Restoration planned for historic Platte bridgePLATTE — Volunteers will spend part of this summer restoring an 80-year-old bridge in Platte’s historic Henry Cool Park.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
PLATTE — Volunteers will spend part of this summer restoring an 80-year-old bridge in Platte’s historic Henry Cool Park.
“He was the driving force in getting the park in,” said Cool’s great-grandson, Dan Cool, of Platte. “The spillway was built the same year, which formed Lake Platte, so they did the park at the same time.”
Dan Cool spearheaded the project when he applied for a Deadwood Fund Grant over the last two years, which he recently received. The 50/50 matching grant for $7,988 is from the South Dakota State Historical Society.
He noticed the bridge, which is one of many fieldstone structures in the park, was in a bad state and wanted to not only keep the historic park alive, but draw more attention to it.
“In the old days, it was used a lot. This will hopefully bring awareness to it again,” Cool said.
The bridge shows obvious signs of deterioration — holes through which water is plainly seen, large chunks of rock missing from one side and the other side leans outward with many cracks throughout.
Cool’s other motive for improving the park was to honor his father, Lawrence Henry Cool Jr., who died a couple of years ago.
“His hero was his grandfather, and my dad was my hero,” Dan Cool said.
The city-owned park sits on the east side of Lake Platte, which is about two miles west of Platte and was constructed during the Great Depression. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in January for its “recreational history and its fieldstone structures.”
The bridge leads to an island in the park. Dan Cool is worried about the bridge’s structural integrity as it has become “wobbly” in recent years, he said.
“The whole bridge is getting a little shaky,” Cool said.
It’s likely volunteers will have to sandbag around the bridge and dredge out silt to allow for a work area. Others will have to pump water out of the canal to expose the foundation.
Local contractors have been hired to work on the bridge and many volunteers, including the local National Guard unit, have offered to help when the project starts in July.
The matching portion of the grant will mostly be in-kind work done by volunteers, city maintenance crews and the National Guard unit, Cool said.