July 1, 1929: Duluth’s Aerial Transfer Bridge makes final crossing

On this day in Duluth in 1929, the gondola car of Duluth’s Aerial Transfer Bridge crossed the Duluth Ship Canal for the last time. Under the banner headline “Noted Aerial Bridge Passes into History,” The Duluth News-Tribune reported on the crossing: “With its battered old warning bell tolling, the whistle of the Park Point street car bleating mournful accompaniment and ships tooting, the ferry car of the famous Duluth aerial bridge made the last trip of its career of twenty-four years at 8:45 a.m. today, with city officials, pioneers and a crowd of interested citizens as passengers. Tears stood in the eyes of James Murray, veteran bridge car operator, selected to pilot it on its last voyage.” Murray had been joined on the final trip by fellow operators William Maynard, Urban Nehring, Frank Lampert, and Leonard Green, the first and only superintendent of the transfer bridge. Other dignitaries aboard included Duluth pioneers Richard Thompson, J. D. Campbell, and Henry Van Brunt, who were part of the first test trip in February 1905; city officials Mayor Snively, commissioners Chris Evans and Phillip Phillips, and police chief E. H. Barber; Mrs. E. H. Borth, who was the first woman to cross in the ferry bridge back in 1905; and Ann Murray, who reportedly rode the ferry bridge more times than any other person outside of an operator. Learn much more about Duluth’s Aerial Transfer Bridge, predecessor to today’s Aerial Lift Bridge, here, here, and here.

Duluth’s Aerial Transfer Bridge’s gondola car ca. 1907. (Image: Lake Superior Maritime Collection)