Rating:
16 votes

Old Richardsville Road Bridge

Photos 

Old Richardsville Road Bridge Overview

The Old Richardsville Road Bridge is a three span bowstring bridge over the Barren River just to the north of Bowling Green, KY on Old Richardsville Road.

Photo taken by James McCray

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BH Photo #110550

Map 

Facts 

Overview
Three span Bowstring Arch Truss bridge over Barren River on Old Richardsville Road in Bowling Green
Location
Warren County, Kentucky
Status
Open to traffic.
History
Built 1889
Builder
- King Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio
Design
Three Span Bowstring Through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 138.1 ft.
Total length: 422.8 ft.
Deck width: 11.2 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.6 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 26, 1980
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.02056, -86.44722   (decimal degrees)
37°01'14" N, 86°26'50" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/549170/4097295 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Bowling Green North
Average daily traffic (as of 2006)
165
Inventory numbers
NRHP 80004496 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
KY 114-C00011N (Kentucky bridge number)
BH 18950 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 2016)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 17.6 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 12, 2017: New photos from Jack Schmidt
  • December 28, 2016: Updated by Nathan Holth: Bridge open to traffic per Nov 2016 site visit.
  • March 24, 2015: Updated by Art Suckewer: Updated status - closed for redecking, repairs. Corrected year built
  • May 18, 2013: New photos from Larry Dooley
  • June 21, 2010: New photos from James McCray
  • June 20, 2010: New photos from J.P.
  • May 3, 2009: Updated by C Hanchey: updated NRHP info
  • March 8, 2008: Updated by James McCray
  • January 29, 2008: New photos from James McCray

Sources 

  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • C Hanchey - cmh2315fl [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Larry Dooley
  • Nathan Holth
  • Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • 1980s Rehab Article

Comments 

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 30, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

You found it. Outstanding.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 29, 2018, by Michael Page (jellicle2210 [at] windstream [dot] net)

This image is dated 1886, only 3 years earlier than the 1889 date listed for the bridge. But, I think it pretty solidly establishes that a 3 span Bowstring bridge (without the blocky top braces) on stone piers was there prior to 1889. Wilkerson Island and the boatlanding (complete with packet steamer at the landing) are plainly visible in the background.

https://westernkentuckyuniversity.pastperfectonline.com/phot...

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 29, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

that is awesome info. I've included it in our letter to the county with a credit to your historic finds. I know that the county clerk has great interest and this map fits in. Keep it up. and THANK YOU.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 28, 2018, by Michael Page (jellicle2210 [at] windstream [dot] net)

I just stumbled up on something a bit more interesting. I hope I'm not wearing out my welcome. I just love that old bridge. :)

This is a map showing some kind of permanent river crossing (bridge?) in that exact location. The map was draw up by D.G. Beers & Co. In 1877. :)

https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3953w.la000242/?r=0.365,0.871,...

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 28, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

A creative engineer in the late 1880s that ordered sale parts to create a bridge? Thanks so much because i coukdnt find maos to support the iron. I think we have an incredible hybrid bridge here. I have talked to David Simmons and seen patents, but your research goes along with what Nels is saying too.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 28, 2018, by Michael Page (Jellicle2210 [at] windstream [dot] net)

Please feel free. Most of the information came from the WKU archives and the KY Digital Library. Just let me know if you need links to the articles.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 27, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Great research. We are submitting a proposal to repair and reopen. May i use some of what you have found?

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 22, 2018, by Michael Page (jellicle2210 [at] windstream [dot] net)

This is turning out to be a lot of fun. I've still not found anything referencing a bridge prior to the 1889 date on the plaque, but I have found out a lot of "big picture" info that would support a bridge being built there out of necessity at the end of the war. Bowling Green was actually a major transportation "hub" at the time, with the Railroad (north-south) crossing paths with the Barren-Green river system (east-west). The retreating Confederates destroyed the railroad bridge, and those retreating from the town of Woodbury dumped boulders and scrap iron into the lock chamber at the dam. The lock and dam at Woodbury locked up the confluence of both the Green and Barren rivers, and totally stopped all steamboat and packet travel above that point. The Union Army had the railroad bridge repaired before the end of the war, but the damage to the locks was not, and the system was allowed to deteriorate for the rest of the war. When the war ended, no action was taken on the river until 1868, when the government leased navigation to a private company, and it was around 1870/71 before they got the river open again. Building a bridge would have been a perfect solution to getting producers of goods north of the river access to the railroad. In fact, the path of the original Richardsville Road made a short loop around to where the small scale "portage railroad" ended near the docks. It's very possible the bridge was built in a "get 'er done" fashion in the late 1860's, with strengthening and improvements done at the later dates.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 16, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

We were thinking late 1860s. Thanks for the research.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 15, 2018, by Michael Page (jellicle2210 [at] windstream [dot] net)

If it's of any help...Bowling Green was the Confederate capital of Kentucky early in the civil war, and several good maps were drawn up of the area for military use. As of 1863/64, there was not a bridge there, nor was there even a road in that location. It would have to had been late 1860's at the very earliest.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted May 11, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The team visits this bridge for Warren County. We will be providing an estimate for the engineers working drawings and repairs to the county as as soon as possible.

Cant wait to delve more into the history of incredible trabsformation of this bridge.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 11, 2018, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

James... the issue is more complex than that. If the bridge can be proven to be one of the oldest bridges in Kentucky than this raises its state level of significance... giving it a better chance of funding. If the bridge can be proven to be one of the oldest king bowstrings in the country, this raises its national significance... giving it a better chance of funding. Here are the facts:

1. Unusual shoes and bottom chord details at the end unlike those ever seen before

2. Bottom chord eyebar/pin/splice matches ca 1871 details of Springfield Bridge in Arkansas. Does not use the knife design used in later bowstrings.

3. Archaic King Bridge Company plaque design on bowstring top chord, older than the usual oval shape used on bowstrings.

4. 1889 King plaque on overhead bracing. Purpose/origin unknown. Research needed.

5. On the overhead bracing (not original to the bowstring), Carnegie brand with an inset "H" at the last "e" is a logo used starting in the 1920s. Thus suggesting the existing bracing seen was installed in the 1920s. Research needed.

I cannot claim to know the exact history, but with research it would be nice to prove a theory that the bowstring truss was fabricated by King Bridge in the late 1860s to early 1870s, with "something" happening in 1889 and "something" happening in the 1920s.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 11, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It does matter for these old bridges to figure out the story and not believe engineers who have their own fiscal agendas now or historians who dont quite know and do your own homework. It's an old bridge, modified early, for stength and height, which allowed it to stay open. Hopefully we can get back to open so a few folks can actually drive across. That's what is important. 20 years is a big deal and we have done our research to further the discussion.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 10, 2018, by James McCray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I am going to throw my 2 cents in here....

Some of you think its an 1889 bridge and some of you think its an 1860's bridge.

I say its an old bridge.

There.

Issue settled.

The bridge will live on.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 9, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Oops. Please delete dupes....we all make mistakes.

Lol

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 9, 2018, by Anonymous

Not an 1889 bowstring. How do we fact check NRHP..

Details and research. The shoes are a fix according to David Simmons but this is an early King bowstring because of the patents and details and placque.

We're researching. Floating possibilities and discussuon, talking. The community is larger than you can imagine, a lot of it not on here because of the bashing when there is much fun to be had.

Weve got the contract to see if BACH and gang can get it open by repairing the problemd.

Glad I questioned and looked and noted from site visits but i dont post much here anymore.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 9, 2018, by Anonymous

Not an 1889 bowstring. How do we fact check NRHP..

Details and research. The shoes are a fix according to David Simmons but this is an early King bowstring because of the patents and details and placque.

Were researching. Floating possibilities and discussuon, research. The community is larger than you can imagine, a lot of it not on here because of the bashing.

Weve got the contract t

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 9, 2018, by Anonymous

Not an 1889 bowstring. How do we fact check NRHP..

Details and research. The shoes are a fix according to David Simmons but this is an early King bowstring because of the patents and details and placque.

Were researching. Floating possibilities and discussuon, research. The community is larger than you can imagine, a lot of it not on here because of the bashing.

Weve got the contract t

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 9, 2018, by Anonymous

Not an 1889 bowstring. How do we fact check NRHP..

Details and research. The shoes are a fix according to David Simmons but this is an early King bowstring because of the patents and details and placque.

Were researching. Floating possibilities and discussuon, research. The community is larger than you can imagine, a lot of it not on here because of the bashing.

Weve got the contract t

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted March 17, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This detail, late 1860s for the bowstring. Slotted and square. Not round, threaded with a nut.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted March 14, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)
Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted March 9, 2018, by Michael Page (mjpageky [at] windstream [dot] net)

The bridge is in no danger, but may have to be closed to vehicle traffic. It's currently closed "pending further inspection".

http://www.bgdailynews.com/news/historic-richardsville-bridg...

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted March 24, 2015, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

Flooring is currently undergoing replacement -

http://www.wbko.com/home/headlines/Repairs-Temporarily-Close...

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted August 31, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

RIP Mr. Garvin. Hopefully the bridge will live on as part of his legacy.

Can someone with the appropriate editorial powers move Michael Page's post so that it is associated with this bridge?

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted January 29, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

What a fantastic bridge!

I didn't know about this one until the day I came across a picture of it......on a Jones Soda bottle.

I still have that bottle.....much to my wife's chagrin!

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted January 29, 2011, by Matthew Lohry

Fortunately, it appears that the deterioration of the bridge is restricted to the wood that the deck is made of, which is easy and cheap to replace, and doesn't affect historic integrity.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted January 29, 2011, by J.P.

great photos.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted January 29, 2011, by Barry Griffith (timberhead)

I took these pictures Jan26, 2011 in a blanketing snow.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted November 15, 2010, by Mike Page (mike [dot] page [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Although this bridge was beautifully restored 2 decades ago, it's beginning to fall into disrepair again. I rode a motorcycle across the bridge recently, and noticed that several deck boards had fallen completely through.

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 6, 2010, by Mike Page (mike [dot] page [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The bridge may very well be haunted, I have no idea. But as for cars rolling across it; I've kayaked under it, and the bridge is on a slight incline. I'd wager that basketballs and beer kegs would roll across it too.

Just an observation...

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted April 6, 2010, by Mike Page (mike [dot] page [at] hotmail [dot] com)

A nice article in the local paper about David Garvin, the man who pretty much saved the Richardsville Road and State Street bridges in Warren County, KY single handed, with his own money.

http://bgdailynews.com/articles/2010/04/02/news/news5.txt

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted December 30, 2008, by Morgan (shortnsweet182 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Some friend and I went on the bridge last night and our car really did get pushed all the way to the other side of the bridge when we were in neutral. we didn't put powder on the car for handprints but we plan to go back and try again. Do you know the story behind it? who the woman is and all that? I really would love to know.

thanks,

Morgan

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted July 17, 2008, by audrey deweese (adeweese_chevy [at] yahoo [dot] com)

i have heard ghost stories of this bridge ever since i was little and i was just wondering if any body knew if they were true? they were about a girl who got killed and they say if you stop she will push you across the bridge and that if you but powder on your trunk you will see her had prints. please e-mail me back!!!!

Old Richardsville Road Bridge
Posted March 14, 2008, by Anthony Dillon (dillon [dot] fam [at] att [dot] net)

Glad to see pictures of this bridge. I have been looking for information on it since I "found" it on a Jones Soda bottle. I knew from looking at it that it was a King B.C. product, and that it was very long. Thanks for the pics.