One thing that makes The Lure property unique is our bridge spanning the North Yuba River. The bridge is symbolic of the getaway feel of this property – once you cross over, you enter an entirely different realm, “a bridge away” from the rest of the world.
Since this property was settled by George Hardy in the 1850s, there’s always been some means of getting across the river. First it was a “Flying Dutchman”; a cable spanned across the river with a box hanging from a pulley. By the 1880s there was a cable bridge built by Hardy. The bridge was designed to accommodate both humans and livestock.
In the early 1900s a new bridge was constructed to bear the weight of automobiles, but washed away in a flood during the early 1920s. By 1928, then owner John Kerfoot opened Slate Castle Auto Camp, a dude ranch concept of sorts with saddle horses for guests to ride. One of Kerfoot’s first missions was to rebuild the washed away bridge. A temporary Flying Dutchman was being used in the interim, but clearly it didn’t meet the needs of a resort.
The bridge Kerfoot built collapsed a decade later under the weight of an overloaded lumber truck. The bridge was rebuilt once again in the early 1940s and lasted in its original state until 1986, when an overloaded California Fish and Game Department truck collapsed the main truss beam span, doing irreparable damage to the span.
In 1986, Jerry Ellsworth of Indian Valley along with Pete Bovinich of Sierra City acquired an 86 foot long railroad flat car to replace the main span, lifting it into place with a 145,000 pound crane. The structure of the railroad car is very sturdy and is only limited by the concrete abutments in the river that date back to the original bridge in 1940.
The bridge was thoroughly inspected by an engineering firm in 2019, and was upgraded from a previous 7 ton weight limit to an 11 ton weight limit. Aside from some needed routine maintenance, the bridge is in very good health with many years of life left in it. There are dreams of eventually building a new bridge spanning the North Yuba; either replacing the existing bridge or building one in a new location. A new bridge would be invaluable for the health of the property and the convenience of our guests, providing more amenities, more cabins and large events in Slate Castle Meadow.
We are still learning more about the history of our bridge. Do you have photos or stories of the old bridge? We’d love to see and hear what you know, so please reach out to us!