Hawk Bridge is located on the Yank Road just off the Smallian Road. This single span bridge crossing the Blanche River is named for Hawk Lake. The Yank Road was originally known as the Hawk Lake Road, which included the Hawk Lake Bridge.
The Yank family came from Berlin Germany in 1875 and by 1884 had acquired land on Hawk Lake. In 1906, they opened a summer resort known as Hawk Lake Lodge which remained active into the 1990s. The homestead is currently owned by Ron Yank, the great great grandson of the head of the family that immigrated to Canada.
In 1975, Carl McInnis started a cottage development around the north end of Hawk Lake. Starting at the Inlet Road, McInnis upgraded an old verbalized road that existed on the east side of Hawk Lake. He then requested the road be named Hawk Lake Road. As a result, the road on the west side was renamed Yank Road, recognizing the Yank family and their Hawk Lake homestead. The Historical Society decided to name the bridge on the Yank Road to Hawk Bridge.
Like many families, the Yanks ran the tourist business in their home, providing room and board to sportsmen and families. They also had three cottages that they would rent out during the summer. Hawk Lake has one of the best beaches in Mulgrave. It runs two hundred meters north across the front of the Yank property, then turns east and runs 300 meters in front of the original four cottages. Wading out 50 meters is not uncommon for most of this beach. Like most lakes in Mulgrave & Derry, the water is pristine.
The current bridge was re-built in the early 1960s. The prior bridge was lower and the road had about a 10 foot high hill at either end of the bridge. In the 1950s, Harold Berndt was hauling logs across this bridge. Going down the hill, the loaded truck gained speed. As he started to cross the bridge, the plank covering started to break under the back wheels of his truck. He made it across, but left two long holes across the bridge.
Near the end of the Yank Road, there is an old gravel pit that belongs to the Yank family. The gravel from this pit was sandy with a good portion of loam. When spread on the road, it would pack down and create a smooth surface that would not wash away when it rained. It was very effective on the hills. Too bad the Municipality can’t use this gravel on the hills now!
Through the 1950s, the gravel trucks were loaded by a group of 6 to 8 people using hand shovels. Usually there were two gravel trucks which kept them busy. The shovellers were usually people who lived on the portion of the road that was being fixed. They were paid by the hour and could either apply the money against their next tax bill, or be paid in cash. It was common to see one or more women and maybe a couple of 15 year old boys shoveling gravel onto the truck.
When we were young, my brother and I would bicycle up to the pit when they were hauling gravel for the roads. If we were lucky, one of the truck drivers would allow us to ride in the dump box of the truck. We would pick up small pebbles and drop them onto the driveshaft of the truck to hear a loud “PING”. It didn’t take much to amuse us back then.