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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Ninth Street Bridge Construction – 1979

By its very nature, bridge construction is often controversial. In the mid-1930s, many northern Californians were opposed to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Some said it would be aesthetically offensive and resemble an “upside down rat trap.” They were wrong. In the 1970s, many Durangoans objected to the construction of the Ninth Street Bridge. One guest editorial in The Durango Herald said the neighborhoods to the north and west “could be destroyed” by the added traffic. Commercial rezoning would occur, with destruction of the neighborhood being “inevitable.” Both were incorrect as well. Public comment and funding initiatives started in 1974 and construction began in late 1978. In 1982, Mayor Ira Plotkin successfully pushed for the city to dedicate the bridge to longtime Durango business owners and public benefactors, Lester “Bus” and Hazel Gardenswartz. In recognition of their long involvement in the local Jewish community, the dedication plaque includes both English and Hebrew. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum (Courtesy of La Plata County Historical Society)