8 votes

Eagle's Nest Bridge


View from east bank

Photo taken by James Baughn in February 2016


BH Photo #348944



From HAER INVENTORY, Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory; EAGLE’S NEST BRIDGE, Pike County, MO CR18, Bridge No. 018001.8 Bridging the Salt River at Eagle’s Nest Ford was a process that took nearly three years to complete. Pike County Surveyor J.D. Beauchamp first viewed suitable sites for the bridge in June 1904. This was a preliminary survey, with no further action taken at that time. Then, in December 1904, the Pike County Court ordered Beauchamp to estimate the cost and determine the best location for a Salt River bridge between Eagle’s Nest Ford and Bullock’s Ford. A month later the Court ordered funds from Buffalo and Salt River Townships to be set aside for two years to pay for the proposed bridge. This order was later rescinded though, and in early February 1905 the Court established a special fund to pay for the structure. A year later, in February 1906, the Court finally ordered Beauchamp to solicit bids to build a bridge based on his designs. On March 5, 1906, the Missouri Bridge & Iron Company was awarded an $11,390.00 contract to construct a Salt River crossing just below Eagle’s Nest Ford. The contract called for a 295-foot main span and four forty-foot approach spans, and an 18-foot roadway. The substructure consisted of concrete-filled steel piers under the main span, and steel pedestals on concrete piers under the approach spans. Although Missouri B&I agreed to complete the project by the following January, the truss was not ready for traffic until June 1907. Today, Eagle’s Nest Bridge still functions in its’ original location. Possessing a high degree of historical integrity, the bridge remains little changed from its’ original appearance. Before the state highway department began building bridges in the 1920’s, the individual counties were responsible for erecting and maintaining such structures. Numerous long span trusses were erected over the Salt, Meramec, the Cuivre, the Grand and other major rivers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their pinned connections and relatively narrow roadway widths have made them likely targets for replacement however, and many of them have been subsequently replaced. As a result of decades of attrition, relatively few long-span trusses remain in use in Missouri. Eagle’s Nest Bridge is distinguished among these as a well preserved example of a relatively uncommon type of Pratt sub type – the Pennsylvania through truss. Even more significant is the bridge’s distinction as the longest pinned-connected truss, other than the Chouteau over the Missouri River. A graceful long span structure, it is one of Missouri’s most important early wagon trusses. Clayton Fraser, 14 September 1990.


Abandoned through truss bridge over Salt River on CR 115
Pike County, Missouri
Abandoned with deck removed
Future prospects
Available for reuse
Built 1907 by the Missouri Bridge & Iron Co.
- Missouri Bridge & Iron Co. of St. Louis, Missouri
Pin-connected, 14-panel Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 293.9 ft.
Total length: 450.0 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 13.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Ashburn Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.50552, -91.16988   (decimal degrees)
39°30'20" N, 91°10'12" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/657344/4374475 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 55 N., R. 2 W., Sec. 30
441 ft. above sea level
Inventory numbers
MO 082-018001.8 (Missouri off-system bridge number)
BH 22311 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 24, 2016: Updated by K. Allen Ballard: Changed name to actual Historic Name based on 1990 MO Historic Bridge Inventory; Added narrative from same document.
  • February 13, 2016: New photos from James Baughn
  • October 18, 2010: Updated by Jamie Forbes: Added elevation
  • June 6, 2005: Posted new photos



Ashburn Bridge
Posted August 23, 2016, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

In looking at the History Bridge Inventory it seems this bridge is named "Eagles Nest Bridge". I need to confirm this first & I will update name then. I was close by last Friday, but didn't have time to check in on it again. Last visit was probably 2007 'ish.

Ashburn Bridge
Posted April 24, 2014, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

As to the purpose of such a bridge in the 'boonies', I asked a local gent (now 80) who knows this area; he says this bridge was originally the MO Hwy 79 bridge prior to the concrete/paved roads we now have. This bridge is pretty wide for a wood deck through truss. Scenic Hwy 79 was not built until much later, (in the 1950's)

In Nov 2006, I took some photos here, mostly of my originally favored 35mm panoramic shots, physically pasted together after film processing, Pre-Photoshop. One multi-panel panorama, won Honorable Mention @ John Wood College, Quincy, photo contest.

Another man, Rev. Richard Epperson (Salt River Christian Church, New London) told me he worked a motor grader for Pike County and they were still snow plowing/grading Pike CR115 and this bridge into the very early 1980's.

Ashburn Bridge
Posted July 8, 2012, by Jäger Stein (CJager [at] herzeleid [dot] net)

As a young kid I used to crawl out on the bridge and fish from it, The story I always heard was it used to a Rail Road bridge.I was shocked to find it on here.

Ashburn Bridge
Posted July 6, 2012, by J Taylor (fozzie_tb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I remember this bridge as a child. We crossed it to get to Taylor Chapel on CR 115. I remember wondering why such a large steel bridge was out in the middle of nowhere connecting two dirt roads. It had a wooden plank deck and my mom was terrified of it every time my dad would cross it but we thought it was a great adventure. This was back in the early '70's. Years later I always wondered if I had imagined this bridge. To find a picture of it and see that it was real brings back a lot of memories of summers spent at my Great Grandmother place up in Louisiana, MO and our trips to Taylor Chapel. I think this calls for a road trip his summer to check to see if the bridge, and the chapel, are still there. Show my kids a little piece of my history and childhood.

Ashburn Bridge
Posted October 18, 2010, by Jamie Forbes (jwforbes [at] rollanet [dot] org)

A few pictures from my visit: Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ashburn Bridge
Posted March 22, 2007, by Bob Kasal (cherry63376 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This bridge is in the middle of nowwhere. I can not guess what purpose it would have had. It sure was fun finding it.