I always enjoy driving across the Healdsburg’s Memorial Bridge as I come into town. Even though I live on the north end of Healdsburg, I sometimes exit highway 101 two stops early just to drive across the bridge and see what’s happening in town. The bridge is both an historic landmark and a gateway into town for those heading north. Starting this summer, the first phase of construction will begin to rehabilitate the historic 1921 bridge. I’m happy that the bridge is going to be saved since there was so much talk about replacing it.
What I remember most about this bridge happened about 10 years ago when a powerful, wet storm blew in over the course of several days. One day in particular the rain was coming down in cats, dogs, even horses. We had heard through the grapevine that the Russian River had reached flood stage in Healdsburg and it had exceeded its banks in some areas on the south end of town. When the rain abruptly ended, I suggested to my wife Marilyn that we take a drive down to Memorial Bridge and check out the water level around the bridge. When we got there the river was so high that it was just a few feet from the bottom of the bridge. There was a line of cars driving across and checking out the raging Russian River along with us. We drove over, with our fingers crossed along with everyone else. But the bridge held strong and I feel certain it will carry us across the river for many storms into the future.
****The Healdsburg Museum’s curator, Holly Hoods contacted me about adding this painting to the Memorial Bridge exhibit at the Healdsburg Museum. I said yes, of course. But I did have to pull the painting out of my sketchbook (thankfully it was spiral bound) which I don’t normally like to do, and then framed it. This show will be up through August 14, 2011. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am – 4 pm. 221 Matheson Street, Healdsburg.