Bixby Bridge, Big Sur

Due to the inaccessible of Big Sur the area remained a nearly untouched wilderness through the early decades of the 20th century. As late as the 1920’s Big Sur was one of the most remote areas in California and one of the most inaccessible areas of the United States. In 1919 the State of California approved the construction of a highway that would connect Carmel in the north to San Simeon in the south. Funds were approved by the State of California as well as from the Federal Government through the New Deal programs of American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. San Quentin Prison established three camps along the route to supply inmate labor. Local residents were also hired to work on the road. Most notable was American writer John Steinbeck who worked as a surveyor. Steinbeck’s deep understanding of the area has been featured in many of his writings. In order to build the highway over such a rugged area 33 bridges were built; the largest is Bixby Bridge which is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world. The road was open on June 17, 1937 then in 1965 it was declared the first State Scenic Highway. One year latter First Lady Lyndon B. Johnson held an official delegation at Bixby Bridge naming the road an All American Road by the Federal Government.