Colorado’s Fairgrounds Bridge is More Than a Historic Landmark
No beautiful day in Loveland should go without a walk around Old Fairgrounds Park: the river, the picnic area, the splash park for the kids and Fairgrounds Bridge.
I grew up in Loveland and now live in Downtown, very close to [Old] Fairgrounds Park. Recently, on a very nice afternoon, I went for a walk over to the park and walked along Fairgrounds Bridge. It is a very cool structure, and it's been in Loveland for over 100 years.
Fairgrounds Bridge connects the Barnes Softball Complex area to the southern part of Old Fairgrounds Park, which is really an amazing park. It has plenty of space for family fun including barbecues, a dog park, a skatepark, a fitness area, and the great river plaza.
I can only imagine how this bridge looked when it was used to travel across the Big Thompson River along 1st Street. Today, it's hard to imagine the street not looking like as it does (below.)
In 1970, they moved the old bridge to where it is now, and in 2007, it was placed on Loveland's Historic Landmark Register. I think it's great that it's the oldest bridge of its kind in Colorado that can still handle motorized vehicles passing over it.
You'll find older pictures of this bridge, back before they renovated the park. Those pictures make the bridge look old and lonely. Today, the Fairgrounds Bridge stands tall and proud, and gets plenty of use.
The commemorative plague is on the west side of the bridge:
Constructed in 1915 over the Big Thompson River at 1st Street, the bridge was relocated to the present location in 1970. The Pratt Through Truss Bridge was patented in 1844 by Caleb and Thomas Pratt and constructed by G.E. Washburn and Lowith Iron Works for $2,500*. The bridge is 98 feet long, 15 feet wide with medium span steel and features a timber plank deck. It is the oldest Pratt Through Truss Bridge in Colorado which is still capable of carrying vehicular traffic. The bridge has weathered major floods of the Big Thompson River. It was designated in 2007 to the Loveland Historic Landmark Register.
*In 2022 dollars, the bridge would have cost more than $72,350.
How many times have YOU walked across the bridge? Have you ever thought of all the Loveland citizens who've used it in its lifetime?