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Bear Creek Covered Bridge 25-87-02x


Bear Creek Covered Bridge Hannibal New London Toll Road

Although this bridge was reportedly built by James Key in 1859, it is listed among the assets of the New London Plank Road (Toll Road) Company in a 1855 newspaper report and is described as completed and roofed over in a January 1853 (Hannibal Journal) description of the first five miles of the toll road. The stone abutments and burr-arch design are typical features of the bridges of Joseph C. Elliott of Payson Illinois, who built of number of similar covered bridges in NE Missouri, including the Union covered bridge which survives. This photo predates a 1928 storm that blew the roof and siding off.

Photo provided by Rusty Weisman courtsey of George Pollard

View this photo at george-1.smugmug.com

BH Photo #249306



A January 20 1853 reprint in the Glasgow Weekly Times (Glasgow Mo) newspaper of a recent story from the Hannibal Journal newspaper described a drive over the recently completed northernmost part of the Hannibal and New London Plank Road - extending from Hannibal 5 miles south. That article noted that:

"The bridge over Bear Creek is finished and roofed over. It is a handsome structure, and looks strong enough to last fifty years"

The Bear Creek covered bridge was located about 2000' NE of the US Route 61 bridge that was built in 1931 on new alignment to replaced it.


Lost covered bridge over Bear Creek on the Hannibal - New London Toll Road
Hannibal, Ralls County, Missouri
No longer standing
Built 1853; replaced 1931
- Hannibal & New London Plank Road & Bridge Co.
Burr arch-truss
Total length: 0.8 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.68139, -91.40459   (decimal degrees)
39°40'53" N, 91°24'17" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/636818/4393611 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Hannibal West
Land survey
T 56 N R 5 W, NE 1/4 of SW 1/4, NE 1/4, Sec 1,
515 ft. above sea level
Inventory numbers
WGCB 25-87-02X (World Guide to Covered Bridges number)
BH 21989 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 4, 2018: New photo from Rusty Weisman
  • May 11, 2018: New photo from Rusty Weisman
  • May 10, 2018: New photo from Rusty Weisman
  • April 26, 2014: Updated by K. Allen Ballard: Added photo; and photo caption detail.
  • February 19, 2013: Updated by Rusty Weisman: Added category "Red Ball Route"


  • Rusty Weisman
  • K. Allen Ballard - speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com


Bear Creek Covered Bridge
Posted February 19, 2013, by Rusty Weisman (Russell [dot] Weisman [at] modot [dot] mo [dot] gov)

Although there are published reports suggesting that the Bear Creek Covered Bridge was built by James Key in 1859 - that appears to be incorrect (Hannibal Courier-Post 100th Anniversary Edition 1938, K Allen Ballard 2012 Images of America, Ralls County Missouri). The Hannibal and New London Plank Road and Bridge Co. published a condition report for their toll road in the July 14 (pg 2) and July 21 1855 (pg 3) editions of the Hannibal Tri-Weekly Messinger newspaper. That report lists the Bear Creek Bridge among the company assets- with a cost or value of $3,146.50. It appears from that published statement that the bridge existed in July of 1855.