The Rockway Bridge
(Originally published in the Winter 2009 MAGIC Newsletter)


One thing Mishicot has plenty of is history. We need to preserve it and share it. That is the purpose of our historical museum and this column in each MAGIC newsletter. Visitors to Mishicot tell us that one of our main attractions is our Covered Bridge. Yet few know the history of that bridge.

The village has three bridges over the East Twin / Mishicot River. The Main Street bridge was the first to be built, Rockway Street was erected second, and the third, the State Street bridge, was built in the spring of 1955. There was no road or bridge there before that time. A fourth bridge was also constructed across Johnson Creek located at the base of Saxonburg Hill but, with time, it was replaced with culverts.

The present Rockway Street bridge was built in 1925 and was made entirely of cement. Just what year the first Rockway bridge was built is still a mystery, but based on information on the Mishicot Brewery; we believe it was around 1865. The bridge was built to get to the brewery which was built across the river where Pietroske Salvage is now located. An early plat map of the village laid out by Daniel Smith, the founder of the village in 1844, shows he intended to develop the south side of the river. Julius Lindstedt purchased the brewery in 1868, further developed it, and later sold it to Joseph Scheuer (a previous MAGIC newsletter article provides more information on the brewery).

The first Main Street and Rockway Street bridges were made of logs placed across piles of stones that were held in place by frames of logs. Main Street was originally called Water Street because it paralleled the river. Rockway Street was named by Daniel Smith for his first grandson, Rockway. Rockway Smith was the son of Danielís oldest son, Alfred, who helped him build the mills in town.

In 1995, the village board received a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation saying that the Rockway single lane bridge was no longer safe for vehicle traffic. The village board decided to turn it into a covered walking bridge. The work for that project was done by members of the Wisconsin Conversation Corps and supervised by the village with Jim Froelich playing a major role.

The Magic Design Committee has been working on a plan to make the bridge more noticeable and welcoming and we hope that by spring we will have a design for the entrance to the bridge to present to the Village Board for approval. If you have any ideas or suggestions you would like to share or want to help with the project, please let us know. Contact MAGIC at 920.755.3411, magic@tm.net, or stop by during office hours on Wednesdays from 9:00am to 11:00am.

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