GREAT FALLS — Arlyne Reichert, known to many as the “Bridge Lady,” is the recipient of a 2022 Heritage Keeper award for her contributions to the study and preservation of Montana’s past.
Reichert said, "It's very important. If we don't preserve what we have in the past, we don't have any future. We look like every city in the country, and things like architecture design, they're unique, and so I feel it's very important that we save our history."
Reichert was selected for the annual award by the Montana Historical Society's Board of Trustees. She was honored in Great Falls during a ceremony at the Mansfield Convention Center on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, for her work in preserving the Tenth Street Bridge. It is Montana’s longest and oldest open-spandrel, ribbed-concrete arch bridge.
Her work to save the bridge began in 1996 when the city built the Eagle Falls Bridge across the Missouri River and closed the Tenth Street Bridge, slating it for demolition.
Reichert created the nonprofit Preservation Cascade to raise money and guide efforts to save and restore the bridge.
“In 1996, when we first heard about it being torn down, quite a few people became backers and proponents of saving it,” she explained. “We realized that we had to have a non-profit organization that could help raise funds to save the bridge, so that was the inspiration. Preservation Cascade had about 90 people sign a petition, and it became very popular early on. Now today we have thousands, thousands of supporters.
Preservation Cascade has raised more than $1 million to restore the bridge as a pedestrian/bike pathway.
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