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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Read more about the Snowden Lift Bridge here.
Read more about the Fairview Lift Bridge here.
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We had to call on the phone when I was small. I have memories of Mr or Mrs Lane would be at the booth on the Snowden side.
Someone older than me can give more information.
Sonja jacobson Tomalino
Wow. You have experiences that few people have or can imagine! Thanks for sharing. That had to be quite impressive and is etched in your mind. Do you have photographs?
No photos of the booth, that I am aware of. Many of my parent’s photos were lost or destroyed. If someone else in the community has any photos, I hope they will share.
That would be exciting to find such images. Once in a while, we strike gold. Thanks for your help, Sonja!
I remember my dad driving across and meeting the train , backing the car up to let the train pass. That was scary.
Wow. That would be scary. I can’t imagine anything like that.