WLM Summer 2019 - Page 9

BUILDING WLM | people Bridges Wayne’s family was heavily involved in the construction of the power plant during the 1930s near Alpine, Wyoming. Around 1985 Wayne built a bridge to it, but the housing market tanked, and the contractor had to stop the project. About ten years later he rebuilt the bridge, adding five feet to either side, making it 24 by 100 feet. Most of the private bridges in this area are to Wayne’s credit, and he has some in Jackson, Wilson, Teton Village, two in Pinedale, some in Driggs and Victor, Idaho, and one in Montana. Wayne has his equipment and methods figured out so that he can build them himself, except for setting them. When he does need help, Gary Miller, neighbor and friend, fills the bill nicely – if he isn’t fishing. A couple family members also help when needed. Wayne showed me a covered bridge he built that is simply gorgeous! Salt River runs under it. It goes to a stunning building that is an entertainment center with some of the most beautiful landscaping I’ve ever seen. The covered bridge adds the final touch of charm to the place. By June Johnston Images courtesy Wayne Baker Wayne’s bridges.” I would add that they truly are a work of art. Moving that artwork forward for future generations, Wayne and some of his colleagues have worked to get money together to start a trade school in Star Valley. Wayne and Mariam had eight children (they lost their oldest son in an automobile accident when he was seventeen), 40 grandchildren, around 120 great grandchildren, and ten great-great grandchildren.  His beloved wife of nearly 73 years passed away not long ago. He said she was a sweetheart – a wonderful wife and mother, and the reason he has been successful. Wayne is 94 years old. He says he retires every night and that’s as close as it will get. With a man so well accomplished in his own right, one can only imagine how that teacher probably regretted not “wasting” her time on him… W L M There is also an arched bridge in the valley that Wayne is quite proud of and rightly so. It is made of eight-inch square steel, was set in two pieces and welded together onsite. It will carry loads of forty tons. Someone asked the owner of the property why he built three bridges when two would have been enough. He replied, “I like www.wyolifestyle.com 7