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Petit Jean River Triple Bowstring Bridge


Petit Jean River Triple Bowstring Bridge

Original pen & ink drawing of bridge done in the early 1880's. Courtesy: Yell County Historical Society.

J. Randall Houp collection


BH Photo #226030


Historic significance: 

Written by J Randall Houp

I have too much history on this bridge, but would like to include a small piece which gives a good insight on the first bridge built at this location before the triple bowstring was constructed. It was an all wood bridge constructed in the 1870s. An early traveler would record the following note; "From Dardanelle we followed the region now traversed by hyway 7. Where we crossed the Petit Jean River, there was a toll bridge and we had to pay toll for everything that crossed, but this toll permitted us to pass over a long, real good bridge over a low flat ground that could hardly have been traveled over without a bridge, which was, as I remember, a quarter mile long, and had two places in its length wide enough for wagons to pass. I think it was just a short distance north of Ola. It was dark when we reached the end of the bridge, where we had to pull up a steep hill and go down another which was very rocky and came to a small stream where we camped for the night. It was reported that there was no one living on the route from where we crossed the Petit Jean River to near Hot Springs and that the territory was infested with robbers."


Lost Bowstring through truss bridge over Petit Jean River on old road from Dardanelle, Arkansas to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Yell County, Arkansas
Replaced by new bridge
Built 1881, by King Bridge Co., Cleveland, Ohio.
- King Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio
Triple bowstring bridge consisting of One 100 foot bowstring and two 65 foot bowstrings, and two 100 foot all wood approaches on both ends.
Length of largest span: 100.0 ft.
Total length: 430.0 ft.
Deck width: 12.0 ft.
Also called
Rocky Crossing Triple Bowstring Bridge.
Rocky Crossing Bridge (original name)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.07494, -93.19952   (decimal degrees)
35°04'30" N, 93°11'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/481810/3881372 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 51455 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

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


  • J. Randall Houp