Bridges of the Red River: NP Avenue/Center Avenue

The Red River is the natural dividing line between North Dakota and Minnesota and it’s somewhat average as rivers go. But in the 1800s, as pioneers began to populate the Dakota Territory, the Red was a formidable obstacle and the bridges across the Red River became important corridors with cities sprouting up wherever a bridge spanned the muddy water.

Here we see three bridges in one shot:

On top, the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge on Main Avenue between Fargo and Moorhead. A white car can be seen on the bridge.

Just below that, you can see the dark colored NP Avenue Railroad Bridge stretching through the middle of the photo, and on the bottom, in the foreground, the distinctive orange NP Avenue/Central Avenue Bridge. That’s the bridge I’m focused on today.

This bridge was originally built in 1937, a replacement for an even older bridge, and rehabbed in 1987. Like many bridges these days, it is classified as functionally obsolete.

On the bridge, looking east at Center Avenue in Moorhead.

The same view in 1965, before downtown Moorhead was razed to make way for the Center Mall.

Beneath the bridge on the Moorhead side of the Red River, looking south.

This is the first installment in a series I hope will eventually be a photographic look at every bridge over the Red River between the origin at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Ottertail Rivers and the mouth at Lake Winnipeg.

See part two – Bridges of the Red River: Georgetown

Troy Larson is the President of Sonic Tremor Media LLC and Founder of

2 thoughts on “Bridges of the Red River: NP Avenue/Center Avenue

  1. I remember the old 1st Ave. N Bridge. It had a metal covering over the deck and looked like it would fall down at any moment. Just like the old viaduct looked like on 12th Ave. N. I remember the wooden guard rails, on the viaduct, being replaced by new lumbar every time someone drove off that old bridge; which happened quite often. It was a scary drive.
    I remember the 1st Ave. N. bridge going under water many during moderate floods, as did all the houses north of First Avenue on the Moorhead side, where the boat house and Norwegian church now stands.
    Just some of my 65 years of memories of Fargo, Moorhead’s past.
    Fargo, ND

  2. When I look at the photo of downtown Moorhead from the Center Avenue Bridge in 1965 (I was a freshman at Moorhead State) it makes me want to cry. All of those old buildings with such character were destroyed in the urban renewal craze and replaced with a sterile, and not very successful mall. Fargo has been much smarter with the use of its downtown Broadway.

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