The Sacramenro Southern Railroad began construction in 1906 in old Sacramento.
The railroad reached Freeport in 1908.
The trestle is between old Sacramento and Freeport therefore Willow slough trestle was first completed some time in between 1906 and 1908.
This picture above was taken standing on top of the trestle looking south toward the town of Freeport. Standing in this location and looking in the direction the camera is pointing Freeport Boulevard is on the left.
The trestle once spanned an ancient slough which can clearly be seen on maps from 1885. Later a drainage canal called the Sacramento Drainage canal was dug.
The canal drains water from both Willow Slough and Munger's lake and ends up at a lock near the huge water tower on Freeport boulevard. From there water from the canal flows into the Sacramento River.
The proposed Del Rio Trail connects with the Sacramento River Bike trail at the far south end of the trail. The trail the two trails meet at the driveway of the water tank.
Click the button below to learn more about the Sacramento Drainage canal.
Or continue reading to learn why the current design for the Del Rio Trail plan would destroy this historic trestle, and because of this the proposal does not meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standard for the treatment of historic properties.
The proposed demolition and replacement of the Willow Slough trestle clearly violates at least 6 of the 10 SOIS standards. Under this rubric destroying the trestle would have an adverse effect on a historic property. SOIS standards not met are listed in the following sections in order of decreasing importance.
Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence.
None of the documentation provided by the City specifies exactly what the "safety issue" are regarding the trestle.
Clearly any safety issues stemming from deterioration of the trestle and minor burn damage must be mitigated by repairing the trestle rather than tearing it down and replacing it. If the trestle was in such bad shape that it had to be torn down for safety reasons this would require that a new trestle be rebuilt to the same standards and with the same construct5ion methods as the old trestle.
In conversations with City workers it has been discovered that one of the main safety concerns is not that the trestle is in danger of collapse but rather that trespassers might fall off the trestle. This safety issue could be mitigated by the use of safety fencing and warning signs to protect the public from this hazard.
The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided.
Tearing down the trestle and hauling it away would not meet the standard that historic materials shall be retained..
A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment.
The trestle may one day be returned to its historic use. The Old Sacramento State Historic Park 20 year General Plan states that the State Parks have a planned use for the trestle in the future.
A new bridge can be built over the small creek that intermittently runs in the bottom of the old drainage canal, parallel to and at a safe distance from the the tracks.
New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.
If the proposed new bridge placed in the historic railroad right of way is removed in the future the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be impaired.
In addition to the cost of rebuilding the bridge to its original specifications a new bike bridge would have to be build in the correct location parallel to the railroad trestle.
Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a historic property shall be preserved.
Replacing the trestle clearly does not meet the standaards of SOIS 5. The plan would destroy examples of craftsmanship in the beautiful old trestle.
New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.
Again tearing down the trestle and replacing it with a new single span bike bridge is a related new construction that destroys historic materials that characterize the property.
The better choice is to build a new bridge parallel and at a safe distance from the historic trestle.
Where we are looking west. The flood doors that the ancient pipes that used to conduct water under Freeport Boulevard are behind us. Small amounts of storm water still sometimes flow in the snall creek that sometimes flows in a heavy rain.
This is a view of the cannal looking west in the direction water flows. The trestle is now behind us.
GPA consulting has a picture of the other side of this corner photographed from south of the trestle looking north.
Here we are looking south. Water flows from left to right when there is water.
Another view looking south. Note that the trestle was originally designed for double track.
In this picture we see a set of ancient pipes that allow to flow under Freeport Boulevard and drain into the Canal. Water may still be able to flow from Bing Mahoney golf course under Freeport Boulevard and into this fork Drainage Canal.
Here the south side of the trestle can be seen on the left hand side of the picture through the trees. If one walks to the south end of Charlie Jensen park this will be your first view of the trestle.
Where the existing park access road ends, the trail would continue south, paralleling the east side of the existing railroad tracks with a paved 14-foot multi-use trail and 3-foot unpaved shoulders, until it reaches the existing drainage channel. The trail would cross the drainage channel along the current track alignment, removing the existing structurally deficient wooden bridge and replacing it with a new single span structure that would accommodate a 12-foot wide trail. Additional improvements at the bridge site would include the removal of approximately 71 feet of track and relocation of approximately 49 feet of track from the area north of the bridge to the south where there is currently a gap in the existing track alignment.
South of the bridge crossing, the trail (12-feet of pavement with 3-foot unpaved shoulders) would parallelthe east side of the tracks for several hundred feet
The orange sectional of track on the far right and the far left ends if the diagram repersent existing track. The magnets section of track on the left is to be torn out and the wreckage dumped on the other side of the new bridge.
The yellow track currently on the bridge is to be destroyed.
In this view we are looking north towards down town Sacramento. In this picture Freeport Boulevard is on the right. This poor quality picture taken by a photographer from GPA comsulting is washed out and does not do the trestle justice.
The photographer was standing at the south west corner of the trestle looking north.
This map from 1885 shows Willow Slough before the Sacramento Drainage Canal was put in. Look at section 35 because this is were Willow Slough trestle is located. Before the Canals were added water used to flow into a much larger lake.. There is still a smaller lake in Reigthmuth Park called Munger's lake. Note that A J munger's property is located at the northern end of the lake.
You can click on the button below to view the original map in the library of congress.
This is a small section cut from a larger map. In this map not only the Railroad but also Freeport Boulevard can be seen. Note that they come together in section 35. What was once the slough was what is now the Bing Mahone golf course. This would all be drained with the coming of the Drainage canal.