The Historic Stone Bridge at Grand Portage National Monument

Historic black and white photo of stonework supporting a bridge
Stonework on the northwest bank

NPS photo

The Stone Bridge is a representative example of the rustic aesthetic that characterized both National Park Service and Civilian Conservation Corps construction projects. The single-span Stone Bridge crosses Grand Portage Creek and provides important access to the nearby Grand Portage Band school and community buildings. This bridge is heavily used by residents as it provides a vital link between the two portions of the Grand Portage community. The bridge is a highly significant landmark within the community, serving as not only a vital transportation link but also a community symbol, evidenced in the Grand Portage Band performing group named the "Stone Bridge Singers."

The Stone Bridge is significant for its association with the Civilian Conservation Corps-Indian Division (CCC-ID). Minnesota Chippewa enrolled in CCC-ID camps throughout the state, including the one at Grand Portage, which was established in 1936. Grand Portage camp enrollees participated in numerous projects, including the construction of this span. Although the CCC-ID seem to have generally constructed timber stringer spans, this one was built with ARMCO multi-plate arches and native stone to create a rustic structure based on examples from the National Park Service's 1935 Park Structures and Facilities design book. The bridge's location on the route accessing the Grand Portage band's community facilities has made it an important community landmark since its completion in 1938. In addition, this may be the only CCC-ID-built bridge remaining in the state of Minnesota. the bridge is a remarkably intact structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps Indian Division and retains a high degree of integrity. The design may have been due to the bridge's proximity to the former North West Company fur trading post and the Grand Portage trail, where the Minnesota Historical Society was focusing its efforts on preserving and interpreting the history of the fur trade.

Excerpted from the HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

Contemporary View of the Stone Bridge with snow
The bridge in winter

NPS photo/B. Clayton

Grand Portage National Monument

Last updated: March 24, 2022