Mystery Bridge Nr. 163: A Stone Arch Bridge in Winona?

Provided by Alex T. Dettman/ Negative converted by Chester Gehman, used with permission

Our first mystery bridge of 2022 takes us to Minnesota. A negative photo was brought to the attention at recently by Alex Dettmann, a resident of Minneapolis. It features a stone arch bridge of about 20 feet long, and according to the writing, the bridge was located on Mankato Avenue and was built by Fred H. Pickles. It took some Google Research to determine that Mankato Avenue was located in Winona, though he wasn’t sure that it was the right address because the present-day avenue ended at the riverside. The negative came from a collection dating between 1910 and 1920.


As soon as it was presented, a postcard with an arch bridge similar to this was found and posted on the same website by fellow pontist Luke Harden. According to information, it was located near Lake Winona, spanning Gilmore Creek. If the Mankato Avenue picture is correct, the bridge was located at the tip of the lake on the east end. Chances are likely because of only a couple crossings that exist over Gilmore Creek that the arch bridge at Mankato Avenue does indeed match.

In either case, we’re looking for information about the person responsible for building the stone arch bridge in Winona, Mr. Pickles. Most stone arch bridges in Minnesota were built between 1880 and 1900, including the famous Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. What we would like to know is when this bridge was built, what type of stone was used for the crossing and from which quarry. Because Mankato Avenue has become a major throughway, it’s unlikely that the bridge no longer exists. However, even if it was replaced, when did this take place.

You can provide this information under this link in with comments and additional photos.


Should there be any questions, contact Jason Smith here at the Chronicles who can help you.

Happy Bridgehunting folks and have a great start in 2022!



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3 thoughts on “Mystery Bridge Nr. 163: A Stone Arch Bridge in Winona?

  1. I located an item in the Winona Daily Republican, Apr 25, 1894, that indicated the stone arch bridge on Mankato avenue was constructed a year previous, with the provision for placing a gate on the lower side of the opening in case of high water. Engineer Pickles deployed a force of men to begin the gate. I am digitally clipping a couple of items related and will contact you regarding sending them if you want.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Winona City Council awarded the Mankato Avenue bridge contract 12/24/1892 to Thos. H. Botham for $1,470. Apparently, flooding was a major issue for the Mankato Avenue bridge from the beginning. The embankment and bridge were damaged in 1897. Pickles recommended redirecting waters from Gilmore Valley creek and Rollingstone creeks as well, which was proposed to cost in the area of $5,000-10,000. He also recommended building a dyke to separate river and creek flow. Pickles recommended a better gate at Mankato Avenue, an sheeting the base of the bridge to prevent wash-under damage, but with a better plan to build a bridge and gate at the Milwaukee trestle. In 1904, the deepening of the outlet ditch from Lake Winona was begun “at the lower end of the lake, under the stone arch bridge on Mankato Avenue. At least as late as 1904 the Mankato Bridge was still extant. I will keep digging and see if there is anything else I can locate on its demise.


  3. Final information about the Mankato bridge is that in March 1938, the City Council approved the plan to change the junction of highway 61 and Mankato avenue. The demolition of the old stone arch bridge was approve and the culverts were to be topped by a five-inch roadway of concrete. There were two quarries listed for Winona in the 1890s, Biesanz and Stockton Bluff. Stockton Bluff advertised for bridge building.


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