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Gassman Coulee Trestle

Ward County

Our May 2010 trip took us through Minot, so we stopped to take some photos of this — the Gassman Coulee Trestle in Trestle Valley, just outside of town.

The bridge is 1792 feet long and 117 feet tall at its highest point. When a train crosses, you can hear the rumble miles away.

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Gassman Coulee Trestle

The Sheyenne River Bridge near Karnak is one step larger than this bridge.

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Gassman Coulee Trestle

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Trestle Valley Lodge

Years ago, there was a ski resort in this valley called the Trestle Valley Ski Resort and this was the lodge. ¬†We’re told it is now a home. If you have any photos of the Trestle Valley ski resort, we’d love to see them. ¬†Please contact us.

Trestle photos by Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Comments
30 Responses to “Gassman Coulee Trestle”
  1. Jennifer Toso-Kenna says:

    Very awesome pictures! I had no idea that this bridge exhisted. Does anyone know which is longer/higher–this or the Hi-Line bridge in Valley City?

  2. Bob Williams says:

    I grew up in Minot… I used to bike out to the trestle, and, back in the 1960′s I could hit to top of the trestle with a rock from the gravel road at the bottom (not when trains were going over it). It is a beautiful structure! Great photos – Thanks!

  3. patty wong says:

    Trestle Valley, Part of growing up in Minot!! Awesome landmark!

  4. Jeff says:

    I live not far from this trestle. I know people that live in the valley. I went to high school with some of them. I also used to go to City of Minot picnics up in there with my father. There used to be the resort lodge up in there and you could see where the lift used to be. You could also see where the road up to the lodge used to cross the deep ditch up in there, there was a large culvert that had pretty much come uncovered and the road was not passable. Upon riding through there a couple years ago on my motorcycle I noticed the lodge was gone and is now someones back yard. I hadn’t gotten into the exploration of ghost towns and abandoned places at the time when the lodge still stood, so unfortunately I have no pictures of any of the stuff.

    • Jeff says:

      Ok first off I’d like to apologize for my misinformation in the previous post. I just took a ride over to Trestle Valley. Turns out last time I thought it was gone, I had not gone quite far enough. This time I took County Road 12 all the way back to the Ward County Law Enforcement Training Center. The lodge is still back there! Someone had converted it into a house. They have Trestle Valley in white right on the front of it. Also on top of the hill there is a small building next to where you can still see where the trees have been removed for the run and lift. I didn’t have any camera equipment along as I was just going to see if you could still see the lift area and I was amazed to see the lodge. so maybe I will pop over there again tomorrow after work and grab a couple pictures.

      • Jeff, that would be awesome! We were hoping there might be an old rusty lift chair to photograph, but if not, we’d love to see whatever photos you get. –troy

      • Jeff says:

        I doubt there are any old lift chairs or anything like that left if I remember correctly. I don’t know how close I can get either with the Ward County Law Enforcement Training Center down in there. They have their range and such in the valley. I’ll see what I can get….

        One more thing, I spoke with my father tonight and this trestle was originally built of wood and burnt down. I looked around online and I see there are claims it blew down. I’m not sure which is true, I do tend to believe my father of course.

      • Jill says:

        The bridge went down from a Tornado. I have lived here 42 years and grewup listening to the stories.

      • Cliff Richards says:

        I used to teach skiing at Trestle Valley in the ’70′s (1975 – 1978) while in the Air Force stationed at Minot AFB. There was one T-bar and one poma lift, no chairs. I recently Googled to see if I could find where the ski area used to be and thought I found it. Thanks, Jeff, for clarifying that the old lodge is still there because I thought I had found it on Google Earth Street Level…sure looked like the old lodge converted into a house. Your note pretty much confirms that I was indeed looking at the lodge and ski area.

  5. Marie Lewis says:

    During WWII this bridge was a vital link and Military guards were posted at each end of the trestle, to prevent sabotage. Troop trains as well as military equipment were shuttled across the nation during the war effort.

    Minot State College also trained Navy personnel (I am sure they were not on ships, lol). Our neighbor’s daughter met her future husband while he was training there. I am sure one of your viewers can remember what the trainees were called. I’m having a senior moment and can’t recall the name. By the way Minot State College is now Minot State University.

  6. Jeff says:

    Hey guys, I went over there again on Friday. It is all clear posted property thanks to the training centergun range down there. I only took 3 pictures from the road. They are posted here:

  7. Sean C. says:

    When I was in history class in the late 1990′s i read in the books that trestle valley bridge did in fact used to be all wooden. There was a thunderstorm that produced an F-4 tornado as recorded and wiped out the bridge costing millions of dollars of undelivered goods and freight. This is why the bridge is made of high grade steel and each rung is anchored 30 feet into the ground to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The projects total bill was 4.83 million including clean up!

  8. Julie Johnson King says:

    Hi was just reading all the great info and while I don’t have dates I can probably get them. My dad helped construct the footings of the bridge before I was born in 1965 not sure of the year but there was a collapse and my dad and others were buried alive, again all I remember him telling me was it was before he and my mom married and none of us kids would have happened if not for the efforts of the crew to dig them out, I believe he told me one man died, he would have also but he was lucky enough that his hard hat slipped over his face during the dirt falling in on him and he had an air pocket. He suffered horrible back injuries and had surgeries to try and relieve the pain over the years but it was constant, that was from being squeezed by the dirt while he was in it. I went to school in Harrison township and drove under that bridge everyday, twice a day on the way to school. The ski resort was a big deal and I remember driving by it, it did indeed have ski lift chair but they were taken out when it closed, I want to say the Maragos family in Minot owned it but I could be wrong.

  9. Dick Young says:

    I went skiing at Trestle Valley when I was stationed at the base in the ’70s. I don’t remember if they had chair lifts – because of the low terrain, I’m guessing it was T-bars or Pomas. I do remember that we needed to be able to stop pretty quickly, because the lodge was right up against the lower part of the runs.

    The couple who founded the ski area were friends of mine in the missile wing. I since found out that the ski area put them into bankruptcy, which was a shame.

    • Dave Zodrow says:

      I was a ski instructor as well as a member of the national ski patrol at trestle valley. We enjoyed many great times out there. The only lifts we had were a T-Bar and a pomma lift. We did have a chair lift out there but it was only two chairs suspended between two telephone poles and we used it for training for chairlift evacuation for when we skied at other areas that used chairlifts. One of my favorite memories was on a full moon evening watching Amtrak heading up the tracks across the valley!

  10. Dick Young says:

    Oops, just saw the previous post confirming that there WAS a chair lift.

    The founders of the area were Rodgers and Melinda Bickerstaff. I met them when Rodge was in the missile wing. They started up the ski area after Rodge left the USAF in the mid-’70s.

  11. Jim says:

    This bridge is featured in the 1080p Blu-ray “HD TRAINS Steam Giants” by Topics. A very nice hi-res set of four disks featuring steam engines. I found it at Walmart for $15.

  12. Rodney Farva says:

    That looks so much better than my 2-hr commute into Boston. I love abandoned stuff.

    • Marilyn says:

      It’s not abandoned. This bridge is used daily by the Burlington Northern – Santa Fe train and Amtrak.

  13. Dee says:

    I used to ski out here.. the lodge building is still there. It looks kind of small now. I was just out there a couple weeks ago.

  14. Phil Reinemann says:

    My son drove me out there, from the south one moon-lit night. Coming around the corner and seeing it, then driving under it was almost forbiddingly scary, but so cool. The shadow of the bridge in the moonlight was fantastic, and its shear size made it something to really take in an appreciate. I guess the locals call it Train Trestle Bridge, or at least, that’s what my son called it. (Perhaps students at the U’ don’t know its real name.)

    We went out there with “mom” some time later, during the day, and it’s just as impressive, and we got to see the north-bound Empire Builder go over it.

  15. Shelly Ganje says:

    I skied for the first time at Trestle Valley. I remember running into the hay bales that were placed right at the bottom of the hill in front of the lodge.

  16. Marilyn says:

    This is directly across from a house we used to live in. That bridge is the Burlington Northern trestle. That’s what we called it. Train goes over this daily.

  17. John R Meier says:

    When I was on the Police Force at Minot in the 60′s and 70′s I remember driving under this trestle to get to the Police Department Shooting Range. The Ski Lodge was in the same are as I can recall.

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