Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

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James P Sheehan

New Member
My mother always said that her Grandfather, Patrick Ervin, was a bridge tender on the Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi River here in Minneapolis. I recently got a chance to look at a vintage city directory and found his name and address and was able to confirm that he was employed as a bridge tender. My question for all is, what would a bridge tender do to occupy a full time job? This particular bridge has two pairs of tracks. Would he have shoveled snow in the winter? What else to justify his employment?


At the very least, he would probably be required to walk the bridge and approaches at least once a day, watch for any maintenance that needed to be done, and keep an eye on any traffic going under it. There would be more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head.

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