Back in “the day,” The Nohly/Snowden Bridge

We are fascinated with the two lift bridges in the Badlands, one at Fairview/Cartwright, the other near the long-gone towns of Nohly and Snowden.  So, while rummaging around in the archives at the MonDak Heritage Center in Sidney, we were excited to find these photos.  The first one is in an article about Richland County, Montana and the bordering county of Roosevelt County that are connected by the Snowden railroad bridge.  

Back in "the day," The Nohly/Snowden Bridge  Snowden Bridge ferry about to go out of business in this Throwback Thursday.

About to go out of business. This ferry would lose its business in a few years when the deck of the railroad bridge was improved to add automobile traffic.


Read the signs. Or Else.

If you think it may have been a bit frightening and dangerous to try to cross a long bridge when a train could be coming — you’re right.  But, signs were posted to let you know you were right to be a bit fearful. 

Throwback Thursday,  Back in "the day," The Nohly/Snowden Bridge

Take it easy, going across this bridge…you might end up making a fast reversal.

We’ve explored this area, looking for reminders of the past.  Both this bridge and the Fairview Bridge are fascinating structures designed to lift millions of pounds of steel to let steamboats pass underneath.  This bridge, the Snowden Lift Bridge is between Nohly and Snowden, two long gone towns. It is not open to public access, unlike the Fairview Lift Bridge which is a tourist attraction.  On the north side, the Snowden and Mondak side are the remnants of a warning sign.

Back in "the day," The Nohly/Snowden Bridge  A warning sign

A warning sign in the trees and brush on the north end of the Snowden Bridge warns drivers and pedestrians to be aware of the danger of trains.

You can visit the Snowden Bridge from the north, just off the highway, along the gravel road that goes under the bridge along the Missouri River.

Meanwhile at Fairview

Thank goodness for modern technology.  A few miles away, over the Yellowstone River, drivers had an equally tense time crossing the river on the Fairview Lift Bridge.  Alexander Graham Bell would be pleased to know his telephone invention was used to make the crossing safe for vehicles when they could have otherwise battled it out over the Yellowstone River on the Fairview Bridge.

Back in "the day," The Nohly/Snowden Bridge

Before the phone was installed, people had to hey, stop, what’s the sound…and hope it wasn’t a train headed straight for them.


But wait! There’s more!

Here’s what it looks like when you drive up to the Snowden Bridge..a short video with spots on the windshield — free. No charge for spots:

YouTube player

Read more about the Snowden Lift Bridge here. 

Read more about the Fairview Lift Bridge here.

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