Lewiston-Clarkston Bridge over the Snake River opens as a free bridge on December 4, 1913.

  • By Alyssa Burrows
  • Posted 1/19/2005
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7215
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On December 4, 1913, the Lewiston-Clarkston Bridge across the Snake River opens as a free bridge. The steel bridge connects Clarkston, Washington (in Asotin County) and Lewiston, Idaho.  It had been a privately owned toll bridge, built in 1899, and operated by the Lewiston-Concord Bridge Company.

The Washington State Legislature had authorized the Washington Highway Board to issue bonds to pay the company for half of the bridge’s purchase, with Idaho paying the other half, but the Washington Attorney General declared the proposed bond issue illegal. Asotin County completed the purchase with Idaho.

The Highway Board authorized funds to maintain the bridge as part of the state’s Inland Empire Highway, which runs from Dayton, Washington, to the Clarkston-Lewiston Bridge -- now U.S. Route 12.

Governor Ernest Lister (1870-1919) formally visited Asotin, Asotin County, for the first time on December 5, 1913. He spoke briefly of the bridge’s opening, good roads, and his plan to use convicts for labor in road building. He assured residents that the state would look after the maintenance of the Washington share of the Lewiston-Clarkston bridge.

The states of Idaho and Washington maintained this steel bridge until the mid-1930s, when it was replaced by a four-lane highway bridge.


Report of the State Highway Department for the Period October 1, 1912, to October 1, 1914, (Olympia: Washington Highway Department, 1914), 74-78 ; “Lister at Clarkston, Asotin,” The Spokesman Review, December 6, 1913, p. 11; Washington State University Libraries Special Collections Finding Aid to Lewiston-Clarkston Improvement Company Records, 1888-1963, WSU Special Collections website accessed on March 17, 2005 (http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/holland/ masc/finders/cg311.htm).
Note: This file was updated on March 17, 2005.

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