This bridge was originally constructed at Blue Springs and was known as the "Blue Springs Bridge." The date of construction and contractor are unknown. The bridge is first mentioned in Book 1 of the Gage County Supervisors' Records in October 1874, when a contract was awarded to paint the structure. The tubular sections resemble the 1867 and 1872 patents issued to William Rezner of the Ohio Bridge Company. The bridge was moved to Hoyt Street near Beatrice in 1890. This bowstring through truss bridge is significant as an outstanding representative of an unusual structural type (one of six bowstring arch bridges identified in Nebraska).
In 1870, Gage County erected its first iron bridge over the Big Blue River in the town of Blue Springs. This long-span bowstring arch-truss was apparently fabricated by the Ohio Bridge Company, using the tubular arch configuration patented by company owner William Rezner. Forming the centerpiece for the small town, the Blue Springs Bridge carried wagon traffic for twenty years before it was moved to the western edge of Beatrice, the county seat. Here it functioned for decades, before being abandoned. The bowstring still spans the Big Blue River, but its timber deck has been removed.
The bowstring arch-truss was the iron span of choice for Nebraska counties in the 1870s. Marketed extensively by regional bridge builders, these often-patented bridges featured a wide range of span lengths, economical fabrication cost and relatively quick erection. The proliferation of the bowstring corresponded with the formation of Nebraska's road system; as a result, perhaps hundreds of these prototypical iron spans were built inthe state. The Blue Springs/Beatrice Bridge is distinguished as one of the last remaining examples in Nebraska of this important structural type.
Tony, as always, you're welcome.
That is so sad this never turned into anything. They had the right idea, a bowstring tour is better than any covered bridge tour. If they had preserved this bowstring I would have visited Nebraska by now for sure. But its not worth driving all the way out there now on the chance that local landowners arent allowing access.
Thank you for "digging" into this one Melissa!
Although it's good to know that locally they do deem it to be historic, it's frustrating that they haven't taken further steps to preserve this rare bridge.
Video of bridge:
This bridge is listed as a Gage County historical site and is seen clearly in this satellite image.
They need to get this rare bridge restored as part of Shrine Park.
There is a nice big park in Beatrice that borders the Big Blue... Would be a perfect spot to relocate this beauty!