4 votes

Haupt Creek Bridge


Haupt Creek Stewart Point Road

Looking west

Photo taken by Craig Philpott in September 2009


BH Photo #146304

Street View 

A Group History 

Written by John C Stutz

This span is a ~130’ through Pratt mainline railroad bridge of circa 1880, one of at least six that were recycled to minor rail lines in Sonoma and Marin Counties circa 1905-10. A CalTrans bridge report for one of these mentions drawings with the initials “G, H & S A”, suggesting the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio railroad, the Southern Pacific’s subsidiary in Texas. I believe these bridges represent original spans from the SP’s Sunset Route, dating from 1877-83. Similar spans were cascaded down to many of the SP’s branch lines on the West Coast, and to associated private lines like the Diamond & Caldor, in the same time frame, all part of SP’s Harriman era upgrading.

Of these six, one was sold to the Gualala lumber mill and erected on steel cylinder piers at their logging railroad’s crossing of the North fork of the Gualala river. As of 2018 it still stands on those piers, albeit raised about 6’ to clear floods, on the Gualala 501 Rd. On the Northwestern Pacific’s narrow gauge line along Tomales Bay to Duncan Mills and Cazadero, two spans replaced the Howe Trusses at the mouth of Keys Creek in 1906. The steel cylinder piers remain, adjacent to highway 1, two miles south of Tomales. In 1930, as the narrow gauge was lifted, one was re-erectd over Lagunitas Creek and Sir Francis Drake Blvd., in what is now Samuel P. Taylor State Park. That one was long since replaced by a modern bridge for the Cross Marin trail. The remaining three were used on the NWP’s standard gauge Russian River branch, replacing the washed out second crossing of the Russian River near Northwood, above Monte Rio, in 1909. That branch was abandoned in 1935. Several of its bridges were recycled for highway use, the Northwood spans among them. Two were erected on the Stewart Point – Skaggs Spring Road, at the Gualala River and Haupt Creek crossings, and one on the Cloverdale – Geysers Road over Big Sulphur Creek. The Gualala R. span was replaced circa 1995, while the remaining pair are still visible in Google Satellite View as of 2018/03.

These are typical examples of Phoenix patent bridges built by Clark, Reeves & Co. of the Phoenix Bridge Works. The patented feature involves the columns (posts or compression members), wrought iron tubes assembled from segments riveted together along radial flanges. This makes an extremely efficient post, in terms of strength to weight ratio, but one lacking in facility for lateral connections to bracing elements. The Phoenix column was widely used in the 1870’s and 80’s, in both bridges and buildings, but had been superseded by 1900. For further information, see Thomas R. Winpenny’s history of the Phoenix Bridge Co., “Without Fitting, Filing, or Chipping”.


Pinned Pratt through truss bridge over Haupt Creek on Stewart Point Skagg Springs Road
Sonoma County, California
Open to traffic
Built 1880, relocated 1909 to Monte Rio, relocated 1937 to this location
- Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania (Truss Fabricator)
Pinned Pratt through truss with Phoenix columns
Length of largest span: 129.9 ft.
Total length: 133.9 ft.
Deck width: 13.1 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Stewart Point Skagg Springs Road Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.66083, -123.32194   (decimal degrees)
38°39'39" N, 123°19'19" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/471989/4279189 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
203 ft. above sea level
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory number
BH 43377 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of July 2017)
Overall condition: Good
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 70 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • March 6, 2018: Essay added by John C Stutz
  • September 30, 2015: Updated by Daniel Ketchum: Caltrans Historic Highway Bridges of California book (published 1990) lists a build date of 1880 on page 50.
  • September 22, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added categories "Relocated", "Rail-to-road", "Pin-connected"
  • June 5, 2011: New photo from Craig Philpott
  • March 22, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: refined design added street view
  • March 21, 2010: New photos from Craig Philpott
  • March 1, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: Amended design.
  • February 19, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: Corrected design
  • September 13, 2009: Added by Craig Philpott

Related Bridges 



Haupt Creek Bridge
Posted February 11, 2014, by John Charles Stutz (john [dot] c [dot] stutz [at] nasa [dot] gov)

The Geysers Road, the Haupt Creek bridge, and the pre-1984 South Fork Guauala River bridge, are all typical 1870's era railroad bridges. Cal Trans documents mention drawings initialled GH&SA RR, suggesting the Southern Pacific's Texas subsidiary, and these spans are typical of those installed by the SP during initial construction of the Sunset and Oregon routes.

The 1909 build date quoted for the Geysers span, is actually when these spans were recycled to the NWP RR's Russian River branch, and installed above Monte Rio as a 3-span crossing. In the same time frame, similar spans were re-erected on the former NPCRR at Tomalas Estuary and Papermill Creek, and the Guauala RR's crossing of the North Fork. The later span still stands on the circa 1910 steel cylindrical piers, but was raised clear of the flood plain circa 1940.