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The Bridges


The cabin has always been called just that, “the cabin.” It was as though there was only one in the entire world. To my family there was. These are the stories about the cabin. MORE

The Bridges

Lori Narlock

The southern bridge.

The southern bridge.


I can’t talk about cabin road without mentioning how it is accessed, including the crossing of one of the two extraordinary bridges that flank the cabin road.


Just as there is only one road that leads to the cabin, there is only one highway that leads to it. Now a state route, it was once the main thoroughfare, providing a public route from California to Oregon.


Because of the highway’s prominence, two bridges were built in the early 1930s to provide passage over the deep ravines where creeks snake through the land. The land between the bridges, where the cabin is located is almost island-like given it’s water borders.


The year 1931 is cut into the concrete in large block letters at both ends of both bridges, but records indicate the commencement was before that time and the completion was 1933. What's remarkable about either of those years is that they were four to six years before the the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges were completed.


As I researched the bridges online,  I discovered a publication called California Highways and Public Works that chronicled the building and maintenance of every road, bridge, dam, and so on for the first few decades on the twentieth century. I scoured every page of the newsletters around the time our bridges were built and there was only one mention to be found and it didn’t provide any substantial information.


In another online publication I found the name of one civil engineer, Christian Gutleben who was based in San Francisco and was known for his reinforced concrete arch bridges that were built up and down the California coast. He also contributed to the arch structures used on the Golden Gate Bridge approach spans.


I can only imagine that the cost in dollars and man hours must have been substantial at the time the bridges were built and so it amazes me that two were built within a quarter mile of each other.


Today, only a few of California’s concrete arch bridges remain in existence. Most have been replaced. Ours are still there, but I often wonder how sturdy they are. The one we use most was equipped with railroad crossing arms and flashing lights sometime in the 1980s. A sign too was installed that says, “Do not cross when lights are flashing.”


Nearly one hundred years old and beautiful to look at, the bridges are a huge part of the cabin’s appeal. I hope they'll be there in another hundred years so that my grandchildren's children can cross them one day.