“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Yankton in Yankton County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Meridian Bridge Connects Continent from North to South

— Missouri National Recreational River —

Meridian Bridge Connects Continent from North to South Marker image. Click for full size.
July 18, 2021
1. Meridian Bridge Connects Continent from North to South Marker
Inscription.  The Meridian Bridge has been an icon of Yankton and the Missouri River for many years. With its completion in 1924, the permanent structure spanning the river replaced unreliable ferries and seasonal pontoons. It derives its name from the Meridian Highway which provided a direct north-south route along the Sixth Principal Meridian through the central United States connecting Winnipeg, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. This road, extending through six states, was later rerouted and renamed as U.S. Highway 81. Local Yankton business owners organized the Meridian Bridge Company to get the bridge project underway. Initially the double-decker toll bridge was built for two-way traffic on the upper level and trains below with a vertical lift section that could raise twenty-seven feet to allow river traffic to pass underneath. The railroad never was built leaving the lower and upper decks to carry one-way automobile traffic in later years.

The bridge survived several floods and maintained a safe passage from state to state regardless of river conditions. In 1953 the bridge was refurbished, and the tolls were removed; the lift mechanism was removed
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in 1983. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, and after being deemed unable to support modern highway traffic, it was replaced in 2008 by adjacent Discovery Bridge.

In 2011 the bridge was reopened as a pedestrian bridge linking Yankton's Riverside Park to hiking trails on the south bank below the bridge.

Lower left photos caption:
Early photos of the bridge portray the transportation it navigated both on the water and across it.
Below image: Flood of 1952

Lower right caption:
Bridge Facts

3,029 feet
18 feet
Rivets used
Initial toll
Steel construction
3,500 tons
Lift span
824 tons
Estimated cost
Lift span raised
27 feet
Credit: Abby Bischoff

Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsRoads & VehiclesWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1924.
Location. 42° 51.995′ N, 97° 23.642′ W. Marker is in Yankton, South Dakota, in Yankton County. Marker is on West Riverside Drive, 0.3 miles south of West
Meridian Bridge & Marker image. Click for full size.
July 18, 2021
2. Meridian Bridge & Marker
4th Street (State Highway 50). Located at the north side of the lower level of Meridian Bridge, by Water Works Area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Yankton SD 57078, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. William H. McMaster (here, next to this marker); USS Scorpion (SS-278) (within shouting distance of this marker); Crossroads of Culture (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Yankton: Territorial Capital (approx. 0.2 miles away); Flood of 1881 Leaves Lost Settlements in its Wake (approx. 0.2 miles away); Yankton Riverboats (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Intersection of Third & Walnut (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Dakota National Bank of Yankton (approx. Ό mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yankton.
Discovery Bridge & Meridian Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
July 18, 2021
3. Discovery Bridge & Meridian Bridge Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on July 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2021. This page has been viewed 110 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 24, 2021. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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May. 28, 2023