National Register of Historic Places in Grand County
In the early 20th century, Moab and other southeastern Utah towns were dependent on communities in western Colorado both for everyday supplies and for markets for their agricultural products. The Dewey Bridge, which spans the formidable natural barrier of the Colorado River, was the first to provide a direct connection.
Before it was destroyed by a brush fire in 2008, the bridge was the longest suspension bridge in Utah. At the time of its construction, it was the second longest suspension bridge west of the Mississippi. It is one of only three bridges spanning the Colorado River in Utah even though the river runs for four hundred miles through the state.
Delivering cattle to market was probably the most important, yet most tedious, chore for residents in local communities.
Most farmers at Dewey had from fifty to a hundred head of breeding cattle grazing on the free range near their homes. Produce was not generally hauled to market but rather was fed to cattle. The cattle, in turn, were driven to markets, sometimes utilizing the Dewey Bridge for passage.
When large herds of transient sheep passed through Grand County, the range was left barren. Stockmen in the western states banded together to seek protection from further over-grazing of the land. The United States Congress created the Bureau of Land Management.
Old timers say it was not what most of them wanted because it put the small stockmen out of business.
The free range was gone.
Cattle were taken off the range and farms were abandoned.
Dewey became a ghost town.
Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1984.
The Dewey Bridge, on Utah Route 128, carried motor traffic across the Colorado River until the year 1988 when the old bridge was replaced by a new bridge.
Grand County completed a restoration project on the old bridge in 2000 and incorporated it into the Kokopelli trail for bicycles and pedestrians
On April 6, 2008, a seven-year-old boy accidentally started a fire in a nearby campground while playing with matches. The fire moved up the riverbank and destroyed the bridge's wooden deck and rails