North Dakota Rediscovered: High Bridge
High Bridge – Walden, ND
People occasionally send us photos or postcards which inspire the imagination. This old postcard is one of those. High Bridge, in Walden, ND circa 1907.
Usually when we receive a photo like this, we’ll start asking questions. Why haven’t I heard of Walden? Is this bridge still there? What else is there? And those questions will turn into a research project, and perhaps an expedition.
Since we are now publishing with this blog format, this is the perfect opportunity to begin a new collaborative research project, with High Bridge in Walden as the first subject. The goal is to determine the location and condition of High Bridge. Does it still stand? If not, are there remains that can be photographed? Is it worthy of a trip to the site?
After some light research, here’s what we know. Walden was a loose cluster of farmsteads about six miles west of Page, thought to have been named for Thoreau’s Walden Pond. Walden was established in 1900 on the John Wodeson farm and a Great Northern Railroad station was built in 1912. Two grain elevators stood until 1975, when one was demolished. The second may also be gone.
Aerial photography of the site of Walden reveals little. Both Mapquest and Google Maps suggest any remains of Walden and High Bridge are long gone.
An internet search reveals a train accident which happened in Walden in 1948. There may be other references to Walden on the web, but they were not readily apparent after several hours of searching.
The next steps would be more internet searches, networking for anecdotal evidence, and canvassing document and map archives for clues. We will continue to research and report as we discover more, and please feel free to join us.
Thanks to our Facebook Fan Mary Donovan, it is now clear that this postcard was mislabeled as a North Dakota location when it was really a New York location. The High Bridge on Main Street in Walden, NY.
Mary submitted the following comments on our Fan Page.
It should be noted, another site visitor has emailed us to let us know this bridge is also listed incorrectly as a North Dakota location in Geneva Roth Olstad’s book “Main Street, North Dakota – Volume II” (coincidentally the same author who once wrote us an exceptionally nasty letter to say we had inaccuracies on our website).