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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Deer Pen Bridge
Minnehaha Creek Footbridge Crossing
Minneapolis, MN

Deer Pen Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 93831.
• Location: 0.1 Miles Downstream Of Falls.
• River Elevation: 730 Feet.
• Structure Type: Pedestrian Bridge.
• Construction: Concrete Arch.
• Length: 56 Feet.
• Width: 9 Feet.
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet.
• Date Built: Built 1939, Rebuilt 1995.
The Lower Glen is the area downstream of the Minnehaha Falls where the Minnehaha Creek tumbles its final 58 feet down to the Mississippi River. The glen is an old Mississippi River channel that was abandoned, and later filled in to cover the rocks and cliffs. There are four footbridges that cross the glen, plus a fifth that crosses the creek in the gorge below the falls.

This bridge is the Deer Pen Bridge. It is the 4th footbridge when heading upstream from the confluence of the creek and the river. It is the fifth bridge overall to cross the creek. It sits in a very scenic location where the creek transitions from a deep gorge just downstream of the Minnehaha Falls and into the Lower Glen. The bridge is named after a deer pen that was once located just north of the bridge when the Lower Glen was the home of a petting zoo and wildlife park. The Deer Pen Bridge is a very popular location for local photographers. I saw a steady stream of family groups coming to the bridge to take both individual and family photos. I also saw a wedding party heading to the bridge as I was leaving the site.

Much of the improvements to the Minnehaha Creek within Minnehaha Park date back to depression-era public works projects. Those projects, such as the walls along the creek, were badly in need of repair. The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District teamed up with the US Army Corps of Engineers in the fall of 2008 to repair walls and stabilize the creek banks. That partnership ran into a problem in 2009. The Corps of Engineers charge that the Watershed District was carelessly damaging a historical site. The Watershed District countercharged that the Corps of Engineers was damaging the creek with excessive dredging and had built a very ugly concrete wall. As of early 2010, the dispute continues, and both sides are spending the limited project funds on legal fees. Meanwhile, the gorge area between the Lower Falls Bridge and the Deer Pen Bridge remain blocked off by chain link fence.

The photo above is the upstream west face of the Deer Pen Bridge as seen from the south bank of the creek. It is interesting that there are still some trees with green leaves despite the leaves having long since fallen from most trees.

Deer Pen Bridge
The photo above is the upstream east face of the Deer Pen Bridge as seen from the north bank of the creek. The photo below is is looking south down the length of the bridge from the north bank of the creek. The chain link fence is blocking visitors from a section of the gorge located below the falls where the trails are being reconstructed.

Deer Pen Bridge

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