Officials from Galena, Kansas, and the neighboring states of Oklahoma and Missouri attended a ceremony Saturday to mark the restoration of the historic Front Street Bridge in Galena
Work on the bridge was finished in early July. Cherokee County received a Community Development Block Grant last year for the repairs, and the county covered the other half of the $387,000 project.
Work began in April. The Front Street Bridge, built in the 1920s, is the oldest still maintained by the county. Not only did the bridge serve as Route 66 for many years, it was a key link to local lead and zinc mines.
The bridge’s pillars and support structure also were repaired in 2010, partly with a grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.
The dedication event also featured classic cars, food trucks, live music and fireworks.
According to an Associated Press article before the dedication, the top of the bridge was repaved with a sand finish to resemble the bridge’s original color. Waste from lead and zinc mines was used in the original roadbed.
Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby said the bridge was “the best project since we did downtown” — referring to beautification efforts in Galena’s Main Street, aka old Route 66, a few years ago.
The Front Street Bridge, also called the Galena Viaduct, sits just a short distance from Cars on the Route and Galena’s downtown. Cars on the Route features Tow Tater, a 1951 International boom truck that served as the direct inspiration of Tow Mater in Disney-Pixar’s “Cars” films. Other elements in Galena, such as faded advertisement on a brick wall on Main Street, also inspired the Pixar crew.
(Images from the dedication ceremony courtesy of Renee Charles)