Afton State Park

If you’re in the #eastern #suburbs of #Minnesota, you probably already know about #AftonStatePark. If not, it’s a #beautiful, right off the #StCroixRiver (a #tributary of the #MississippiRiver) in #Hastings. Because it’s a #glacialmoraine its best features are #unique, Filled with glacial debris, it’s rugged and has a #vertical blufftop that drops 300 feet – which means it has a pretty great view. It’s a good place to spend the day whether you’re looking to #hike, #backpack, bike, have a #picnic, camp or hang out on the #beach (that’s kind of my thing). Also, Afton is a great place in the #winter as they have #crosscountryskiing and #snowshoeing. Interesting fact? They got quite a bit of press in 2011 when, while the State Parks were abandoned during the government shutdown, the park was vandalized and 12 people were taken into custody.

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Hastings High Bridge

Hastings BridgeHistory:

The Hastings High Bridge was a continuous steel through truss bridge that spanned the Mississippi River in Hastings, Minnesota, United States. It was built in 1951 and was designed by Sverdrup and Parcel, and was demolished in late 2013 when a new bridge opened. It had been scheduled to be torn down and replaced by MNDot in 2019,but after the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, it was re-prioritized and construction started in 2010.

When it was completed in 1951, the Hasting High Bridge replaced a spiral bridge that had been built in 1895. A spiral bridge was selected because local residents wanted the bridge to end in the downtown business district, rather than bypass it.

In order to make the bridge level, a spiral approach was built on the south end of the bridge. Drivers would get onto the bridge in downtown Hastings, make one complete circle on the spiral, and then cross the river. This bridge served the community well for many years, but towards the end of its lifespan it was rusted and could only support a 4-ton load. School buses filled with children were too heavy to make the trip, so the children had to walk across the bridge while the driver drove the empty bus across.

After the new bridge was built, the old bridge was given to the city, but they could not raise the necessary funds to maintain it. The old bridge was torn down, to the dismay of local residents who felt they had lost a city symbol.

A replica of the bridge has been built and can be seen at the Little Log House Pioneer Village south of Hastings.