Rating:
3 votes

Rocky Ford Bridge

Photos 

Yes, this is the same bridge that was featured in the movie Murder Ordained. My purpose in visiting the bridge was to record the design of the bridge itself, not to investigate or speculate on the events featured in the movie. This bridge is an eleven panel, pin connected, Pratt through truss. This photo was taken looking north across the bridge.

Photo taken by Robert Elder in July 2003

Enlarge

BH Photo #111861

Map 

Facts 

Overview
Through truss bridge over Cottonwood River, 7.0 mi. west and 0.5 mi. south of Neosho Rapids
Location
Lyon County, Kansas
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built ca. 1910
Design
Pratt through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 214.8 ft.
Total length: 219.1 ft.
Deck width: 15.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.0 ft.
Also called
Cottonwood River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.36591, -96.11496   (decimal degrees)
38°21'57" N, 96°06'54" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/752059/4250355 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Emporia SE
Inventory numbers
KS 000560951005247 (Kansas local bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 17992 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 06/2015)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 26.2 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2007)
30

Update Log 

  • September 22, 2016: New photos from Ron Reber
  • August 19, 2013: Updated by Robert Elder: Bridge has been re-opened to traffic.
  • August 15, 2013: Updated by Robert Elder: Bridge has been closed after being struck by a tree.
  • July 14, 2010: Updated by Robert Elder: Added to Cottonwood River (Kansas) category
  • January 26, 2010: Updated by Robert Elder: Adjusted GPS Coordinates.
  • January 20, 2010: Updated by Robert Elder: Added Alternate Name
  • December 5, 2009: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited GPS Coordinates
  • July 15, 2008: Updated by Robert Elder: Updated categories
  • February 27, 2008: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited "Design"
  • February 18, 2008: New photos from Robert Elder

Sources 

  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Ron Reber
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth

Comments 

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted December 23, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nathan:

I had been thinking the same thing. The Carnegie brands were one feature of this bridge that led me to question the Kansas Default Date of 1910. I have generally had a rough date of 1885 - 1900 in mind, given the brands, generally standardized design, and large amouts of lacing for built up members.

It is good to get your feedback on this one.

Robert

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted December 22, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The Carnegie brands on this bridge use the style font used in the 1880s until around 1895, so this bridge is for sure at least older than 1895.

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted August 19, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Apparently this bridge has been re-opened to traffic again. If anybody plans to visit this bridge in the next few weeks, just beware that some roads in the region may still be in need of repair due to recent flooding.

http://www.kvoe.com/news.htm

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted August 15, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This bridge was hit by a tree and has been closed indefinitely. I consider this bridge to be of high significance given its length and the fact that it is likely pre-1900 and possibly built of wrought iron.

I do not know its current condition, but I really hope that it is not beyond repair.

http://www.emporiagazette.com/area_news/article_23a3c690-ff7...

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted September 17, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Excellent link - good information.

An additional note - this bridge is sometimes known as the B--d Bridge, in reference to the events of 1983, but I am deliberately avoiding using or adding this name to Bridgehunter. There are other websites that discuss these events and feature supposed paran0rma1 experiences at the bridge. I would prefer that this website not be among them.

Typological obfuscations intended to thwart certain searches.

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted September 16, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Here is a section from the King Bridge Museum that talks about the family and how they were all involved.

http://www.kingbridgeco.com/all_in_the_z_king_family.htm

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted September 16, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nathan, Anthony:

Great discussion.

So, George King was the western division of the King Bridge Co? I was wondering if they were connected. There are a very limited number of George E. King Bridge Co. structures remaining in KS and MO, so the theory that they could have been responsible for this bridge seems plausible.

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted September 16, 2010, by Nathan Holth

Now George King... that it could very well be. George King seems almost like a completely different bridge company in terms of style and design versus the Zenas King operation in Cleveland.

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted September 15, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Well......just speculation on my part........ But it made me think of Bruns Bridge, another very long pinned Pratt from the 1880's. That span is credited to King's Western plant (George King).

http://bridgehunter.com/mo/franklin/mill-hill/

The portals are somewhat different, but there appears to be some similarities as well.

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted September 15, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This is all speculation of course, but I don't see the King Bridge Co. details in this bridge that I would expect in a bridge of this caliber. However, I do agree it has the potential to be older than 1910.

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted September 15, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Anthony:

Thanks for this information. I have been suspecting the same thing, but I sense a research project someday.

Rocky Ford Bridge
Posted September 14, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The more I look at this span.......the more i think it is from the 1880's-1890's period. And if I had to take a guess at the fabricator, I would go with the King Bridge Company.

Cottonwood River Bridge
Posted September 14, 2010, by Sheldon (sheldon_wiens77 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I really need more information of this bridge. I've been viewing it every single day and nothing had changed. Photos would really work.

Cottonwood River Bridge
Posted April 13, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

There were some firms that felt confident in building very long Pratt through spans. The Lafayette Bridge Company was building nearly 200 foot long spans in the 1890's, and the Elkhart Bridge & Iron Company exceeded 200 feet in the 2nd decade of the twentieth century. Both used pinned connections in these spans, so without documentation the bridge could be from either era.

Cottonwood River Bridge
Posted April 13, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This is another bridge for which I will question the Kansas default date of 1910. I suspect that this bridge could possibly be pre-1900 based on the fact that it is pin-connected (which was slowly being phased out by 1910-1915), the presence of V-lacing and Town lacing on the built-up members, and the fact that every full panel is countered.

I have frequently considered a philosophical question when photographing this bridge. If you are going to build a 215 foot span, why not use a Whipple Truss, or a Parker truss instead of a Pratt?

So many county records, so little time...