7 votes

Canadian River Wagon Bridge


Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

BH Photo #114997

Street Views 



PDF (53 KB)

Posted by Jesse Sharkoman Berube



This 3,255'-0"-long structure is the longest pin-connected bridge in Texas, and was the state's longest metal truss bridge prior to the completion ofthe Rainbow Bridge connecting Orange and Port Arthur in 1938. Two previous bridges at this site built in 1888 and 1889 were washed away by floods, and after some delays, voters finally approved a 1915 initiative to build a more permanent crossing of the river. The structure completed in 1916 included seventeen 155'-0" long and 27-0" high pin connected Parker through trusses for a 2,635'-0" total length. The 16'-0" roadway rested atop concrete piers with steel footings driven 65'-0" into the riverbed. When high water widened the river in 1923, the county paid the Austin Bridge Company of Dallas to provide four additional Parker through trusses with the same dimensions and the same substructure. This increased the bridge's length by 620'-0". By the 1950s, the 16'-0" roadway had become too narrow to safely carry passing traffic. In 1953, a new $1 million concrete and steel structure, built with state highway funds by the Austin Bridge Company of Dallas, bypassed the original bridge. Today, the Canadian River Wagon Bridge carries a natural gas pipeline for the High Plains Natural Gas Company


Nineteen-span through truss with Two-span pony truss bridge over Canadian River
Hemphill County, Texas
Open to pedestrians only
Built 1916 by the Canton Bridge Co.; four additional spans added 1923; bypassed by new bridge in 1953; rehabilitated and opened to pedestrian traffic in 2000
- Austin Brothers Bridge Co. of Dallas, Texas/Atlanta, Georgia (1923 Spans) [also known as Austin Bridge Co.]
- Canton Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio (Original Spans)
Nineteen, 7-panel, pin-connected Parker through trusses
One, Pony truss
Length of largest span: 155.0 ft.
Total length: 3,255.0 ft. (0.6 mi.)
Deck width: 16.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.93564, -100.37146   (decimal degrees)
35°56'08" N, 100°22'17" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/376289/3977679 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Canadian East
Inventory number
BH 36690 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 2, 2022: Document added by Jesse Sharkoman Berube
  • March 7, 2022: Updated by Mark Gonzalez: Updated Span Count
  • October 19, 2021: New Street View added by Paul Plassman
  • October 26, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • October 30, 2013: New photos from John Scruggs
  • April 16, 2012: New photo from Dan Crawford
  • April 10, 2012: Updated by Dan Crawford: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • October 4, 2011: New Street View added by Craig Philpott
  • June 14, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • June 10, 2008: New photos from Historic American Engineering Record



Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted April 4, 2022, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Yes, it would definitely qualify! Just need to get the powers that be to nominate it.

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted April 4, 2022, by Rene Gomez (Renegomezphotography [at] gmail [dot] com)

Wondering if this bridge would qualify for the National Register of Historic Places.

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted March 14, 2022, by Mark Gonzalez (markgonzalez0619 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nathan you are correct! I cannot believe I didn't pay closer attention!

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted March 8, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


There are TWO pony truss spans. What was once a single thru truss is today two ponies.

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted March 7, 2022, by Mark Gonzalez (markgonzalez0619 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This bridge is 20 spans. Not 21. With one them being a pony truss.

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted July 3, 2018, by kevin acosta (kcas2s [at] yahoo [dot] com)

high definition photo of this bridge, fully restored, is available on Canadian River page of Wikipedia. Someone more familiar with this site can probably upload, be sure to give credit of this pic to photographer Bill Hathorn: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_River#/media/File:Woo...

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted October 30, 2013, by John Scruggs (johnscruggs[at]j-kj[dot]com)

Just to answer the how many spans question .... In May of 2012 one span could easily cross the river. I'm sure that's the way it is most of the time. I'm also sure there are times when the river is much, much wider.

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted August 4, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This is the longest pin-connected truss in Texas. I wonder how it ranks in the country?

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted August 12, 2009, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

That is one crazy long bridge. Would like to know how many spans are actually over the river!

Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Posted August 12, 2009, by Todd D. Walker (mrwalk08 [at] aol [dot] com)

Would be great if someone would post a pic or two of this bridge all restored. Texas and Oklahoma has quite a collection of long multispan pony and thru trusses, most of which are still standing as shown on this site.