Rating:
2 votes

Rockport Bridge

Photos 

Deck view, 1988

This photo by Wayne Kizziar shows the damaged bridge deck in 1988

BH Photo #100508

Map 

Timeline 

Compiled by James Baughn

1846
Little Rock Bridge Company built a wooden toll bridge on the Military Road for a cost of $20,000
1847
Wooden bridge destroyed by flooding on the Ouachita River
Jan. 23, 1873
Courthouse at Rockport burned to the ground
Feb. 1873
Hot Spring County issued bonds for new courthouse along with a new bridge at Rockport. The county bridge commission contracted to build "one of King's Latest Improved Patent Wrought Iron Bridges."
July 8, 1873
County court nullified contracts for new courthouse and bridge because the work was not properly advertised for bids. A legal battle ensued and the bridge was never built.
1878
Hot Spring county seat moved to Malvern
July 5, 1887
Alignment of the Military Road changed to use a private wooden toll bridge built by the Ouachita Falls Lumber Company at Rockport
July 1897
Newspaper article advocated construction of a free bridge at Rockport
Oct. 4, 1897
Hot Spring Levying Court decided not to impose a tax to build a new bridge because of hardships caused by recent drought conditions
Oct. 2, 1899
County levied a tax to build the bridge, appropriating $10,000
Dec. 2, 1899
Election held to determine whether to build the bridge at Rockport or Grigsby's Ford (two miles upstream). Rockport won, 1392 to 297.
Mar. 6, 1900
Bidding opened for the bridge
Apr. 3, 1900
County awarded contract to Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co. for a bid of $26,000.
Nov. 8, 1900
Two hundred people attend bridge celebration
1970
Interstate 30 built across the Ouachita River, reducing traffic volume on AR 84
1976
Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department transferred bridge to Hot Spring County
May 8, 1980
Bridge closed after a state inspection found it in "very poor" condition
May 26, 1980
The "Rockport Bridge Committee" held meeting to discuss ways of saving the bridge
Oct. 25, 1982
After a fundraising drive, and a donation of labor by the county, bridge repairs were finally completed
Dec. 29, 1982
Bridge officially reopened to light traffic
Feb. 28, 1987
Debris from flash flooding caused serious damage to the piers
Mar. 3, 1987
Storm damage discovered and bridge immediately closed to traffic
1990
Another flood wiped out the bridge for good. The east and center spans were dredged out of the river, but the wreckage from the west span remained
2004
Construction finally started on replacement bridge, and the last of the wreckage hauled away

Facts 

Overview
Lost three-span through truss bridge over Ouachita River on AR 84 in Malvern
Location
Hot Spring County, Arkansas
Status
Destroyed by flooding
History
Built 1900 by Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co.; destroyed by flooding in 1990
Builders
- O.W. Childs of St. Louis, Missouri (Engineer)
- Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co. of St. Louis, Missouri
Design
West span: Pin-connected, 8-panel, 160-foot Camelback Pratt through truss
Center span: Pin-connected, 11-panel, 220-foot Parker through truss
East span: Pin-connected, 8-panel, 160-foot Camelback Pratt through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 209.0 ft.
Total length: 526.9 ft.
Deck width: 15.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.8 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+34.38604, -92.83845   (decimal degrees)
34°23'10" N, 92°50'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/514850/3804972 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Malvern North
Inventory numbers
NRHP 82000829 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
AHTD M1576 (Arkansas Highway and Transportation Dept. bridge number)
BH 10370 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 31, 2008: New photo from Wayne Kizziar
  • March 2, 2005: Posted new photos by Wayne Kizziar

Sources 

Comments 

Rockport Bridge
Posted June 2, 2016, by Connie Hilton (artataq [at] yahoo [dot] com )

This is a memory of mine come to life. I lived there. If you look real close you can see a structure between the silos. There is a small house there. It belonged to my God mother, Lela Donley. If you look over to the right you can see where we lived.

Rockport Bridge
Posted August 2, 2015, by david g

My grandpa said he saw it almost halfway up the trusses once in the 60s. The fire department gave him $200 to cut a log off it cuz nobody else would do it said he was 22.

Rockport Bridge
Posted August 2, 2015, by david g

Patrick feller. Im not sure. Just a old photo one of my freinds grand parents had

Rockport Bridge
Posted May 12, 2015, by Patrick Feller (nakrnsm [at] aol [dot] com)

That is a great picture of the bridge in a flood. Though faded, the color is still there in the print. Do you have any idea what film was used for the 1923 photo?

Rockport Bridge
Posted May 11, 2015, by dcguess92 (dcg [dot] 1380 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Heres a pic of Rockport bridge. May 11, 1923.. flood stage

Rockport Bridge
Posted July 24, 2011, by Grant Burris (grantburris [at] gmail [dot] com)

I certainly remember that concrete tower. As a kid I never knew what it was. I crossed the old bridge, that washed away, back about 1949. The water was so high that it was sloshing over the floor as we crossed. My dad waited a long time before we attempted to cross. I was about 5. I remember he said, "It could go at any time". The water was roaring as it ran under and around the bridge. It was only one lane wide. Well it held on long enough for us to cross. Apparently it lasted many more years. As we crossed that old tower was on the right side of the car. They had markings on it to tell how deep the river was. I can't remember how deep it was but it was easily up to the upper light colored area. I know it was deeper than I'd ever seen it either then or any time after that. I know I was really scared. I never forgot it. Just thought you'd like to know a little about the old bridge. On a clear night, you could hear the bridge timbers rattle ten miles away at our house when a vehicle crossed it, Of course, that was a long time ago.

Rockport Bridge
Posted January 23, 2007, by Mariecia Jones Bayhi (mynext50years [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I grew up not more than 2 miles from this bridge at the corner of Old Military and Hwy 270 across from the Rockport Methodist Church. I learned how to drive going across this bridge and seeing the runners on the deck brought back memories of fearing for my life! The boards they laid for the runners would split lengthwise and as the sun heated them up, the boards would curl and pull the nails out. So, not only did you fear driving off the bridge (it was SO narrow) you feared puncturing a tire.

My grandfather, Vernon Lancaster, worked for the water company and was responsible for the pumps housed in the silos. Small world!

I wish I had a dime for every time I have crossed the old bridge. I'd be wealthy. I recently was able to cross the new bridge while in the area visiting and it was so much better than the old one.

Rockport Bridge
Posted January 20, 2007, by Wayne Kizziar (wayne1701 [at] cableone [dot] net)

The "silo in creek" housed the in-take machinery for Rockport/Malverns original water system . If you look closely at some of the pictures you will see a small castle like structure as well. This served as the control room for the water intake system. Both used to be accessible by small walkways from the old bridge. Both structures are made of concrete and are on the national register of historic places.

Rockport Bridge
Posted January 11, 2007, by handysmurf (handysmurf7800 [at] gmail dot com)

this is off topic ...

But why in the heck is there a cilo in the middle of the creek?

Rockport Bridge
Posted August 10, 2006, by charles bowden (mtmn96 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

wow, this was a beautiful bridge, i am so sorry to see it gone..... thanks for the photos wayne so we can remember this lost bridge