shipping port added to the town, causing it to grow even faster. The population even today is less than one thousand residents, and the town has not expanded much.
The Old Bridge
The Walnut Grove Bridge in California has a history that dates back to the year 1916. This bridge was the very first of its kind on this side of the Mississippi River, and was a wonder when it opened. This was due to being a counter weighted drawbridge in the bascule style that was cantilevered, a new concept in California at the time. The Walnut Grove Bridge opening was officially attended by the governor of the state, and was also attended by many other dignitaries and important people who arrived with the governor in the state yacht.
The New Bridge
The original Walnut Grove Bridge was replaced, and the new bridge is a modern version which does not have the same charm and depth of history. This structure is needed because the town has actually expanded through the years to cover both sides of the river. Until the first bridge was opened the town residents had to rely on a ferry to travel back and forth between the sides. A replacement of the original was made for safety reasons, and the new span is both effective and very secure.
Unusual California History
Walnut Grove shares some historic facts common to most areas in the state, but one thing that did not have much of an impact on the town was gold mining. Instead the town residents used the area for agricultural purposes. This is not true in many other areas of the state. The natural beauty of this area has been preserved through history, and tours today show many of the original attractions that drew the first settlers. The bridge may have been replaced but many of the historic buildings are still visible, and Walnut Grove still retains the small town look and feel.