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Catalog Number WF 2319
Caption Swinomish Draw Bridge
Description Images WF 2317-2325 are of the new drawbridge over the Swinomish Slough, later known as the Swinomish Channel.This view looks southeast toward the bridge. See also WF 5414. WF 5415 is of the 1910 bridge.

Historically, the span over the Swinomish Channel was a source of friction between LaConner and Anacortes as both communities saw the bridge's location as an important factor in the respective economic health of their towns. A railroad span with a 150 foot draw was in place by 1890, when the construction of a new bridge was discussed at an 1890 conference held in Seattle. There, LaConner residents "vigorously" protested bridging the slough at all because it would "injure" their town, according to the 8-21-1990 ANACORTES AMERICAN. The 2-12-1891 issue reported that the Oregon Improvement Company was to start building a new steel railroad bridge across the Slough. It was to have a 320 foot draw to replace the existing 150 foot draw. The 6-25-1891 issue stated that the new bridge would take, "100 days to complete." By 1904 that bridge needed replacing. Once again competition between LaConner and Anacortes appeared, a controversy that would not be settled for at least three years. The 5-11-1905 paper reported that LaConner had organized a Chamber of Commerce whose primary objective was "the erection of a drawbridge across Swinomish Slough" and the creation of a "loop road" from LaConner, through the Swinomish Reservation, to Anacortes. The 9-14-1905 issue reported LaConner's desire to "move the bridge at Swinomish Slough to a more convenient place to accommodate the greatest number of settlers." The 1-10-1907 paper reported that LaConner merchants were "scheming" to put the new slough bridge in LaConner. The paper's opinion was that LaConner "should have a ferry," and the new bridge should go in at the old location because "3000 people" need a bridge there so they can come to Anacortes markets to trade.

Eventually, the new bridge was built at the north end of the Swinomish Channel at the old location, and LaConner finally got its bridge, the Morris Street Bridge, across the channel in October 1915. By the late 1920s, a new bridge was again needed over the north end of the Slough. At the December1929 meeting of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, the new bridge was discussed and the paper reported that "construction would likely be started next month ... Hope was expressed that dangerous approach and bridge curves of present structure would be eliminated in the new bridge. Wallie V. Funk (Sr.) suggested that the present bridge be left intact until new one is completed inasmuch as it is our main connection with the mainland and is also a regular state highway. Mr. Funk also pointed out dangers of the amazing curves in the old structure as well as a curve at each approach, making it the most zigzaggarish of bridges." The old bridge was level with the water, with an opening for boat traffic that swung in the middle to allow boats to pass; the "new bridge" was the one shown in WF 2317. Its middle span rose to allow boat traffic through and was completed c. 1937. It is unknown if it lasted until 1972 when the new south span of the Duane Berentson Bridge was constructed. The north span of the Duane Berentson Bridge was built in 1981.
Date 1937 c.
Photographer BRADY, Ferd
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Place - Fidalgo Island
Transportation - Land
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Swinomish Slough drawbridge
Search Terms Swinomish Slough
Swinomish Channel
Oregon Improvement Company
Morris Street Bridge
Object Name Negative