7 votes

Clear Creek Bridge



Clear Creek Bridge; seen from the west (upstream). The bridge is located in Butler County, Nebraska, where county road BC crosses the creek, northwest of Bellwood, Nebraska. The bridge was built in 1891, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo taken by William Flack


BH Photo #179950

Information From Historic Bridge Inventory 

From Historic Bridge Inventory By Clayton B. Fraser

Located northwest of Bellwood, this small-scale truss carries a secondary county road across Clear Creek. The structure is a pin-connected Warren through truss, resting on concrete abutments and wingwalls. Two bridge plates reveal that the structure was built by the King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio in 1891. King originally built the span at the small town of Ulysses near the southern edge of Butler County, where it stood for some thirty-eight years. Then, in 1928, the truss was moved to its present location. Pin-connected Warren trusses are rare with only two examples known to exist in Nebraska, this structure and the Honey Creek Bridge in Nemaha County.


Through truss bridge over Clear Creek on Road Bc (Road Bc), 2.8 mi. north and 4.8 mi. west of Bellwood
Butler County, Nebraska
Intact but closed to all traffic
Built 1891 by the King Iron Bridge Co.; relocated 1928
- King Iron Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio [also known as King Bridge Co.]
Pin-connected Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 36.1 ft.
Total length: 73.2 ft.
Deck width: 16.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.7 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 1992
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.38425, -97.33533   (decimal degrees)
41°23'03" N, 97°20'07" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/639187/4582750 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2003)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 92000734 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
NE C001200305P (Nebraska bridge number)
BH 23829 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2010)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Critical (2 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 6.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 23, 2013: Updated by Fmiser: Added category "Second location, entire structure"
  • October 6, 2012: New photos from Fmiser
  • October 3, 2012: Updated by Fmiser: changed status to "closed"
  • September 28, 2010: New photos from Nathan Holth
  • June 14, 2010: Essay added by Nathan Holth



Clear Creek Bridge
Posted October 7, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Indeed a unique little span! When I first saw how light it was I assumed it to be much older than 1890's. It may however just been built as an economical structure.

Although National Register Status is certainly no guarantee of survival, you have to hope it at least means there is an element of local awareness. That and the ridiculously low ADT give some chance that it will be retained.

It would be an idea candidate to relocate to a park.

Clear Creek Bridge
Posted October 6, 2012, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

This is a strange little bridge. There are a number of construction details that are rather odd, or at least unusual. Like the upper chord beams - two pieces of angle stock with widely spaced battens. The top batten is pretty ordinary, except it is only long enough for one rivet. But there is another batten underneath that one. It is "U" shaped riveted to the sides about half way between the edges.

Then there are the "X" shaped built up struts.

And the timber stringers.

And a warren truss. With the first diagonals built as tension only.

And the triangular floor beams.

The over-length pin I'm blaming on shoddy maintenance, even though it is unusual.

A fascinating bridge I don't expect will be around much longer...

Clear Creek Bridge
Posted September 28, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Well.....I looked closer and I see they are simple battens. This is a very light bridge and looks much older than 1891.

Clear Creek Bridge
Posted September 28, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Nice bridge! The portals have what I call King's "X's and O's" design, but the endposts are very light and unique. They look more like 1870's Columbia Bridge Works style with what appear to be spacers or packing blocks.

Clear Creek Bridge
Posted September 28, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Here is a beautiful collection of overview and detail photos of this extremely rare and unusual bridge.

Clear Creek Bridge
Posted June 14, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Looks similar to the Henkins Ford Bridge in Caldwell County, MO., albeit somewhat shorter. Both are products of the King Bridge Company.


Clear Creek Bridge
Posted June 14, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

WOW! I have photographed a very limited number of bridges in Nebraska, but I think I need to put the whole state on my list.

Nebraska/Iowa have some great MO river structures as well.

Clear Creek Bridge
Posted June 14, 2010, by Nathan Holth

This is an incredible and bizarre bridge!