By Mel Fechter
The black and white photos are of the old Walker Bridge when it spanned the Klamath River about 25 miles downriver from Interstate 5 from about 1930 until 1998.
I took the color photos of the Walker Bridge as it spanned the American River in Folsom, California. Since its inception, in 1893 the bridge has had an interesting journey Here is its story:
Many of us remember the old one lane "Walker" Bridge that spanned the Klamath River below the communities of Klamath River and Oak Knoll on Hwy 96 in Siskiyou County. The bridge crossed over the river connecting Hwy 96 and Walker Road, for almost 68 years before a new bridge was opened adjacent to it in 1997. In 1998 the old Walker Bridge was dismantled, moved and then re-erected at the exact location it left 68 years earlier, spanning the American River in Folsom, CA.
This 330 foot truss bridge was originally built across the American River in Folsom, CA in 1893 and was used for carrying horses, wagons and livestock across the river. At that time, some said it was the finest bridge in the country. For the first few years, there were few automobiles that needed to cross its narrow span. After the turn of the century, the need for a larger bridge for automobiles became evident. The Walker Bridge was abandoned in 1917 when a new bridge across the American River was opened.
The abandoned Walker Bridge originally was to be shipped to Japan. However, WWI intervened, and the bridge remained untouched until 1930. The bridge remained in place until the State of California bought it for $250 and moved it to Siskiyou County as a crossing on the Klamath River at Walker Road. From 1930 until 1998, it was known as Walker Bridge. When Siskiyou County decided they no longer needed the bridge in 1998, Folsom bought it back. The original 1893 bridge footings were still in place at the American River but they and the bridge were totally rebuilt and reinstalled. In April, 2000 it was reopened for public use as a bicycle and pedestrian bridge at the exact location where it was originally built, then left, in 1930. The bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
In recognition that its original design was not for automobiles, there is a sign on each end of the bridge which reads "$5 fine for driving over this bridge faster than a walk. $25 fine for driving more than 20 head of horses, 50 head of cattle or 200 sheep, hogs or goats over this bridge at one time."
The Walker Bridge has gone full circle and as the late great Paul Harvey used to say, "Now you know the rest of the story."
I obtained portions of the above information from www.myfolsom.com
Pennsylvania through truss bridge over Klamath River on Walker Bridge Connection Road
Replaced by new bridge, moved to new location
Built in Folsom, CA 1893, Moved to Siskiyou Co. 1932, Replaced and Moved 1997
The Walker Bridge is a 330' steel Pennsylvania Petit truss, built in 1893 in Folsom, Sacramento County, California and moved to this site by the California Division of Highways (predecessor to Caltrans) in 1931. (HAER CAL,47-KLAMR.V,1-)
Length of largest span: 330.1 ft. Total length: 373.0 ft. Deck width: 9.8 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Klamath River Bridge Walker Connection Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.83724, -122.86476 (decimal degrees) 41°50'14" N, 122°51'53" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
CA 02C-80 (California bridge number) BH 42423 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 10/1990)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9) Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9) Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9) Appraisal: Structurally deficient Sufficiency rating: 0.0 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 1990)