Robert Elder

About Me 

Email: robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com

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South Portal Bracing

Augusta Vicinity Whitewater River Bridge (Butler County, Kansas)
A zoom lens allowed me to capture the back side of the south portal bracing. This photo was taken from the north end of the bridge.

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Recent Updates 

Fall River Bridge (Wilson County, Kansas)
Through truss bridge over Fall River on 21.7-N.1 Local, 2.9 mi. west of Neodesha
March 17, 2019: Updated by Robert Elder: Not lost, yet. The bridge is sitting on dry land.
North Bend Rail Trail - Tunnel #20 (Ritchie County, West Virginia)
Lost Tunnel for the Parkersburg Branch of the B&O Railroad. Cut is located on North Bend Rail Trail.
March 7, 2019: Updated by Robert Elder: Moved the pin to the correct location.
Brown Memorial Park Bridge No. 1 (Dickinson County, Kansas)
Lost pony truss bridge over Turkey Creek in Brown Memorial Park
September 27, 2018: Updated by Robert Elder: Replaced.
Prairie Dog Creek Bridge (Phillips County, Kansas)
Pony truss bridge over Prairie Dog Creek, 1.5 mi. south and 1.0 mi. west of Long Island
August 20, 2018: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited build date - definitely not a 1924 span.
Milford Lake Kingpost Truss (Clay County, Kansas)
Abandoned kingpost pony truss bridge over Milford Lake Tributary on Abandoned Road
May 28, 2018: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Cruciform Outriggers"
Milford Lake Kingpost Truss (Clay County, Kansas)
Abandoned kingpost pony truss bridge over Milford Lake Tributary on Abandoned Road
May 28, 2018: Added
Big Hill Creek 3600 Rd. Bridge (Montgomery County, Kansas)
Pony truss bridge over Big Hill Creek on a local road, 1.0 mi. north and 0.5 mi. east of Liberty
April 15, 2018: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Laced endposts"
West 14th Avenue Bridge (Cowley County, Kansas)
Two-span through truss bridge over Walnut River on West 14th Avenue in Winfield
February 21, 2018: Updated by Robert Elder: Lost.
Heizer Bridge (Barton County, Kansas)
Abandoned through truss bridge over Walnut Creek, 0.5 mi. north and 0.5 mi. west of Heizer
February 18, 2018: Updated by Robert Elder: Modified Status.
Diamond Creek Bridge (Chase County, Kansas)
Lost two-span stone arch bridge over Diamond Creek, 1.5 mi. north and 0.4 mi. east of Elmdale
January 24, 2018: Updated by Robert Elder: Lost
NW 4th Street-Whitewater River Bridge (Butler County, Kansas)
Slab bridge over Whitewater River on Local 31c5-25-4
December 30, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Whitewater River (Kansas)"
Bois D'Arc Bridge (Butler County, Kansas)
Through truss bridge over Little Walnut River, 3.8 mi. east and 0.5 mi. north of Gordon
December 29, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Closed
Branch Twin Creek Bridge (Osborne County, Kansas)
Pony truss bridge over a branch of Twin Creek, 9.0 mi. south and 1.8 mi. east of Osborne
December 28, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added categories "Bedstead", "Bedstead Warren pony truss"
Coffey County Historical Museum Truss Bridge (Coffey County, Kansas)
Pratt pony truss bridge on Boardwalk
December 14, 2017: Added
Memorial Drive Pedestrian Bridge (Crawford County, Kansas)
Concrete pony/through girder bridge over Unnamed Creek on Path
December 13, 2017: New Street View added
Memorial Drive Pedestrian Bridge (Crawford County, Kansas)
Concrete pony/through girder bridge over Unnamed Creek on Path
December 13, 2017: Added
Elm Creek Bridge (Marshall County, Kansas)
Pony truss bridge over Elm Creek, 1.5 mi. south and 3.5 mi. east of Schroyer
December 6, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Closed
Unnamed Creek Bridge (Nemaha County, Kansas)
Pony truss bridge over an unnamed creek, 2.3 mi. south and 5.0 mi. west of Centralia
December 6, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Closed
Unnamed Creek Bridge (Nemaha County, Kansas)
Pony truss bridge over an unnamed creek, 2.3 mi. south and 5.0 mi. west of Centralia
December 6, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Closed
Dandridge Bridge (Jefferson County, Tennessee)
1 3-span Warren cantilevered through truss bridge with polygonal top chords over French Broad River on State Highway 92 in Dandridge
November 30, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "French Broad River"
Deer Creek Bridge (Nemaha County, Kansas)
Pony truss bridge over Deer Creek, 1.0 mi. south and 2.0 mi. west of Berwick
November 21, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added Date, Design, and Builder.
Deer Creek Bridge (Nemaha County, Kansas)
Pony truss bridge over Deer Creek, 1.0 mi. south and 2.0 mi. west of Berwick
November 21, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Seevers Manufacturing Co."
CN - Tallahatchee River Bridge (Panola County, Mississippi)
Warren through truss with all verticals bridge over Tallahatchee River on IC
October 18, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Tallahatchie River"
Porter's Bridge (Panola County, Mississippi)
Bridge over Tallahatchie River
October 18, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Tallahatchie River"
Porter's Bridge (Panola County, Mississippi)
Bridge over Tallahatchie River
October 18, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Lost.
Tallahatchie River Bridge (Panola County, Mississippi)
Through truss bridge over Tallahatchie River on MS 6 / US 278 west of Batesville
October 18, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added Little Tallahatchie River Bridge to Alternate Name Field.
Tallahatchie River Bridge (Panola County, Mississippi)
Through truss bridge over Tallahatchie River on MS 6 / US 278 west of Batesville
October 18, 2017: New Street View added
Tallahatchie River Bridge (Panola County, Mississippi)
Through truss bridge over Tallahatchie River on MS 6 / US 278 west of Batesville
October 18, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Changed information to reflect that this bridge does in fact cross the Tallahatchie River.
Tallahatchie River Bridge (Panola County, Mississippi)
Through truss bridge over Tallahatchie River on MS 6 / US 278 west of Batesville
October 17, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Future Prospects.
Big Rocky Fork Iron Bridge (Parke County, Indiana)
Through truss bridge over Big Rocky Fork Creek on CR 700S east of Mansfield
October 16, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Laced endposts"
Hitchen Creek Bridge (Elk County, Kansas)
Pratt through truss bridge over Hitchen Creek
September 27, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Updated status and status description. Open to private traffic.
Smoky Hill River Bridge (McPherson County, Kansas)
Through truss bridge over Smoky Hill River on 1st Street
August 31, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Corrected Street Name.
Third Street Bridge (Ottawa County, Kansas)
Concrete arch bridge over Pipe Creek on 3rd Street in Minneapolis
August 23, 2017: New photos
Belleville Bowstring Bridge (Republic County, Kansas)
Bowstring pony truss bridge over Unnamed Stream on Hiking Trail
August 23, 2017: New photo
Larrick Park Bridge (Norton County, Kansas)
Bedstead Pratt pony truss bridge stored in park
August 22, 2017: New photos
Prairie Dog Golf Course Lattice Truss Bridge (Norton County, Kansas)
Lattice pony truss bridge over a creek in Prairie Dog Golf Course on a golf cart trail
August 22, 2017: New photos
Belleville Bowstring Bridge (Republic County, Kansas)
Bowstring pony truss bridge over Unnamed Stream on Hiking Trail
August 22, 2017: New photos
Valkommen Trail - Smoky Hill River Bridge (McPherson County, Kansas)
Through truss bridge over Smoky Hill River on Valkommen Trail.
August 22, 2017: New photos
Smoky Hill River Bridge (McPherson County, Kansas)
Through truss bridge over Smoky Hill River on 1st Street
August 22, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Status - open to pedestrians only.
Smoky Hill River Bridge (McPherson County, Kansas)
Through truss bridge over Smoky Hill River on 1st Street
August 22, 2017: New photos
Republican River Pegram Truss Bridge (Cloud County, Kansas)
Three-span through truss bridge over Republican River on 190th Road (RS 566), northeast of Concordia
August 22, 2017: New photos
Mulberry Creek Bridge (Fayette County, Texas)
Relocated Bedstead pony truss bridge. Formerly Hermis Road (CR 424) over Mulberry Creek
August 17, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Cruciform Outriggers"
Old US 36 Viaduct (Doniphan County, Kansas)
Concrete through girder bridge over abandoned UP/CRI&P railroad grade
August 11, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Incorporated new NBI Data
Old US 36 Viaduct (Doniphan County, Kansas)
Concrete through girder bridge over abandoned UP/CRI&P railroad grade
August 11, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Incorporated new Data.
Grasshopper Creek Bridge (Atchison County, Kansas)
Pratt pony truss bridge over Grasshopper Creek, 2.0 mi. north and 0.6 mi. west of Muscotah
August 6, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Estimated build date of 1890.
Cedar Creek-King Rd. Bridge (Jefferson County, Kansas)
Abandoned pony truss bridge over Cedar Creek on King Road (Abandoned)
August 1, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Cruciform Outriggers"
Little Walnut Creek Bowstring Bridge (Crawford County, Kansas)
Bowstring Pony Truss Bridge over Little Walnut Creek
August 1, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Cruciform Outriggers"
Old Military Bridge (Bourbon County, Kansas)
Abandoned bowstring through truss bridge over Marmaton River on 240th Street
August 1, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Cruciform Outriggers"
Austin Bridge (Neosho County, Kansas)
Relocated Bowstring through truss bridge over Little Turkey Creek
August 1, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Cruciform Outriggers"
Grasshopper Creek Bridge (Atchison County, Kansas)
Pratt pony truss bridge over Grasshopper Creek, 2.0 mi. north and 0.6 mi. west of Muscotah
August 1, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Cruciform Outriggers"

Recent Comments 

Posted March 21, 2019

In all seriousness... what is the consensus? Salvageable? Not salvageable?

Posted March 21, 2019

I think that will buff out.

Book
Posted March 19, 2019

Good luck with the book! I hope that it does well for you.

Posted March 17, 2019

We interrupt the devastating news of bridge after bridge being destroyed by flooding to bring you some good news.

This bridge was placed on dry land instead of being demolished when it was replaced. I do not know what the future holds for this bridge, but for right now it appears to be extant.

Posted March 17, 2019

The loss of this bridge is a catastrophic setback for bridge preservation in the United States. This bridge was not just significant on a county or state level (it was) but it had very high National significance as well. Granted, all remaining bowstring bridges are nationally significant but this one was arguably among the very best examples of bowstring bridges.

Flooding is a very serious threat to many of our historic bridges in the United States. Unless a truss bridge has been seriously over-engineered for its crossing, it can be taken down by flood and ice. Not to mention the lally columns and stone pylons that can give way.

If our most historically significant bridges must remain over their waterways, consideration must be given to strengthening, replacing, and/or raising the pylons in order to keep the trusses above water.

Every Spring, we lose bridges to flooding. Thus far, the Spring of 2019 is off to a particularly devastating start.

Posted March 11, 2019

When you consider the massive number of truss bridges that once existed in the USA (in the years between 1850 and 1970 more or less), you quickly realized that almost every truss bridge that ever existed in the USA was replaced by either a UCEB, a low water crossing, a ford, or in some cases an interesting (albeit newer) bridge. The truss bridges (and other historic bridges) that survive today are the rare survivors.

Thus, I see no point in creating separate pages for UCEBS, low water crossings, and fords that replaced historic bridges. Otherwise, this site will become UCEBS of the U.S.

I would rather see 1-2 images of the UCEB, low water crossing, ford, etc that replaced the bridge along with photographs of the historic bridge on one page.

Just my $0.02

Posted March 4, 2019

By the way, I was correcting my own post in the previous comments.

Posted March 3, 2019

Thanks to Ms. Anderson for posting some history of this bridge and the photograph. The photograph certainly appears to depict this bridge.

If he was born in 1921 and played on the bridge as a child then I think it would stand to reason that this bridge existed at least by 1930. Any information is valuable when it comes to trying to piece together the history of this bridge.

Posted March 1, 2019

Mr. Olson:

Thank you for posting your information in the comments. This helps to explain the length discrepancy - and it confirms our suspicions concerning the original location of the Austin Bridge.

Robert

Posted February 9, 2019

I would say that 1880s or early 1890s is a safe bet. I suspect that the latest does bridge could have been built would be Circa 1895.

Cruciform Outriggers are often associated with the 1870s but the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company seemed to use them long after they fell out of favor. Thus, this bridge could very possibly have been built in the 1880s. I am reasonably confident that it was probably built by the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Works but I cannot say that for certain.

Posted February 8, 2019

I think that one of the Outriggers might have been replaced at some point.

Posted February 8, 2019

This bridge is a great discovery and has a great story! It also has cruciform outriggers!

Posted February 8, 2019

The street view makes this bridge even more interesting. To begin, the street view confirms that this bridge does in fact have cruciform outriggers. The verticals are simply cylindrical members of some sort.

Now here is the weird part - according to the street view, it appears that the top chords on one side of the bridge are in fact rolled members as I thought previously yet the top chords on the other side appear to be box beams. Are my eyes just messing with me? Is this just a street view bug? Or, do we really have mismatched top chords?

If one set of top chords really does comprised box beams then this bridge would obviously be a frankenbridge.

Posted February 7, 2019

Many thanks to May for getting these photographs. I have heard that the weather in Kansas has been very unpleasant the last couple of days.

Thanks to Nathan for explaining this so well with the red crayon. Those three critical points do tend to provide a lot of good information.

I still cannot rule out the possibility that this might be a home-brewed bridge. In other words, I think there is a chance that it might have been built by locals instead of a mainstream bridge company.

My first thought was Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company but I cannot think of any bridges of theirs that used a single rolled beam for the top cord. Normally their bridges would feature built up members on the top chord.

The only mainstream company that I can think of that used rolled beams in the 1870s and 1880s was the Columbia Bridge Works. This bridge does not look like their typical product however.

This is all to say that this bridge, to me, does not perfectly match the work of any company with which I am familiar. That being said, in the 1870s and even in the 1880s a lot of mainstream bridge companies were still experimenting with their designs and often changed their designs from year to year.

For some reason, Kansas seems to have an unusually high number of non-standard bridges. This might be one of them. I really think that it could have potentially been pieced together by locals.

Posted February 7, 2019

This is a most interesting structure. It appears to have cruciform outriggers. These cruciform outriggers are always a great discovery and they were frequently used by both the King Iron Bridge Company and the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron company. Both companies were very active in Kansas so either one is a possibility. The top chords are simple rolled beams. The vertical appears to connect with the top chords in a rather unusual fashion but I cannot discern the details from the photos.

Of course, this is Kansas which has more than its fair share of weird and unusual Frankenbridges. Thus, we cannot completely rule out the possibility that it might have been designed by a creative County Engineer and built from whatever scrap material might have been laying around at the county yard that week.

Regardless of the exact builder, This appears to be a very old bridge. I would not be surprised if it dates to the 1880s or even the 1870s. This one should receive a very high priority for preservation.