115-year-old Pedestrian Bridge Has a New Name
The first bridge to transport cars across the Columbia River was built in 1908 - bridging Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. This bridge known for many decades, as - the Pedestrian Bridge.
Last week, the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center announced that the 115-year-old bridge was given a new name: The W.T. Clark Pipeline Bridge.
The new name of the Pedestrian Bridge honors Clark, who built the area’s irrigation system and the black steel bridge that carried the pipes across the Columbia River.
Who was W.T. Clark?
Before we answer that - Let's go back to the year 1892. This was the year that Wenatchee town planners voiced a desire to bring water into the Wenatchee Valley from snow melt in the Enchantments. This idea didn’t become a reality until the early 1900s - when W.T. Clark was summoned to help make the dream of a 34-mile canal - a reality.
‘In the fall of 1901, local ranchers, merchants, and landowners contacted William T. (W.T.) Clark, builder of the Selah and Moxee canal near Yakima, to consider such a project. The ranchers, merchants, and landowners who would benefit from water from a canal system financed the study. Clark and engineer Marvin Chase studied the canal project and declared the project feasible.’ -Wenatchee Reclamation District
The building of the 34-mile Highline Canal
- 1902: W.T. Clark was granted water rights and the right to divert water from the Wenatchee River.
- 1903: Construction of the ditch between Dryden and Wenatchee completed.
- September 1903: A pipeline took the canal water over the Wenatchee River to Wenatchee.
- 1903 - 1908, vital funding and the construction of the Pedestrian Bridge - took cars across the statewide “Sunset Highway” and irrigation water across the Columbia River.
- 1915, W.T. Clark helped the change over from the Wenatchee Canal Company to the Wenatchee Reclamation District. The change included the purchasing of the water rights and any land used in the footprint of the irrigation canal. The WRD (the Wenatchee Reclamation District has maintained this important waterway for more than 100 years.
INFO SOURCE: Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, Wenatchee Reclamation District
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Gallery Credit: Paul Drake