Lake Helena Bridge
And the Sad Story of Miss Helen Grohbrugge


The 1904 Lake Helena Bridge was replaced by the current causeway in 1944. The bridge was 520' long, with a 120' steel span. It was sold for scrap in 1951 to John Dunlop of Helena for $200. Pilings for the steel span can still be seen in the water north of the causeway...

Lake Helena Bridge Pilings and Causeway, 2011


Location of the Old Bridge Pilings

The Sad Story of Miss Helen Grohbrugge
Family Investments Wiped Out in 1929 Crash

While researching the history of the Lake Helena bridge, I came across a sad but interesting story.

On November 9, 1931, 30-year-old Helena career woman Helen Grohbrugge stopped her car on the bridge. Leaving the motor running, she got out and jumped into the frigid water below. Despite extensive search efforts, her body wasn't found until the following April.

Miss Grohbrugge was apparently despondent over her family's heavy monetary losses suffered in the 1929 stock market crash. She had advised them about their investments, and now the money was gone.

Five months before her suicide, in June of 1931, Helen suffered a serious chest wound from a .22 rifle. She was alone, on land her family owned near Austin, when the wound (called "accidental" in the newspaper) occurred. Badly hurt and in a panic, Miss Grohbrugge drove herself back to Helena, to the Old Plantation (later Eddy's) Bakery on Park Avenue where her father worked. She collapsed there and was taken to St. Peter's Hospital where, under the care of Dr. Rudolph Horsky (who would himself drown under mysterious circumstances in 1932) she evidently made a full recovery from her gunshot wound.

Helen later spoke of suicide to her parents. When she went missing, they drove to the Lake Helena bridge, a spot where she said it would be good to end it all. They found her car on the bridge.


Possible Suicide Attempt, 1931


Suicide From the Bridge ~ Her Body Finally Recovered

If anyone has a photograph of Helen Grohbrugge, please contact me.

Stolen Rifles Found Near Bridge, 1937

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