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Graveyard Ford Bridge


Looking east

Photo taken by James Baughn in May 2010


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BH Photo #164379



Backroad Boys Bridge Edition 4

At the time we believed this to be Gillis Bridge. Records now indicate this to be Baker or Graveyard Ford. You may have to 'rewind' the video to the beginning. Video also shows Sigsby Bridge in Shelby County, MO.

Ken Ballard, K. Allen Ballard

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Name changed based on info below from Rusty Weisman. Unconfirmed but a friend says this bridge is closed now. Hate to hear this news, I loved to visit this bridge quite often.

This is a high sided Bedstead Pony Truss.

Bridge has been been replaced by a UECB. Old bridge has been moved to the west and sits on the north side of CR342 less the deck.


Bedstead pony truss bridge over Black Creek on CR 342
Shelby County, Missouri
Replaced and moved to dry ground, hopefully for reuse.
Built 1908 by the Michelmann Steel Construction Co.
- Michelmann Steel Construction Co., Quincy, IL
Pin-connected, 5-panel Pratt bedstead pony truss
Length of largest span: 80.0 ft.
Total length: 81.0 ft.
Deck width: 11.8 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Baker Ford Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.76841, -91.97630   (decimal degrees)
39°46'06" N, 91°58'35" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/587677/4402555 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 57 N., R. 10 W., Sec. 2
680 ft. above sea level
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
Inventory numbers
MO 102-321001.2 (Missouri off-system bridge number)
MONBI 21737 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 22549 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of March 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 21.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • June 10, 2021: New photo from Chris Gonnerman
  • September 30, 2020: New video from K. Allen Ballard
  • June 25, 2019: Updated by K. Allen Ballard: Have been informed by friend that bridge is presently closed.
  • May 29, 2018: Updated by James Baughn: Bridge is available for adaptive reuse
  • December 11, 2017: New photos from K. Allen Ballard
  • November 30, 2017: New photos from K. Allen Ballard
  • June 22, 2015: New photos from K. Allen Ballard
  • May 6, 2010: New photos from James Baughn



Graveyard Ford Bridge
Posted September 30, 2020, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

Visited here again, Sept 30th, 2020, to find bridge has been replaced by a UECB. Old bridge was moved to side of the road less the deck. Updated BH page.

Allen & Ken Ballard

This is not the Gillis Bridge
Posted June 6, 2018, by Rusty Weisman (Russell [dot] Weisman [at] Modot [dot] Mo [dot] Gov)

The 1996 FraserDesign Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory appears to be in error with respect to this bridge. The Gillis bridge built in 1908 was at Gillis Ford. That bridge replaced an earlier bridge at that location, built J. B. Clayville for $215 in 1896. Gillis ford is in the SW 1/4 Section 27, about 2.5 road miles SE of Shelbyville. The SW 1/4 of Sec 27 T58N R10W was owned by Mrs. W. D. Gillis in 1878 (Edwards Brothers 1878 Illustrated Atlas of Shelby County). This bridge is located closer to 5 road miles from Shelbyville in T57N R10W Sec 1-2. Newspaper accounts suggest that this bridge was built c. 1911-1912 following a petition to the county court in 1909 by the neighbors lead by neighboring landowner Charles F. Perrigo/Parigo (Hunnewell Graphic 12 Feb. 1909). January 1911 newspaper notices indicate that the county was willing to build a bridge at 'Graveyard ford' if the neighboring landowners would provide fill and haul it for free.

This location appears to have been known as both 'Baker ford' and 'Graveyard ford.' The land southeast of the ford was owned by J. R. Baker in 1878 and George E. Baker Jr. in 1902, thus accounting for the ‘Baker ford’ designation.

There is a small cemetery just south of the bridge on the east side of Black Creek that accounts for the references to this location as 'Graveyard ford'. That cemetery includes the marked grave of Thomas Jefferson Davis (d.1849) who was original owner of the 80 acres just north of the Bridge. The unmarked 1833 grave of Angus McDonald Holliday, the original owner of the land east of the bridge (SW 1/4 Sec 1) is also likely there, along with the grave of William T. Matson. Angus M. Holliday died in early June 1833 from cholera - contracted from his neighbor William T. Matson who had been in Palmyra when the 1833 epidemic broke out. Matson was returning to his nearby home on the west side of Black Creek from Palmyra but was unable to cross Black Creek at the ford due to high water. Matson stayed overnight with Holliday and died there the next morning. At Matson's burial, Angus Holliday fell ill with cholera and then he died the next day (History of Monroe and Shelby Counties, Missouri, 1884).

Gillis Bridge
Posted December 11, 2017, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

This is not far from my dentist in Shelbina, so I visit here somewhat frequently. Shot some video here this visit, bridge is very unique with its' tall sides and picturesque setting.