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Medicine Creek Bridge


Photo taken by Nick Schmiedeler in December 2017


BH Photo #414548



Bedstead Warren pony truss bridge over Medicine Creek, 3.0 mi. south and 7.0 mi. west of Bloomington
Osborne County, Kansas
Open to traffic
Built 1912
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas
Three panel, riveted Bedstead Warren truss
Length of largest span: 36.1 ft.
Total length: 40.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.1 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.40867, -98.91603   (decimal degrees)
39°24'31" N, 98°54'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/507229/4362132 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
KS 000710651003820 (Kansas local bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 18345 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of December 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 22 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • December 23, 2017: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler
  • May 25, 2012: Updated by Robert Elder: Fixed location.
  • August 28, 2010: Updated by Robert Elder: Added Builder



Medicine Creek Bridge
Posted December 24, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This Bedstead Warren truss has a slightly different appearance from many of the others. Most remaining Bedstead Warren trusses seem to have diagonal numbers that were built up using battens. The diagonals on this bridge feature lattice instead of battens.

Medicine Creek Bridge
Posted December 24, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I think you are right. Looks like we have a Bedstead Warren. This is a great find as Bedstead Warrens are extremely rare these days. It looks like there's a few remaining in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. There are 100 of them listed on this website but the overwhelming majority of them have been demolished.

From what I can tell, the Bedstead Warren was never built in large numbers in Kansas. Thus, this bridge has very high local significance. That being said, I'm not sure that these bridges were ever that terribly common on a nationwide scale either.

Medicine Creek Bridge
Posted December 24, 2017, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

If you zoom photo 1 you can see the end post extending down in the shadow.

Medicine Creek Bridge
Posted December 23, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Now that I have seen Nick's photographs, I might have to reevaluate my interpretation of this bridge. I am beginning to think that it's not a true bedstead. Instead, I think it might be a very rare example of a Warren Pony Truss with vertical endposts.

On a Bedstead truss, the end posts extend downward below the deck and form the substructure of the bridge. On a standard bridge with vertical endposts, the endposts stop at the deck. A separate substructure forms the foundation for the bridge.

Vertical endposts of any kind are uncommon. This bridge is truly a rare example of its type. I hope that the Osborne County officials are aware of just how rare and significant this bridge is. I really appreciate the fact that Osborne county has allowed some of their historic bridges to stand abandoned.

Osborne county is a beautiful place and it has some great bridges.

Medicine Creek Bridge
Posted December 23, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Unique, indeed - a remote spot, a very very remote spot

Medicine Creek Bridge
Posted July 26, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I just added a KSHS PDF for this bridge. It is an unusual Warren Bedstead (or perhaps just a Warren with vertical endposts - I can't tell for sure). Despite its likely post-1900 construction date, it is an unconventional design.

According to the NBI, it is possibly eligible for the NRHP.