Clay's Swinging Bridge

Clay's Swinging Bridge (HM28UC)

Location: Riggins, ID 83549 Idaho County
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Country: United States of America
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N 45° 25.254', W 116° 18.93'

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Getting to the Flat Across the Salmon River

—Salmon River Heritage Waking Tour —

Early settler Charlie Clay, who operated a sheep ranch at Berg Creek, needed a better way to get his sheep across the river to the shearing plant located at the confluence of the Little Salmon and Salmon rivers. If the weather was bad or he felt under the weather, "Old Man" Badger, the area's only ferry operator, was often unreliable. Clay, true to his pioneering spirit, clearly saw that a bridge was needed, and set out to build one. Used cable was purchased from an old mine tramway in Warren, and Clay dragged it to the river with horses. The cable was loaded on a raft and floated to Riggins, and the cable bridge across the Salmon River was built just north of Berger Street.
Clay eventually constructed a shearing plant and lambing sheds on the east side of the river after the bridge was completed in 1912. The Forest Service also helped maintain the bridge over the years. In 1956, high water undermined the piers and a floating tree caught the sagging bridge and took it out.
The Flat Across the River
Livestock operation, rodeo grounds, football field and airstrip From 1912 to 1956, the large flat across the river was accessible by Clay's cable bridge and the property had various and unique uses in addition to his livestock operation. In the late 1930s, Milt Carnefix briefly tried

his luck with a sawmill operation and parts of his abandoned steam machinery are still visible. The Barham family lived there, farming a portion of the flat for several years with remnants of their residence still standing. In the 1940s, it served as the first rodeo grounds.
In 1942, Frank Heath courageously braved the swinging bridge in his 1932 Model B touring car. Using the car to pull a springtooth harrow and with his team members' help, Frank cleared a football field. That fall, the first of many Riggins High School football games was played there.
In 1951, the State Aeronautical Board leased the site and excavated an emergency airstrip. It was abandoned in 1971.
HM NumberHM28UC
Placed ByCity of Riggins
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 at 10:03am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)11T E 553552 N 5029936
Decimal Degrees45.42090000, -116.31550000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 45° 25.254', W 116° 18.93'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds45° 25' 15.24" N, 116° 18' 55.8" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)208
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 318 Salmon Rd, Riggins ID 83549, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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