We have a birthday to celebrate! On March 23rd 1912, construction was completed on the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge (aka “No Hands Bridge”). With it being the last River crossing for the Tevis Cup 100 Miles in One Day Ride and the Western States 100 Mile Run, notoriety has been restored by these world-class athletic events. Originally it was built as part of a 7 mile railroad by Pacific Portland Cement, connecting the limestone quarry in Cool with the Southern Pacific Railroad in Auburn.
John B. Leonard designed and engineered the bridge, incorporating the capacity of reinforced concrete to strengthen as it ages and cures. The Quarry Railroad operated over the bridge until 1940; soon after the tracks were removed to provide steel used in the war effort. The bridge is now part of the Western States Pioneer Express Recreation Trail in the Auburn State Recreation Area and was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
The centennial celebration, currently underway, will continue through September 29th; at which time Engine 202 will be temporarily placed on the bridge during the final day of commemoration. A monthly electronic slide presentation, the Mountain Quarries Railroad 100 Years, will be exhibited at these locations:
April 5th: Placer County Historical Society in Memorial Hall, Auburn
April 20th: Placer County Library
May 1st: Canyon View Community Center, hosted by Canyon Keepers
June 20th: Confluence Festival at Auburn Overlook
August 15th: Cool will host a presentation at American River Pizza & Grill
A new interpretive walk and signage will be located near the bridge. It took 100’s of workers to complete the bridge, many of whom have descendants remaining in our nearby communities. Happy Birthday!