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Malad Gorge

The swollen Malad River cuts through the Malad Gorge unit of Thousand Springs State Park on April 14, .

A bridge across the Malad River near Tuttle went missing more than 70 years ago.

“Bridges just don’t walk away, especially when they weigh 20 tons,” the Times-News said of the missing bridge in its Oct. 17, 1947, edition.

The bridge on the Old Malad River Highway crossed the river just upstream from the Malad River State Park until September 1947, when the state highway department replaced it.

After the new bridge was completed, the old 20-ton, 40-foot steel bridge was left lying at the site to be cut into scrap metal.

But then Bliss-Hagerman highway officials considered reusing the bridge at another site over the 250-foot gorge. When the men arrived to examine the bridge and couldn’t find it, the officials reported it stolen to Gooding County Sheriff Russell E. Cecil.

The sheriff was “at a loss to explain what happened to such a bridge,” the Times-News said.

The mystery, however, was short-lived.

Sheriff Cecil received two calls after the stolen bridge story ran — one from a witness who saw men load the bridge onto a truck and another from Jerome Highway District Supervisor Ernie Coates.

Coates’ crew had taken the bridge with the permission of the state highway department, he said.

The state highway department owned the bridge, the state commissioner of public works told Times-News.

“Everything will come out all right,” Commissioner E.W. Sinclair said. “The Bliss-Hagerman district only needs a 20-foot bridge and we can find one for them. But if Gooding County wants that bridge back, I guess we’ll have to take it back. We don’t want any fussin’.”

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Mychel Matthews reports on rural issues for the Times-News. The Hidden History feature runs every Thursday in the Times-News and at Magicvalley.com. If you have a question about something that may have historical significance, email Matthews at mmatthews@magicvalley.com.

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