The year 1851 was an active one at the Middle Bar Bridge.. Business got so brisk and the crossings so plentiful that big money went into the first but short-lived bridge. Well-traveled trails already linked these camps. By December they were graded, probably widened in spots, and otherwise improved to an acceptable standard as the first county roads. Therefore, by January, 1851, the Middle Bar Bridge was a key link and major hub in the county,s "road system".
It would be a short-lived bridge. That memorable high water in 1852 would wash the proud span away.
The next Middle Bar Bridge it was said,"It is beyond the reach of any freshet," a newspaper later observed, although the Mokelumne river had been known to rise 20 feet in 24 hours.
Through summer and late fall men labored until that November, 1852, when the magnificent second Middle Bar bridge stood completed at a cost of at least $25,000, including road work on each side.
The Middle Bar Bridge would span the river for a decade before an even greater freshet took it down, too.
That winter of 1862-62 must have surpassed all others. In mid December, incessant, torrential rain came close to tearing away mountain bridges while flooding Sacramento and much of the valley.
The Middle Bar bridge, "above any freshet" at 32 feet, floated away early in the deluge. The center portion of the newer Big Bar bridge went then, too.
Great Video on the preservation of the Mokelumne and the Middle Bar Bridge