Wax Eloquently

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A Bridge to the Early 20th Century

July 24th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Back in March I received some pretty mind-blowing news. I had just sat down at my desk after a nice lunch when I saw an e-mail from my mother-in-law.

She was too excited for a subject line.

The e-mail contained an attachment and four words: “I had no idea!!”

The attachment was a few paragraphs with a map and an aerial photo.

I started at the top:

Ok, nothing too thrilling there. Rivers are cool, but not double-exclamation points cool. Let’s read further down:

Wait, what was that?

. . .

. . .

I had no idea!!

Naturally we had to go and visit. A quick check of calendars showed that mid-May would be best. I mapped out the 3-4 hour drive:

The Forest Service shared that the bridge was named after an early settler to the area (named Tom Music) who staked a claim on National Forest land offered by the National Forest Homestead Act. The original bridge was washed out in flooding in the late 90s, and then rebuilt to be the longest single-girder bridge in the Pacific Northwest!

Before we left, we wondered: would we be able to find it? Would there be a sign with the name of the bridge?

Just in case the current signage was inadequate, I made my own:

We packed our SUVs with survival gear and CB radios. After all, these were going to be Forest Service roads, not smooth new highways.

Turns out that those aren’t mutually exclusive. Nice roads.

As we made our last turn we drove into a clearing and over a river. And then right back into the forest. My voice crackled over the CB radio: “I think that was it, you guys.”

We found the bridge.

The sun was shining, and the nice breeze was in the air. Perfect for taking a bunch of pictures, and then grabbing a picnic.

When we got home, I scoured the web for more information on the Other Tom Music. No amount of Google-kata seemed to help.

Then, while cleaning my office, I found my long-forgotten library card. Of course! The library! They have information!

A couple hours, and a ton of genealogical research later, I found out that I am the 6th cousin (twice-removed) of the Other Tom Music. So I’m related to the bridge!

In the end, there was no sign at the bridge. No picture of the bridge’s namesake. No Tom Music Historical Interpretive Center. But as I sat under the shade of the bridge listening to the water, it was clear that this was a place that would do fine without a sign.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott Robinson // Jul 24, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    My name is Scott, and I approve of this blog post.

  • 2 Joël Franusic // Jul 31, 2008 at 9:39 am

    My name is Joël, and I approve of this blog post.

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