PetitJean AR 7 pre-1930 piers.
These are located west of current bridge, and also west of removed 1930 Pony truss bridge.
Photo taken by Gene McCluney in February 2009
BH Photo #132917
David: I appreciate you doing this; it is long overdue. The original piers at this location were built in 1881 and were a lot taller than these railroad piers. The road bridge held three bow string bridges and two hundred foot approaches. At that time the Petit Jean River was considered a navigable river. Bridges constructed had to be tall enough for boats to pass. Thanx!!
I have revised the listing to reflect the former railroad. However, I am unable to revise the photo caption.
James: I see that this tid-bit of false information still has not been corrected. These ARE NOT the piers to an earlier road bridge; the orginal piers to the bridge built here in 1881 WERE NOT at this location. This can be confirmed by several of my close railroad friends which also include the former President of the Arkansas Railroad Club. These are the piers from the original Dardanelle, Ola, and Southern Railroad that operated in the early 1900s. Please post as: DARDANELLE, OLA, & SOUTHERN RAILROAD BRIDGE, Petit Jean River, Yell County, Arkansas. Thank you, Randall Houp,Bridge Historian, Yell Co. Historical Society.
James: Please make a correction on the name of these remaining bridge piers across the Petit Jean River. They are the remnants of the old railroad bridge built by the Dardanelle-Ola Railroad. The first bridge at this location was all wood, piers & all! Thanx. Randall Houp, Yell County Bridge Historian, Yell Co. Historical Society.
John: Appreciate the data on these piers. The first bridge across Rocky Crossing at this location was constructed by Yell County in 1869 by William H. Ferguson. It was made of all white oak. The bridge was legally cut down in the early 1870s by Captain John Bright Howell so he could get his steamboat, the "Danville" up the Petit Jean River to load it with cotton in Danville.
At this time the Petit Jean River was considered to be a navigable river by the State of Arkansas and anything that obstructed the river could be removed or cut-down. In 1881 a triple bowstring bridge, 230 feet long, was constructed at this site by the King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio. With the all wood approaches on both ends the bridge totaled 430 feet in total length. (Randall Houp, Yell County Bridge Historian, Yell County Historical Society)
These piers are not from one of the old Hwy 7 bridges. These piers are what is left of the abandoned railroad line that ran from Ft. Smith to Paris, then from Paris to Ola, passing through Dardanelle and Centerville. The line from Paris to Ola was abandoned and the tracks were removed by about 1938. If you drive past these piers on Hwy 7 toward Ola, look closely in the woods off to the right (west) and you can see the ridge that once held the railroad tracks running along side the Hwy. I have no documentation with me, but there is a guy in Dardanelle who has photos and documentation of this former railroad line. Last I talked to him, he worked at the Hobby shop store in Downtown Dardanelle.
James: Please make a correction on this. These ARE NOT the piers to the first bridge! Essay to follow soon on this. The first bridge built at this location was all wood; piers and all and was constructed in the 1870s. In the 1800s and early 1900s this was known as the "ROCKY CROSSING". Full details to follow that can be backed up by documentation and sources. "Ghostbridgehunter"