Date in History: 1909

In the late 19th century, the citizens of Fort Atkinson began arguing over whether they needed a second bridge over the Rock River. Some on the northwest side of town were opposed to the idea, fearing it would destroy the exclusiveness of their neighborhood. Other, more practical sorts, were in favor of a bridge, pointing out that though they lived with a stone’s throw of the railway depot, they had to get to it by way of Main Street Рa long walk if you were carrying luggage.

Perhaps the most interesting argument for why the town needed a second bridge was that it would help promote neighborly feelings and alleviate the North-South rivalry that sometimes flared in town. Whatever the reason, a second bridge over the Rock River was finally built in 1909. It received periodic repairs and improvements until 1974 when it was torn down after the Robert Street bridge was built just to the east of it.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 03/01/2004.