Bridges have a long history of adding function and flair to a destination. Not only do bridges fulfill a necessary function in getting people across bodies of water, but they also add a certain mystique and visual charm to the landscape. The McCullough Memorial Bridge, one of our most beloved landmarks, is the perfect symbol for the gateway to Oregon’s South Coast. As you approach this magnificent mile-long bridge along U.S. Route 101, you know that you are about to cross into someplace very special. The bridge was designed by and eventually named after Conde McCullough, one of the leading bridge engineers in the United States. It is considered by many to be the crown jewel of all of McCullough’s greatest designs.
“One of the most beautiful bridges I have seen,” writes Richard E in this July 2020 TripAdvisor Review. “Up close and from a distance it is an awesome sight. If you get a chance, go to Ferry Road, and you can drive under the bridge from the south side. Looking north at the underside of the bridge is like an enormous cathedral!”
“Most impressive is the mile-long bridge at Coos Bay, a graceful concrete and steel structure of rhythmic beauty. McCullough’s work in Oregon—hundreds of structures, including over thirty arched spans—was part of the state’s nationally recognized highway system at a time when the automobile first claimed its place in the life and character of America.” -oregonencyclopedia.org
The McCullough Memorial Bridge had a significant impact on travel and business on Oregon’s South Coast when it was built in 1936. Before there was a bridge, passengers relied on ferry boats and getting across the bay could sometimes take several hours. While it’s the pride of North Bend, Coos Bay residents gladly take credit for its appeal to the entire Oregon’s Bay Area! The bridge was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 in recognition of its design and cultural and economic importance.
Construction, 1935 Source: Wikipedia
“This is a really striking and beautiful bridge,” writes a September 2020 visitor. “It is a mile long cantilever span with symmetrical multi-arch approaches on both ends. Best viewed from the west side on Horsfall Beach Road. Being under it and looking at the exposed steel understructure has been compared to visiting a cathedral.”
You can find more information on the bridge and it’s history here: