Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
Well if you look at your photo taken in 71 It is hard to see as you were not close or zoomed in like this shot was... But if you use magnification you can plainly see the flat pads directly below the protruding girder there.
Warner..... I think there was still some confusion about the steel arch span John did complete BTW... Perhaps this will help.... If you look at the plan for my room I sent along, you can plainly see Scalp Mountain. or for anyone else "what you see on Page 84" In this birdseye drawing, the bridge that runs to the mountain on the left side is the one John finished and is pictured in my previous message... it is that beautiful spindley box & lace girder, cross braced, masterpiece, in silver that we all have seen the photos of... It crosses an area of about four feet... perhaps a bit more. And it has a few spots where you can see the concrete pads those feet run to in the rock escarpments on each side.
I have just recently realised he was pushing hard to finish his High Bridge Route... Oddly enough it must have been immediately after the time you guys were there in October of 71 Warner ...... To do so, there were SIX spans that needed to be bridged to achieve this and drive his last spike. The two massive spans one on each side of Scalp Mountain.... and the Two over the Great Divide yard and the two in front of West Divide....
So in the winter of 71-72 he built the one steel arch span...on the left side of Scalp Mountain, we know this because the photo's of it prove it was done by January of 1972 and this fact is in the book as well. Jim Findley talks about being allowed to do some scenery work to try and fix one of the foot placements on that big bridge.. (something John never let anyone do before) (Jim felt John must have touched it up anyway as it looked better later than Jim remembers leaving it) LOL ... but the other 5 bridges still remaining were still a work in progress. I am not sure what John was doing most of early and mid 72? But he did work on the two steel truss bridges over the Great Divide yard area and the two in front of West Divide and had them done all about the same time in late December of 72...... (Don Mitchell recently sent us a photo of this work) We know this was very near Johns death before he got them done... Rod Smith has told me he visited Johns layout about a month or a little less before John passed. In December of 72...... He does not remember these bridges at all and did not have a camera with him anyway. Don Mitchell had his camera and had the time to visit due to a postponement in his transfer while in service so he spent his time at Johns place while waiting... And luckily he took a series of photographs (MANY OF US ARE PRAYING AND WAITING FOR HIM TO RELEASE for 46 years now.. ) Don would have to verify the actual day and date but we know it was about "two weeks" before John died. Don's images might very well be the only record of Johns last efforts.
So in January of 1973....this left John with the "Great Bridge" as the last section of track unfinished. The steel girder was left hanging there and might just be the saddest, most visually poignant poetic image there is to tell this incredible but tragic story.