Rating:
1 vote

Wildcat Creek Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Nick Schmiedeler in March 2017

Enlarge

BH Photo #382733

Map 

Facts 

Overview
Abandoned bridge over Wildcat Creek
Location
Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas
Status
Derelict/abandoned
Design
Steel stringer.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.18539, -96.62146   (decimal degrees)
39°11'07" N, 96°37'17" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/705435/4340044 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Manhattan
Land survey
T. 10 S., R. 7 E., Sec. 14
Inventory number
BH 57811 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Categories 

Abandoned (3,025)
Beam (11,965)
Kansas (2,705)
Manhattan, Kansas (8)
Riley County, Kansas (21)
Steel stringer (4,694)

Update Log 

  • March 11, 2017: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler
  • August 31, 2013: Added by Robert Elder

Sources 

  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Nick Schmiedeler

Comments 

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted March 13, 2017, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Fairman Lake was built in the '30s as a private reservoir, perhaps marketed as a fishing lake. The road and bridge were probably built at that time and may have been designed and built by a private contractor.

It would be interesting to see if there's evidence of how the deck was attached.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted March 11, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

What I would refer to as a Mongrel!

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted March 11, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Well, based on the photos, this appears to be a very bizarre steel stringer. More specifically, a steel stringer with tiny outriggers...

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted March 11, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler

Easy hop out of the car in a cul-de-sac and a 20 yard walk across an open lot to this one. Odd entry up onto this - abutments seem ok but not solid, no attempt to block it off or keep people from tight-roping across it, but in the snow today, thought better. Ideas on what simple construction-type might have been?

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted September 3, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

No worries. I had to look at the map for a couple minutes before I figured out the location. Manhattan has grown quite a bit since those old maps were made, and there are lots of roads now that did not exist back then.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted September 2, 2013, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

Clark and Robert are correct. Even though I posted the lat/lon - I was looking at the wrong curve of Wildcat and was confusing two roads! Sorry for the confusion. *sheepish smile*

The road is shown at the west end of the PDF topo. And that road shows up in the historicaerials 1958 topo.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted September 2, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I think the road to the lake is still on that map, just near the western edge of it. Look to the west of the westernmost railroad bridge. I believe that railroad bridge is the one that is now visible from Seth Child Avenue.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted September 2, 2013, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

Err, Clark, the road and bridge are just of the west edge of that map. And I can't seem to find where that map came from so I can get then next one west.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted September 1, 2013, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)
Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted September 1, 2013, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

That's curious, Clark. I was looking at topographical maps from historicaerials.com. No road show in 1950, 1954,or 1958. Were did you find the 1955 topo map?

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted September 1, 2013, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

I don't see the road on a 1925 topo but it is on the 1955. I'm guessing the road was probably put in around when the guy built the fishing lake in 1935. If it was privately built then a truss might have been relocated. It seems likely that if privately built he would have chosen a simple, cheap solution.

Neither the 1941 nor 1968 county road map shows it as part of the county system and these dates bracket the 1955 topo.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Matt Lohry

I just found the rotatable views that everyone was talking about, and it is definitely not a girder system as I mentioned earlier , but I do think that it is an under-the-deck system of some sort...it kind of looks like it may be the remains of a concrete open- spandrel arch system, but it doesn't appear to me to be a truss system of any kind, but hard to tell for sure...

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Rober Elder

Deck Plate Girder... yes that is another possibility. Maybe I can check someday unless someone beats me to it. Old bridges keep reappearing as satellite imagery continues to improve.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Matt Lohry

Google Earth's historic images suggest that this bridge had a 15-foot wide road deck until sometime around 2008 when it was removed. The steel sides that are visible after the deck was removed are only about 11 feet apart and are very thick, much thicker than your average truss upper chord. The x-bracing connecting the sides is visible in the 8/2010 view, as well as the sides. I believe that this is most likely a deck-plate girder bridge just based on the dimensions of the steel vs. the roadway, but as mentioned before, only an actual field check will verify this.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Anonymous

That last anonymous post was mine... The computer forgot who I was, I guess. Anyway.

Prior to 1978 - no road, no houses south of the creek.

1978 - road crossing, 4 houses

1982 - road crossing, 1 house

1995 - road crossing, 3 houses

Looking at the 1909 plat of Riley county suggests no road there. I'm looking for 1930 to 1975 maps, but not much luck.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thanks, Anonymous. Of course, if a field check reveals that it is modern, the bridge can always be struck from bridgehunter.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Anonymous

The maps I found prior to 1978 show no road, and no house. The 1978 map has a house on the south side and a road crossing Wildcat Creek where this bridge is.

That doesn't mean it isn't an older span that was moved, or an older span that was abandoned and then reused.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

From the west it looks exactly like a Bowstring.

I wondered about it being a MOB because it is so narrow, but I don't think it is. If it were a modern MOB, it would probably have a hiking/biking trail leading to it. Also, there is no evidence of recent trail construction here.

This area began receiving European settlement in substantial numbers in the 1850s and then experienced a major population growth in the 1870s and 1880s. Therefore, it is conceivable that the occasional Bowstring truss could appear amid the trees. Bowstrings were used in the area, and in rather high numbers.

This seems like an unlikely place for an 1870s or 1880s bridge as it does not appear to connect directly with downtown Manhattan or with Kansas State University. That being said, if it is a Bowstring bridge, then I would want to investigate the existence of old routes between Manhattan and Fort Riley. Such a road would have to cross Wildcat Creek somewhere.

This bridge is located directly due west of the Old KSU Football Stadium, Manhattan Christian College and Aggieville. If you were going from downtown Manhattan to Fort Riley in the 1870s, you would have to go slightly north to get to this crossing.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Let's just hope that it's not a "Bowstring-ish knockoff" MOB!

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

If you rotate the Google imagery three times, so that the view is from the west, the structure does look suspiciously bowstring-ish.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Going way out on a limb here...but does anybody think that this could be a Bowstring pony truss? The view from the west made me think of this. The view from the south shows the shadow of a possible truss of some sort.

KSHS was very good at locating bowstrings in their 1980s survey, so it is not likely they missed one, but you never know.

A Bowstring would have the lightweight members and possibly the narrow width seen here.

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I followed the imagery South from the bridge and it appears to me that there is evidence of a road that once existed on that end. Part of it has been re-purposed and other parts are hidden in the trees but it is there. Of course the land to the North has been largely altered due to the housing addition.

I do think we have something here...hopefully a good one!

Wildcat Creek Bridge
Posted August 31, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have made this entry for our mystery bridge in Manhattan. For now, I am just calling it a truss until a field check can verify a more specific design. I am also wondering if it might be a steel stringer with the deck stripped off. That would account for the narrow width.

It appears that the bridge is old enough to at least have some level of historical significance, thus I figured it was worthy of a listing.