Photo taken by Robert L Elder
BH Photo #103152
Glad to know the bridge has survived all the flooding over the years. I crossed it many times back in the early to mid 1960's as a child in Independence.
In the early 60's there was still some amount of rotted decking on the bridge (near the outer edges). Later (perhaps '64-'65) it was removed by the City/County.
Even with the decking gone....you could *carefully* pick your way across the framework to the other side of the Verdigris.
There was rope swing on that side that we kids used to swing into the river. It was a bit difficult to claw your way back up the steep bank there, but we did it just the same.
I lived at the corner of Burns and Myrtle from 1977(78)-1988. Climbed that bridge many times, but never took a picture of it. Amazing memories of that river and bridge. Know of any pictures of it when it was in good shape?
I did a drive by field visit to this bridge. The road is still posted "No Trespassing", but the bridge is still standing. It survived the floods of 2019.
That new Streetview really shows the condition of the area around this bridge. A nationally significant bridge remains in danger...
Having a sapling growing out of the pylon is never a good sign. One of Nick's recent photographs shows this problem well.
An abandoned bridge will not stand forever. At some point, this bridge, like all others, will need maintenance/restoration.
I am glad that you think there would be interest in preserving this bridge. Restoring it in place sounds great. Hopefully, it would be safe from flooding. Thankfully, it is rather high above the river, which has no doubt helped it survive for 144 years thus far. Now, as long as the stone pylons are stable...
The historic society's downtown museum has photos of this bridge loaded with 30 cattle. The first reference to loading I have ever seen. I think there would be some interest in this bridge being restored there, as it was part of the King factory production that was in Iola for a few years before relocating (got a better offer) from Topeka.
We would love to restore this bridge, it may not even need a lot of work.
Thanks for the new pictures.
Thanks for the photographs you have uploaded. I visited this bridge a couple years ago and I noticed the no-trespassing signs. I talked with a nearby homeowner, and he confirmed that the bridge is still in a public right of way.
My suspicion is that nearby homeowners are concerned about parties, vandalism, and other such activities near the bridge.
I shot this from the street on Sunday, August 23, 2015. There is a stretch of what appears to be private property (hence the No Trespassing sign) in front of the bridge. The iron still seems to be standing, although I couldn't see much through the trees.
While not directly related to bridges, tomorrow (May 15th) marks the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Rebel Creek. This small, and largely forgotten, Civil War battle was fought roughly three miles north of this bridge. The site is not accessible to the public.
This bridge was built only 8 years later.
With regards to the question about when the decking was removed from the bridge, I can tell you that it was sometime in 1964-1965.
Prior to that...there was some amount of decking, but it was rotted and missing to a large degree.
Vehicular traffic would not have been possible. I do not know what year the bridge was closed/condemned, only that it was not in use in 1963 when we moved to Independence.
When the bridge still had decking it was possible (if you dared)...to walk across the span... if you stayed near the outside edge.
After removal of the decking, you had to "Shinny" over the top of the bows. As kids...we did this to get to the other side of the river. Not the smartest thing.
Glad that is working for you! Happy bridgehunting.
Am in Independence. May have to go back to chanute but tomorrow I find the Bowstring. Robert your bridge hunting itinerary is great.
According the the NHRP nomination form (see added link in the links section), the decking was removed sometime in the 1960's--no surprise, as any evidence of any roadway leading to this bridge from either direction is nonexistent. The last traffic to use the bridge may have been right around this timeframe, but on the other hand, it may have been abandoned long before the deck was removed. The only way to find out for sure may be either to track down existing local records, or word of mouth from locals who have been around long enough to remember...
I am curious about when this bridge was closed to traffic.
As an update to my previous comment, I will be adding photographs showing the two types of columns. This bridge is rather difficult to photograph as it is barricaded and access is limited.
After a field inspection, I have confirmed that this bridge was constructed using both Phoenix and Keystone columns. Massive Phoenix columns were used for the main span, while smaller Keystone columns are found on the approach span. Thus, it appears that the Wrought Iron Bridge Co. used columns from competing firms for this bridge. I will try to find out if the smaller span is original to this bridge, or if it was a later addition.
To add to a recent discussion, the KSHS does consider the top chord of this bridge to be a Phoenix Column.
I learned about this bridge in the late 90s while looking over an old city map I'd managed to find on the 'net, noticing that Burns street actually crossed the Verdigris! I biked to that spot, expecting only to find the dead end, but was surprised to find the bridge itself. A very neat find! It's nice to see it represented as it is here.
Just cruising the INTERNET picking up information on the floods affecting Independence, Kansas.
My Family lived there from 1963 to 1968.
One of my brothers and myself (on a mutual dare) walked across the TOP of this bridge (on the bows) to the other side.
Back then....it was known simply as the "Old Condemned Bridge".
Someone spotted us...and called the police, we were nearly on the other side when they arrived...and we hurried to get across when they starting shouting at us.
Once across, we ran quite a long way up the river to the old spillway where we crossed back over.
We then made our way through the woods back to our home at Myrtle and East Second street. My mother would have skinned us alive had she ever found out about that stupid stunt.
Independence was a great town to live in, in those days gone by.