Stearn’s Bayou figured prominently in the early commercial development of the area. Around 1865 a float bridge was built over the bayou with a 150’ section which swung out to allow timber to be floated through enroute to the mills in Grand Haven. A horse tram railway built to bring the logs to the head of the bayou from the forest of the "Big Marsh" south of M-45 it still leaves its traces. Over 100,000,000 feet of timber went through until 1889 when Charles E. Stearns was contracted and sank the entire length of the bridge by loading it with pine logs to 9 feet above the water and surfacing it with sand.
A bridge was built in 1905 by the Grand Rapids Bridge Company and was replaced by the present bridge – the only hot galvanized steel bridge in the United States.
Names prominent in the early settlement of Robinson Township include Crandle
(Les Crandle being the grandson of Rix Robinson’s brother, Ira), Pytlinski, Heyn,
Szopinski, Clark, Pelton, Knight, Quade, Vollmer, Johnson, Dr. Hall, Larson
Osner to name just a few.
The bridge brings many hours of enjoyment to fishermen who line the railing from dawn to dusk, enjoying the beauty of this spring-fed bayou and the fine catches available.
(The 18th in a continuing historical series of the Tri-Cities Area.)
Created: 8 February 2007