MANKATO, Minn. - Take one of Southern Minnesota's most photographed landmarks, then picture it gone.
The iconic pedestrian bridge over the creek at Minneopa State Park is days from demolition. The 91-year-old landmark is coming apart, its concrete crumbling and its railings far too low by modern safety standards.
"It's time," says Scott Kudelka, Minneopa Area Naturalist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, while acknowledging the bridge's special place. "I think when people see that bridge they recognize it's the Minneopa Creek Falls."
The bridge and the falls below it have been a coveted setting for generations of artists and photographers. Thousands of wedding and high school graduation portraits have been snapped at the bridge over the years.
As author of a history book on Minneopa State Park, Gordon Herbst documented the bridge though the years, but can't argue about the need for a replacement.
"Every now and then a piece of the ledge falls off and scares the living daylights out of me," he laughed.
The Department of Natural Resources is promising a replacement true the beloved original arch design. Only the cost cannot be reproduced. Built in 1921 for $2,200, the new bridge will cost $340,000, according to Kudelka.
It's expected to be complete later this fall.
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