Brockless Bridge

Brockless Bridge The Brockliss Bridge Crossing over the North Fork of the American River is located approximately 22 miles east of Placerville, California, right off the U.S. Highway 50 about a mile from Pacific House.

The Daily Bee
Sacramento, Wednesday Evening, July 11, 1860

CHEAP TOLL -- At a recent meeting of the Supervisors of El Dorado county, it was "Ordered, that the rate of toll for crossing Brockliss Bridge, for the Pony Express be one cent, per month, until further order of the Board."

The Mountain Democrat
Placerville, Saturday, April 14, 1860

"One horse or mule, with rider ... 25 cents"

The bridge was a toll area and competition top get past wagons full of timber was supplies in an area such as this was pretty intense. Image yourself as a Pony Rider approaching the bridge. The bridge is crowded with wagons being pulled by oxen, mules are loaded with supplies. You say to yourself, "What the Hay, I can do it." Horse and rider pass without mishap.

Brockliss Bridge
"A Special Needs Project"

Brockless Bridge The California Division, Inc. of the National Pony Express Association is in need of community awareness and support to provide for a more continuous Pony Express National Historical Trail. In order to further the intent of Congress, regarding the Pony Express National Historic Trail, a big gap needs to be filled. That gap area is known as the Brockliss Bridge site. Without a bridge, this particular part of the trail is basically isolated for use by the public. In order to have a more continuous trail, the bridge is a must. The Forest Service estimates the cost for a 300-400 ft. span bridge over the steep river crossing would cost approximately $350,000. The California Division proposes a non-motorized bridge for bikers, equestrian and hikers.

The California Division of the National Pony Express Association asks for your help. Letter writing and telephone calls supporting our endeavor would be greatly appreciated. Contact the Forest Service of the El Dorado NF, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, US Senators Boxer and Feinstein. and Representative Doolittle, the Congressional Appropriations Committee, (Donations are great also).

To preserve the past, we need to provide for the future. Sesquicentennial commemorations started officially in 1997. It only seems fitting to build a bridge no later that the year 2000.

Bob Graham from Sacramento, California, from many years of research and hiking the Sierras has created a wonderful web site on John Charles Frémont. Bob provides the following information:

This bit of narrative from the Report (1845) has them (Frémont's party) pass the Brockliss Bridge site--at about the elevation above the river where the Brockless Grade Road ran. I used to cross the old Blair Bros bridge (underslung truss) with my dad when we would go up to the mill. I am going to be putting up some photos of these sites and roads very soon on a web site.


Frémont: February 25th. Believing that the difficulties of the road were passed, and leaving Mr. Fitzpatrick to follow slowly, as the condition of the animals required, I started ahead this morning with a party of eight, consisting (with myself) of Mr. Preuss, Mr. Talbot, Carson, Derosier, Towns, Preuss, and Jacob. We took with us some of the best animals, and my intention was to proceed as rapidly as possible to the house of Mr. Sutter, and return to meet the party with a supply of provisions and fresh animals.

Continuing down the river, which pursued a very direct westerly course through a narrow valley, with only very slight and narrow bottom land we made twelve miles, and encamped at some old Indian huts, apparently a fishing place on the river.


The bottom was covered with trees of deciduous foliage, and overgrown with vines and rushes. On a bench of a hill nearby, was a field of fresh green grass, six inches long in some of the tufts which I had the curiosity to measure. The animals were driven here; and I spent part of the afternoon in sitting on a large rock among them, enjoying the pauseless rapidity with which they luxuriated in the unaccustomed food.

The forest was imposing to-day in the magnificence of the trees; some of the pines, bearing large cones, were ten feet in diameter; and we measured one 28 1/2 feet in circumference four feet from the ground. This noble tree seemed here to be in its proper soil and climate. We found it on both sides of the Sierra, but more abundant on the west.

Frémont: February 26th. We continued to follow the stream, the mountains on either hand increasing in height as we descended, shutting up the river narrowly in precipices along which we had great difficulty to get the horses.


It rained heavily during the afternoon, and we were forced off the river to the heights above; whence we descended, at night-fall, the point of a spur between the river and a fork of nearly equal size, coming in from the right. Here we saw, on the lower hills, the first flowers in bloom, which occurred suddenly, and in considerable quantity; one of them a species of gilia.

The current of both streams (rather torrents than rivers) was broken by large boulders. It was late, and the animals fatigued; and not succeeding in finding a ford immediately, we encamped, although the hill side afforded but a few stray bunches of grass, and the horses, standing in the rain, looked very miserable.