New plaque for an old bridge above Truckee
May 11, 2010
DONNER SUMMIT, Calif. and#8212; The Donner Summit Bridge was constructed in 1926 and featured a bronze relief plaque dedicating this structure and#8220;to the pioneers who blazed the Overland Trail through these mountains.and#8221; The bridge was reconstructed in 1995 and rededicated by Nevada County through the Landmarks Commission in 1998.
While the plaque was present for the rededication, it was not remounted on the bridge because of fear of vandalism or theft. The original bronze plaque is on display at the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum in Soda Springs.
A full-sized photo reproduction plaque has been made. The new facsimile plaque is resistant to vandalism and does not have any material value, unlike the original bronze. The new plaque required work be done to the original concrete plaque mounting surface. The work is took place on Saturday, May 8 by volunteers Norm Sayler and Lee Schegg. Sayler is the president of the Donner Summit Historical Society and Schegg is a member of the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission. The new plaque will be in place for viewing by a bus tour on Wednesday, May 12. The tour is a part of the four-day California Preservation Foundation (CPF) conference beginning Wednesday in Nevada City and Grass Valley.
Norm Sayler looks forward to telling the bridgeand#8217;s story to members of the CPF. The preservation of this unique cultural icon, known locally as the Rainbow Bridge, is a perfect example of how local concerned citizens can rally forces to prevent a valuable structure from being demolished. The Donner Summit Bridgeand#8217;s reconstruction is a prime example of the type of activity supported or undertaken by the California Preservation Foundation.
The bus tour will arrive in Downtown Truckee about 10:30 a.m., where participants will tour the new Railroad and Old Jail Museums before proceeding to Donner Memorial State Park and Donner Summit.
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