September 30, 1917: “Snively Highway”—aka Seven Bridges Road—is completed

On this day in Duluth in 1917, a headline in the Duluth News Tribune shouted “Snively Highway Through Park Is Completed,” but it was actually the reconstruction of the roads which Samuel F. Snively first envisioned in 1899. By 1910, with money and land he and his neighbors had donated, the road was complete, and ten wooden rustic bridges crossed Amity Creek as it wove through Amity Park and Jeanette Pollay Park. Snively then gave the road to the parks board, which drew up plans for its reconstruction that included nine concrete bridges faced with stone. Snively and his friend Mayor C. R. Magney took the first automobile over the seven mile stretch, which crossed the Amity River nine times. We know the road today as Seven Bridges Road, although if you take the drive from Superior Street to Skyline Parkway, you will cross over eight: Two of the original nine bridges were abandoned after Skyline Parkway was completed in 1929, and a newer bridge near Superior Street is not considered part of Mr. Snively’s Road. The 1917 bridges, damaged by misuse and neglect, were restored in the 1990s. Read more about Seven Bridges Road and Skyline Parkway here.

An unidentified woman drives a horse and carriage over one of the rustic bridges along Snively Boulevard, ca. 1909. Today the drive is known as Seven Bridges Road. (Image: Tom Kasper)