In Florence there’s the requisite tourist photo from the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno. In Paris, companions convene with baguette, Brie and wine on the Pont des Arts over the Seine. Out west of the Twin Cities, at the convergence of Hennepin and Wright counties, there’s Bridge No. 92336 on the Crow.
Just like the famous European stops, No. 92336 is historic if not poetically named. The Hanover bridge also isn’t as old as the original Ponte Vecchio, built in 996 and rebuilt in 1345, or the Pont des Arts, built in 1802 and rebuilt in the early 1980s.
But Hanover’s Pratt Through Truss bridge carries a stamp in the iron from the Morse Bridge Co. of Youngstown, Ohio, which erected it in 1885. The third-oldest bridge in Minnesota, it closed to vehicle traffic in the 1960s.
Even without the fancy shops of the Ponte Vecchio or the romanticism of the Pont des Arts, No. 92336 has charm and it’s close to Albertville — the home of those outlet stores, not to be confused with the identically named southeastern French city that played host to the 1992 Winter Olympics.
Bargain-hunting shoppers would do well to make the 10-minute drive down County Road 19 for a soul-soothing stroll across No. 92336’s timber planks. Those who have sagely skipped the fast-food options down the road could act like Parisians and plop right down on the planks for a picnic.
A couple of blocks away, the locals pack in for the burger and pizza buffet lunch at the River Inn. The Hilltop Bar across the street is another option.
Neither the Louvre nor the hills of Florence can be seen from No. 92336, but the bridge makes a tangible connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her contemporaries within an hour of Minneapolis. You might feel like you’ve been pleasantly away in a time warp, but you will still get home without jet lag.
Note: Saturday is the Hanover Harvest Festival (hanoverharvestfestival.com) with activities from morning until night, including a parade, a 5K, a beer garden, food and bands.