May the Ely Stone Bridge win!

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

     I was thoroughly blessed to be in a family that lived in a rural area. We were the only home in sight back then. I lived near what we called “The Old Stone Bridge” for 48 years in a family of eight.

     Our lot was 2.5 acres, so we were outdoors a great deal of the time. We played ball, croquet, badminton, fox and geese, built snowmen, snow forts, about any outdoor activity you can imagine. The word “bored” never entered our vocabulary, or someone may find you some work to do.

     Our living room had two large picture windows. The largest, 10-foot, faced the bridge. Whenever you walked into the living room, a gaze at the bridge brought many memories and thoughts to mind. My entire time there, the bridge never changed its looks.

     Always a strong monument to the area and builders.

     Many a time, someone in our family was fishing there by the falls, ice skating in the winter or just enjoying a beautiful walk. Sometimes we had wiener and marshmallow roasts there, or took photos, waded in the water or talk under the bridge to hear our echo. We’d watch the creek flowing under the ice, getting as close as safely possible. It wasn’t unusual when you looked out our living room window to see others enjoying the bridge area. The wild strawberries around there, crab apple trees, a hill made of clay where we made bowls to dry in the sun. Of course it was always a special kick to throw rocks in the water. Whenever it was hot out, we had a large shade area to be in under the bridge.

     I saw many of nature’s variety; turtles that lived near the falls, water spiders, crawdads, you name it. A long stick was a handy tool for splashing water. You just couldn’t beat sitting under the bridge, eyes open or shut, and hearing the sound of the water going over the falls.

     Wow, nature’s crescendo in the spring when the snow melted and the water gushed by. Great therapy for a family member of eight. Just looking out that window toward the bridge, that panoramic view spoke volumes of the season of the year. Fresh green grass the cows grazed on, getting as close to the fence as possible to get a drink. Many deer dashing across the road just past the bridge. Yet closest to the bridge the beauty of the pampas grass (we called fuzzies), also spoke of the season. To this day, some of us have fuzzies in a vase at our homes. They bring back many memories of the stone bridge area, and happy times. In the fall the many colors behind the bridge, created a picturesque view to behold.

     The winter scene ended up showcasing the bridge on cards you could purchase, and send to someone.

     I left home, married, and had two sons, of course returning many days for years to come. My sons relished the bridge area, exploring, fishing near the falls where the water was deep. Someone always came home wet, of course. They waded there, got grad pictures there and spent many many hours investigating the area. Our homes now contain many pictures of the bridge as a backdrop. So very many “bridge memories.”

     I could go on and on about that monument. Just a stone’s throw away from our yard, yet a very special place in our heart.

     Enjoyed by so many, this nationally registered treasure deserves a future. It is the only one of its kind in the United States. Really, the main structure is sound.


Laurie Chapman Young

Monticello, Iowa


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