Several times year, we receive a call at the museum from residents who want to know, "What is that bridge over Nine Mile Creek that is not connected to any roads?" (And yes, more than one person has dubbed it the "Bridge to Nowhere.")
The description seems apt, since the bridge is tucked in the southwest residential area of Gleason Road and Vernon Avenue. Why have a bridge where no one travels?
The answer lies in Edina's history. At one time, the roadway now known as Vernon Avenue meandered through Edina on a path created by Indian tribes traveling between Shakopee and Eden Prairie to summer camping grounds at Lake Calhoun.
Early white settlers traveled the route as well, naming it Eden Prairie Road or Edina Mills Road. Rutted with wagon wheel tracks, the road was impassable much of the year, although new bridges helped during times of high water.
By the early 1900s owners of new-fangled automobiles began lobbying Hennepin County commissioners for more improvements and soon sections of the road were paved.
Although Indians curved their trail around trees and hills, early roadway planners believed that the shortest distance between two points was a straight line. When Eden Prairie Road was upgraded to become Highway 169 in the 1930s, the curves were taken out. One was a short .2 mile section that curved north between Olinger and Blake Roads - the only stretch that still retains the original name of Eden Prairie Road.
Also abandoned was a piece that curved south, where Edina's own "Bridge to Nowhere" sits today. In the not-so-distant past, however, the bridge definitely was the community's link to "somewhere."
Do you have a "history mystery" you want us to solve? Call the museum at 612-928-4577. If I don't know, I have great volunteers who probably will. We also can consult rooms of books, documents, maps, photographs and more.
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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