Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lake Bemidji Overlook Walls

Bemidji, MN
Minnesota Highway 197

This roadside structure site has features from 1937 to 2004. It is located at the southwest corner of Lake Bemidji and consists of three overlook walls, a fishing pier, a bridge and a fence. The overlook walls date to 1937 and were constructed by the Minnesota Highway Department (now Mn DOT). The pier was built in 1985 collaboratively by the City of Bemidji, Mn DOT and Mn DNR. The bridge, built 2003, is on the northbound lane of Mn 197 at the Mississippi River. The fence runs along the southern shore of the lake and has 5 overlook bays that jut toward the lake. Built by Mn DOT 2004.

The back of the stone overlook walls
The overlook wall from the walkway along Mn 197

The fishing pier

Bridge 04022 over the Mississippi River

State Proj. No. 0416-27 (TH 197 = 72)

The steel fence and bay

Bridge 04022 and the fishing pier

A December 31, 1937 article in the Bemidji Sentinel noted the work “gives Bemidji one of the most attractive highway entrances to any city in Minnesota.” ¹

Third overlook wall (across from Ace Hardware)

Nearby is the historic Nymore Bridge which spans the Mississippi River on Old Midway Drive. The bridge is an example of a barrel-vault, reinforced concrete bridge.

The Nymore Bridge over the Mississippi River

Also nearby are the Paul and Babe statues, on the Time Magazine's list of the Top 50 American Roadside Attractions.

Paul and Babe, Paul Bunyan Park

¹  Susan Granger, Scott Kelly, and Kay Grossman. (1998, December). Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways. Minnesota Department of Transportation.