Paris DuMont rolled up his sleeves and began the tireless work that characterized his waking hours. Warhaven’s vision for its community spanning the whole arc of the Craggies required well-planned roads and bridges to allow for prudent settlement and to demonstrate to the Quaish the degree of sensitivity to which the City Council strove. DuMont personally supervised the initial surveying of the wide valley back in 1868. He knew what would work for transportation, for water quality, for the aesthetics of the land. As a West Point trained engineer with plenty of civil engineering experience in peace and in war, DuMont thrived in the challenges before him and the fledgling town.
The Mount Rushing Highway was graded as a fifty foot-wide roadway from downtown along the Rushing River. It commenced above the Fieldman Ferry Dock on the Big River and rose in a gradual traversing grade to Uptown, passing through Downtown as the black walnut shaded boulevard of Via Valhalla. From there it became Craggy Way to the first street of Uptown, Alder Avenue. From there it meandered further south through the fields of the Plateau. This stretch required the crossing of two creeks, Beaver Dam Creek and Grizzly Bear Creek — or as it would legally become, Tsoneseek’s Waters. The more impatient pushed for fords, but Paris demanded bridges. “We are building for our children, sir, not for the day after tomorrow!” The more challenging engineering came as rock and rise and canyon wall confronted them. By 1872, the road was complete through to the foot of the pass. The road then was constructed as a narrow 20-foot-wide gravel road known as Birch Larch Lane. This road traversed up and over the Craggies, through the saddle they named Red Tailed Hawk Pass. From here it was mule track through the Burnt Knobs of unincorporated lands of New Hope County, that had been established with territorial status in 1871. The City of Warhaven had incorporated the year before.
For the bridges Beaver Dam was quite a marsh so DuMont designed a basalt stone arch bridge, actually a viaduct of five arches to cross the swamp. It is still a favorite image of Warhaven tourist postcards. To cross Tsoneseek’s Waters DuMont was inspired by the design of chain suspension bridges; he saw this design as a solution to his challenge. The road crossed a 50 yard-wide ravine. Two granite abutments were constructed then linked by swooping steel chains purchased from a foundry in Garfield. A bed of tarred 6-inch x 12-inch x 20-foot fir planks made for a smooth surface but was a delicate crossing in freezing weather.
Sequoia groves south of Red Fox Run created a tunnel-like passage of the road which meandered through, alleviating a lot of cutting, necessitating the removal of only two trees, the timbers of which were milled to cants on site and used for bridge beams.
DuMont used the Macadam technique of road building, laying a foot deep bed of pit run rock which was covered with three-quarter minus gravel and gravel dust, then rolled with an iron steam roller. Warhaven employed a strictly enforced ten miles an hour speed limit until the roads were tarred in 1905 and then a twenty-mile limit until 1920 when they were asphalted. Speeds were raised to 30, a speed that might have been higher had tire technology been greater.
It was in 1874 that DuMont set his mind on crossing the Big, a rather delicate political issue given that ferryman Ross Fieldman was making a lot of money. This hurdle was sidestepped when the City Council prudently appointed Fieldman the bridge tollkeeper, a position he welcomed, given his increasingly painful lumbago. The river was narrow here at 300 yards. DuMont chose a combination of chain and steel wire cable for his suspension bridge, supported by two towering pylons of steel-reinforced concrete, a construction technology in its infancy. DuMont experimented on innovations at his own personal expense, testing theories with two smaller bridges, one over Japer Creek at the DuMont Farm and the other across Caldwell Branch from Lyon Lane, a site donated to the city by Ebenezer Lyon for the placement of a five acre hunting, fishing, and camping park.
The Big River Bridge took two years to complete. This structure convinced the Western Mountains Railroad to run their line along the plateau on the north bank of the Big, which, when finished in 1880, opened Warhaven and New Hope County to swift delivery of goods from the East as well as from the growing industrial city of Garfield to the west. It also created a surge in settlement that Warhaven welcomed with open arms.