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Frog Bayou Triple Bowstring Bridge


Frog Bayou Triple Bowstring Bridge

Early pen & ink drawing of the Frog Bayou Triple Bowstring Bridge. Drawn circa 1880 by unknown artist. Drawing courtesy of Yell County Historical Society.

J. Randall Houp collection


BH Photo #226051



Written by J Randall Houp

This bowstring, one of five known to have been built in Arkansas, has a fascinating and colorful story to it. The triple bowstring across Frog Bayou and a 9o foot bowstring across Flat Rock Creek just east of Van Buren, Arkansas, were on the same contract together. Unfortunately, all early Crawford County Court Records were lost in an arson fire in the early 1870s. What is known is that Crawford County for some unknown reason failed to pay for this bridge. It was taken to U.S. Court in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in front of the "famous hanging judge", Isaac Parker. Judge Parker ruled in favor of the King Iron Bridge Company. The total price for these two bridges were $12,000 to $14,000 and the bill was taken care of in lump payments over a period of time. This resulted in Crawford County Court to pass a bridge tax to help pay their financial obligation. This beautiful sketch of the bridge, has been to date, the only known image found of the Frog Bayou Triple Bowstring Bridge. I found the remaining pier in 2007. This bridge was located on the Old Wire Road, which at that time was the major thoroughfare from Van Buren to Little Rock on the north side of the Arkansas River. Note: G.P.S. is approximate.


Lost Bowstring through truss bridge over Frog Bayou on Old Wire Road
Crawford County, Arkansas
Built circa 1872 by the King Bridge Co., Cleveland, Ohio
- King Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio
Bowstring through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.46778, -94.23906   (decimal degrees)
35°28'04" N, 94°14'21" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/387578/3925624 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 51459 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


Arkansas (1,725)
Bowstring through truss (259)
Bowstring truss (507)
Crawford County, Arkansas (81)
King Bridge Co. (342)
Lost (23,396)
Owned by county (20,313)
Through truss (14,540)
Truss (31,935)

Update Log 

  • February 26, 2012: Essay added by J Randall Houp


  • J. Randall Houp