By Jill Richardson
Kuna Melba News reporter
While rounding the corner on Southside Blvd coming into Melba from the north, visitors and residents alike are greeted by a new symbol of what Melba represents.
For years Melba has been known as the Seed Heart of Idaho.
In recent years however, Melba has also become more famous for Celebration Park, Guffey Bridge, ancient petroglyphs and Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.
Parkie Stapleton, long time resident, has created a steel replica of Guffey Bridge and donated it to be displayed on the piece of ground owned by the city in which the old Double D warehouse used to stand.
Stapleton said that he had heard a lot of discussion from the Beautification Committee, appointed by previous Melba Mayor Martin Luttrell, about making a replica of the bridge.
The committee wanted to place the piece on the property owned by the city next to the QRU building.
Stapleton decided to go ahead and make it to see how it would look.
Stapleton said he wanted to create something that represented many of the things in and around Melba, such as boating, fishing, Birds of Prey, bird watchers, and Celebration Park.
His creation includes a scaled down version, about 10 feet long, of Guffey Bridge, City of Melba banner and a near life size Red-tailed Hawk.
Beneath the steel work, rocks are artfully designed in a blue shade to represent the water of the Snake River.
It took Stapleton around one hundred hours and $100 plus all the scrap metal he had at his shop to make the piece.
Stapleton has donated all of his time, supplies and costs.
Stapleton said, “I hope everyone enjoys it. I wanted to do something a little different than the Seed Heart of Idaho and promote Celebration Park.”
The Beautification Committee has funded grading of the lot, creation of the berm in which Stapleton’s piece sits and vinyl fencing surrounding the lot.
Although there is no set plan for the future of the lot, many ideas have been discussed; ideas like creating a city park or a business strip mall.
According to Idaho Heritage Trust, the Guffey Bridge is Idaho’s largest historic artifact and was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
It was designed to facilitate the hauling of gold and silver ore from Silver City mines at the turn of the century.
The 450-ton steel structure is 70 feet tall and spans 500 feet over the Snake River.
The cost of construction and other circumstances concerning the Boise, Nampa and Owyhee Railroad precluded hauling any ore across the bridge but it was instrumental in the agricultural development of the area.
The bridge was abandoned in 1947, saved from demolition in the1970s and purchased and restored by Canyon County in 1989.