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Surprise School Bridge



Photo taken July 1978 by Robert L. Hayden for the Historic American Engineering Record

BH Photo #105421



Lost through truss bridge over South Grand River near Gaines, probably beyond the end of Route W
Henry County, Missouri
Destroyed by the creation of Truman Reservoir
8-panel Pratt through truss
Also called
Knisely Bridge (local name)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.25522, -93.64005   (decimal degrees)
38°15'19" N, 93°38'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/444000/4234326 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 21601 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


8-panel truss (356)
HAER documented (1,100)
Henry County, Missouri (45)
Lost (19,345)
Missouri (5,996)
Pratt through truss (4,659)
Pratt truss (8,134)
Through truss (13,070)
Truss (29,780)

Update Log 

  • August 2, 2016: Updated by Kelly McClanahan: Added pin using Quad map


  • HAER MO-4 - Surprise School Bridge
  • Kelly McClanahan


Surprise School Bridge
Posted October 30, 2008, by Darrin (dw1970 [at] centurytel [dot] net)

I've attached some pictures of the Surprise School Bridge (Knisely Bridge) site. A lot has changed since the last time I crossed the bridge back in the late 70's.

Approaching the bridge from the east could be a little treacherous since the grade was steep. Heading east going uphill could be just as bad. The road was like a washboard. My Dad said when he was a kid, it was even steeper and the state highway department did some blasting to create the roadway you see in the pictures.

Surprise School Bridge
Posted September 18, 2005, by Darrin Williams (dwilliams [at] watlow [dot] com)

This bridge was just two or three miles north of where my dad was raised, in Mt. Zion. Locally, it was known as the Knisely Bridge. The land bought to build the bridge was owned by the Knisely family. The family had farmed that area since sometime after the Civil War.

If I remember right, bridge construction was started around 1899 but halted due to a flood which tried to push the bridge off it's foundation. Once construction resumed, one of the Knisely boys was on the crew.

I'd been across the bridge a few times when I was a kid. I don't remember Route W. But I do know the road would take you to Brownington or Highway 13 just north of Deepwater.

It's been a several years since I've tried to do so but you can probably still get to the bridge site from Mt. Zion. I wouldn't try it in anything less than a 4 x 4, though. You have to by-pass an old concrete slab bridge and drive through the creek to do so.