4 votes

Springfield Bridge at Beaverfork Park


Side Elevation looking south west

Photo taken by Wayne Kizziar in August 2017


BH Photo #399645

Street View 


The new caissons installed in December, 2016 and the bridge restored and reset in July 2017.


Relocated bowstring through truss bridge over Beaverfork Lake on Beaverfork Park Trailway
Conway, Faulkner County, Arkansas
Open to pedestrians
Fabricated in 1871 but not installed over Cadron Creek until 1874. Removed November 2016 for relocation; restoration completed Aug. 10, 2017; bridge dedicated Sept. 23, 2017
- Alfred Cook & James Allen (Contractors for 1874 Stone Abutments)
- BACH Steel of St. Johns, Michigan (Restoration)
- George B. Preston
- King Iron Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio (1871 Fabrication, at Iola, Kansas) [also known as King Bridge Co.]
Bowstring through truss
Length of largest span: 146.0 ft.
Total length: 186.0 ft.
Deck width: 12.0 ft.
Also called
Springfield-Des Arc Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+35.14147, -92.45380   (decimal degrees)
35°08'29" N, 92°27'14" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/549755/3888868 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
302 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 74700 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 13, 2019: New photos from James McCray
  • January 8, 2018: Updated by Dana and Kay Klein: Added category "Othmar H Ammann Award winner"
  • September 24, 2017: Bridge has been dedicated and is open to pedestrians; changed name to make it more clear this is the new location
  • August 11, 2017: Updated by Wayne Kizziar: Bridge rehab complete. Landscaping being completed by City of Conway & County of Faulkner.
  • August 1, 2017: Updated by Clark Vance: Added category "Cruciform Outriggers"
  • April 19, 2017: Updated by Julie Bowers: updated to reflect contractor and status
  • April 9, 2017: Updated by Julie Bowers: Changed name to reflect the current name use by City of Conway.
  • January 22, 2017: Updated by Dana and Kay Klein: Added category "Othmar H. Ammann Nominee"
  • December 23, 2016: New photos from Julie Bowers
  • December 22, 2016: Updated by Nathan Holth: Linked this page to original bridge page, added 1874 builders, added HAER docs for convienience.
  • December 22, 2016: New photos from Julie Bowers
  • December 8, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • December 8, 2016: Added by Julie Bowers

Related Bridges 



Springfield Bridge (current location)
Posted February 17, 2021, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

From Mark L via Jack Bell. Drone shots of the bridge in snow. Jack said I should share.

Springfield Bridge (current location)
Posted November 13, 2019, by Gil Graham, P.E. (ggraham [at] baileybridge [dot] com)

Great job! Congratulations to Bach Steel and all of those involved. The way that bridge appeared to be leaning before the restoration was scary. They rescued it just in time.

Springfield Bridge (current location)
Posted November 11, 2019, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thanks Art. Everything takes so much time, but eventually things happen.

Springfield Bridge (current location)
Posted November 8, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Neat series. Congratulations!

Springfield Bridge (current location)
Posted November 8, 2019, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

For Immediate Release Grinnell, Iowa - Holt, Michigan

The long-awaited documentary by Ultimate Restorations on historic truss bridge restoration is now available for viewing at www.ultimaterestorations.com or Amazon Prime. Featuring the 1874 Springfield Des-Arc Bridge, an historic King Iron Bridge Co. bowstring truss in Conway, Faulkner County, Arkansas, the two episodes document how an engineer, craftsmen, two nonprofits, a city, county and state worked together to save a rare historic bridge in the USA. Local screening are also being scheduled.

Bach Steel of Holt and St. Johns, Michigan provided the iron restoration expertise. The craftsmen, Nels Raynor, Derek Pung, Brock Raynor and Lee Pung put their backs into this project from riveting to pack rust removal, repairing splice plates, lifting and resetting old iron. Jim Schiffer, PE of Schiffer Group Engineering, Traverse City, Michigan. (SGI) worked with Bach Steel to detail the repairs. SGI also engineered the caissons by request from Julie Bowers at Workin' Bridges who just didn't want to see another concrete abutment for the historic truss. "These are the kinds of projects we relish. The reuse and preservation of durable cast and wrought iron and steel, that are still serviceable with a little coaxing, to recreate elegant functional forms that the communities can enjoy is really fun. These are the projects that we enjoy applying our technical experience and training to bring to successful completion." stated Jim Schiffer after viewing the video. Though you don't see him in the site work, without his engineering neither Workin' Bridges nor Bach Steel would be able to act on these jobs.

Working with the City of Conway and Faulkner County, the planning and iron work for the restoration of this bowstring took well over a year after lifting it from the North Fork of the Cadron River. The bridge was restored and reset at Lake Beaverfork in August of 2016. The project began, however, with a site visit in 2010 to discuss the potential of the oldest road bridge in Arkansas, also a King Iron bridge. The project required the aid of the Prof. Kenneth Barnes, then a director of the Faulkner County Historic Society to continue raising the awareness that this vintage bridge needed help. Many of these stories can be seen on the video.

Bach Steel has worked on over 40 historic bridge projects across the country, winning awards for their work in Texas, Michigan and Arkansas since the 1990s. "The Springfield Bridge tells a story of one of the projects that we started with Workin' Bridges in 2010 and it took years to fund it. There are so many bridges across the country that can be restored but it takes political will, our engineer, money and us to get it done....and big cranes!" stated Nels Raynor at the shop in St. Johns.

Ultimate Restorations produced the shows out of the bay area. Producer Terry Strauss along with Executive Producers Bill Hersey, Loren Lovgren, and Bob McNeil have documented the restoration of some of America's beloved treasures. “The story of this bridge is what Ultimate Restorations is all about. The vision to save the iconic pieces of our history that would otherwise be lost, plus the skills, passion and talent to bring them back to life. Walking over that bridge, is like being told a story, reminding us of who we are and where we’ve been.” said Terry Strauss, who directed the film in Arkansas. More info at www.ultimaterestorations.com. You can view the Ultimate Restorations episodes on our bridge restoration as well as the full Season 2 of Ultimate Restorations on Amazon Prime with 1874 Des-Arc Springfield Bridge Part 1: Moving Day and Part 2: Another Hundred Years at https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07ZZZJ8D5/ref=atv_dp

One of the red-carpet premieres of Springfield Bridge documentary will be at 2 pm on Sunday, November 24, 2019 in Burlington, Iowa at the restored Capital Theater. Community screening dates are also being pursued in Conway, Arkansas, Lansing / Traverse City, Michigan and Grinnell, Iowa and will be announced soon.

Questions and screening requests can be addressed to Julie Bowers at 641.260.1262 - jbowerz1@gmail.com. You can access more information on the web at www.workinbridges.org and on Facebook at Workin' Bridges, www.bachsteel.com and on Facebook at Bach Steel and www.schiffergroup.com. Restoration photos can be seen at Springfield Bridge on Facebook where the process was also documented.

Springfield Bridge (current location)
Posted November 6, 2017, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Excellent news article about an award for this project. http://thecabin.net/local/news/2017-11-05/bridge-project-rec...

Springfield Bridge
Posted September 23, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

They dedicated this bridge today. Words can not express .... always grateful to Bach gang and our clients were outstanding. Made a lot of friends. Congratulations to All of them. Hayden took this photo.

Springfield Bridge
Posted September 1, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Loosely translated to WOW Just wow!

Springfield Bridge
Posted September 1, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Briseadh-naidheachd iongantach, Chan urrainn dhomh faclan a lorg airson cunntas a thoirt air ar n-inntinn agus mar sin bidh mi a 'toirt taing dhut gu h-iomlan.

Springfield Bridge
Posted September 1, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Conway, Arkansas - Holt, Michigan

Springfield Bridge, a rare King Iron Bridge Co, bowstring through truss was restored for pedestrian use at Lake Beaverfork in Conway, Arkansas by Workin' Bridges, a non profit dedicated to historic bridge preservation and Bach Structural and Oranmental Steel (BACH Steel) of Holt, Michigan. Six years after the completion of a study by Nels Raynor of BACH Steel and Julie Bowers for Workin' Bridges, the historic bridge restoration project was successfully completed. The success was due to a rare collaboration between the City of Conway, Faulkner County, and Dr. Ken Barnes of the Faulkner County Historical Society who was essential in the writing and successful grant application and petitioning the City of Conway to find a place to move the bridge. Permission to move was granted by the National Park Service for this structure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A dedication to the restoration and future of this iron bowstring will be held Saturday, September 23rd at 10:00 am at Beaverfork Lake Park in Conway, Arkansas.

The iron truss was fabricated in 1871 and erected in 1874 over E Cadron Creek between Faulkner and Conway Counties as the first and oldest highway bridge built for farm to market requirements by the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The bridge restoration was funded by City of Conway tourism dollars used for parks, Faulkner County equipment, expertise and funds for the extra crane, with the help of Metroplan which allowed the restructuring of grant funding to allow preservation to move forward.

The bridge was removed from the Cadron in November of 2016. The BACH Steel Rivet Gang went to work with the disassembly and marking the members for transportation to a paint removal company in Little Rock, managed by Snyder Environmental. Workin' Bridges was then given the job of designing the new substructure at Lake Beaverfork, engineered by James Schiffer of Schiffer Engineering Group of Traverse City, Michigan.

Once the caissons were designed, drilled, formed and poured, and covered with riveted columns repairs to the bridge trusses began. Nels Raynor of BACH Steel is the premier bridge restoration craftsman throughout the United States that specializes in restoring bridges the old fashioned way. "In Kind" restoration means that parts are replaced with similar parts, rivets replaced with rivets and if new parts are required they are fashioned with care. When asked Raynor stated: "This one stands out as one of the most beautiful. I wish there were more people like those of Conway and Faulkner County. Those who wish to protect and save their hesitate. It's part of my life's work to preserve those structures. My company has been bless with finding those with the same passion inmy partners Derek and Lee Pung, Andy Hufnagel and Brock. Behind the scenes we have my daughter Heather Raynor, Nathan Holth and Jim Schiffer. We want to thank everyone for giving us the creative freedom to make this one of the most memorable and beautiful bridges we have ever been involved with."

Jack Bell, Chief of Staff for the City of Conway, Mark Ledbetter, Director of Roads for Faulkner County, Steve Ibbotson, Director of Parks for the City of Conway and Judge Baker were the team that provided the collaborative efforts to make this a successful project. They teamed up for all of the site requirements, from building a road and crane pad to the old location on Cadron Creek, to building the roads and crane pad for the reset at Lake Beaverfork. They utilized reclaimed stone from the original abutments to sculpt the new location with retaining walls and provide a bench for viewing. Bell said, “The partnership between Workin’ Bridges, BACH Steel, Faulkner and the City of Conway was essential to bring this project to fruition.  A significant piece of Faulkner County history has been saved and an iconic amenity has been added to our Parks system."

New railing required by law was designed by Raynor and Gang who were able to provide historically accurate laced and riveted railing, using requirements for today's pedestrians. The rail was then sent to Conway, where the local historical society teamed up with Workin' Bridges to promote the "Paint the Rail" campaign. The campaign successfully contributed the funds needed to coat the rail, using a PPG product delivered by Furgerson Brothers Painting.

The restoration will be featured in a documentary filmed by Terry Struass of Ultimate Restorations and should be available for viewing on PBS and through Amazon Prime in the fall of 2017. The project was also documented by Workin' Bridges with the aid of Nathan Holth of HistoricBridges.org. The bridge was built by craftsmen and the record of their work, the "craftsman's record" was evident in each cast and riveted piece in the bridge said Raynor. "To think that this all started six years ago with a site visit to Arkansas with my son Brock and Bowers with Workin' Bridges. What this bridge has become today is just amazing to me and I have been involved with many bridge projects".

It is a testament to the fact that we work better together, always have. The collaboration made a very big bridge project manageable, and used resources in a way that reduced time and material cost", stated Bowers from her office in Holt, Michigan. "One never knows if a site visit that renders real numbers for project evaluation will become a job. These bridges take a lot of time, craftsmanship and money, but in the end it is all about making memories. The collaboration worked well and rendered a project that could have cost far more into an affordable package for the parks system."

More information about the bridge, pictures from the process can be found at Springfield Bridge on Facebook. Questions may be directed to Julie Bowers at jbowerz1@gmail.com.

Springfield Bridge
Posted August 11, 2017, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Nicely done. Congratulations to involved!

Springfield Bridge
Posted August 11, 2017, by Anonymous


Othmar H. Ommann winner for SURE!

Springfield Bridge
Posted August 11, 2017, by Julie Bowers (Jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com )

It's been finished. Awesome work by Bach....

Springfield Bridge
Posted August 6, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nearing completion....weather delays.

Springfield Bridge
Posted July 29, 2017, by Anonymous

Yeah whatever, save it til December!

Springfield Bridge
Posted July 29, 2017, by Anonymous

..............Othmar H Ammann awards photograph of the year..............Just Saying

Springfield Bridge
Posted July 28, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

First dawn over the inlet at Beaverfork Lake.

Springfield Bridge
Posted July 24, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It would get my vote. Julie, Nels, and the gang have done a smashing job with this beauty.

I was happy to see a certain Whipple from my old stomping grounds win last year, but even back then I figured that this Bowstring would be in the running. This year, it is #1 in my book so far.

Springfield Bridge
Posted July 24, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Seems like this may qualify for Bridge of the year Othmar Awards. What are views of the titans?

Springfield Bridge
Posted June 29, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


This photo by Jerry Boyer. I didn't get to be there for the lateral connecting. Bummer for me.

Springfield Bridge
Posted June 28, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


Springfield Bridge
Posted June 21, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Documentary continued with restoration of 2nd truss.

Springfield Bridge
Posted May 4, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Shoes and the beginning of the lower chord bars yesterday, posts and castings today.

Springfield Bridge
Posted May 2, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Lee saw the water moccasin yesterday on the crane pad. I am glad I did not. Rising water has displaced a lot of wildlife but still. When I heard they come to investigate the generator vibrations...oh dear.

The caissons look good, repairs to top chord breaks nearly done and are nearly invisible, yet stronger than ever.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 27, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yes, that document is great. I have made a couple rambling comments in the forum about the evolution of King Bowstrings, (with a Whipple thrown in) but it is nice to see it presented so clearly with photographs. This document really explains it very clearly to those who don't spend as much time looking at bridge components as we do.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 27, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Awesome stuff! Liked the page and the history document is... As my 18 year old daughter would put it "Dope!".

Nels and the gang got it going on... And yes Juls, keep doin' your Thang!

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 26, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Seriously, folks if you have not liked that page, you need to do so. It has been great to follow the progress on this awesome Bowstring. I wish I could be there in person, but the status updates are the next best thing.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 26, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

and a nice picture of the beginning -

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 26, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

A new Facebook page for photos of the reassembly at Springfield Bridge. Check it out. or more pictures at Bach Steel or Workin' Bridges and anywhere else we can think of.

Fundraiser in place to "Paint the Rail" - looking for naming rights to 8' sections of riveted and laced railing or the riveted vertical posts between - $450 / $50.

Pledges Only Now to see if the goal of $15,000 can be met. The rail arrives tomorrow.

We know (and you all know) that the magic begins with the reassembly, but the hard work that it took from all involved, city, county, state, fed was substantial. (I guess that is my thang Tony).

But, what was started is now on it's way to completion. Here's a glimpse of the history that we compiled and Nathan produced.

Attachment #1 (application/pdf; 894,034 bytes)

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 21, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Great to see this one coming together after all the delays!

Nels and his gang are top notch, and Juls just keeps doin' her thing! ;-)

And Robert we have such a great collaboration of souls here on BH, I like to think it helps bring some of these projects to fruition!

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 20, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thanks for the feedback. I am always glad to share my observations. Nathan, Tony, and others have given me a lot of good insight as to what to look for.

It is great to have new folks joining this website. We need more folks to see the value in preserving historic bridges of all types. This Bowstring is a great example.

Julie, Nels, and the gang have done so much for us Bridgehunters. Hopefully there will be many more success stories such as this one.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 20, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Robert thank you, you have no idea how much some of us learn when you get on a roll! It is much appreciated.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 20, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Awesome news! I can't wait to see this one in place! Even if I cannot make the dedication, hopefully, I can see the finished product someday. Thanks to Workin' Bridges, some of these great structures have a bright future.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 20, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The stage is set. Thank you Faulkner County roaks department. What a crew! We are fortunate.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 20, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Springfield and Clark's Creek represent a Tale of Two Kings. They both work together to interpret the evolution of King Iron Bridge Co. engineering.

The Springfield Bridge is a great example of an early King Bowstring Bridge. The outriggers are cruciform (star iron), but they contain no lacing. If you look at some of King's later Bowstrings, you will notice that the outriggers feature lacing on the verticals. In addition, many King Bowstring through spans feature unique wrought iron tubes for the sway bracing. You can see these tubes along with the latticed outriggers on the 1878 Old Military Bridge in Bourbon County, Kansas


Now, knowing this, we can begin to appreciate the true significance of the 1878 Clarks Creek Whipple Truss in Geary County, Kansas.


The Clarks Creek Bridge also features those wrought iron tubes, which are again used for sway bracing. It appears that King simply took this Bowstring feature and incorporated it into their early Whipple truss design. These tubes are not found on any other remaining King Whipple trusses, all of which are newer than the Clarks Creek Bridge.

The Clarks Creek Bridge features latticed vertical members which became a standardized feature on truss bridges of all types in the 1870s and 1880s. The vertical members on the Clarks Creek Bridge are exceptionally lightweight. In addition, the Clarks Creek Bridge has other features that are commonly found on very old trusses. These include fishbelly floor beams and somewhat non-standardized connections. While there are other King Whipple trusses still extant, the Clarks Creek Bridge is the oldest of them all. No other King Whipple trusses have even remotely the same appearance.

To summarize, the Springfield Bridge is an example of a very early King Bowstring and the Clarks Creek Bridge is a very early example of a King Whipple. In fact, it is the oldest known non-Bowstring King bridge in existence. The Old Military Bridge helps us to see the continuum of engineering between the two of them. All three of these bridges are of extremely high national significance. One of the three is being restored by Workin' Bridges. Hopefully the other two can be saved as well.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 20, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Hard to decide Clarks Creek VS Springfield..... guess the Othmar H Ammann crew already did. Seems like this bridge, and crew should be nominated for best restored when its done. Jason know they aren't open but this is VERY significant bridge, being saved by THE team. What category would you suggest?

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 19, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yes, definitely. I think that it was a nominee.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 19, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

HMMM another bridge of the year possibility!

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 19, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I wish I was in the area, because I would definitely drop by. This is a great development. I hope to see it someday.

Springfield Bridge
Posted April 19, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

a Meet n Greet will be held Saturday to go over the craftsman's record on this bridge in conjunction with the Faulkner County Historical Society. If you are in the area, we would love to see you stop by. James Baughn you are not that far away!.

The gangs all here (soon) and the reassembly and reset begins for the final push.

You can order a t-shirt.

Springfield-Des Arc Bridge
Posted April 9, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Examples of the craftsmans work, we've seen master and apprentice work, pick marks on the side of cruciform, numbers on the trusses. now that w

It is blasted it is easy to see forge c welds too. .... not painting this one.

Springfield-Des Arc
Posted December 9, 2016, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

that bridge is no longer over Cadron Creek. This is noting the new location - the City of Conway uses both names.

Springfield-Des Arc
Posted December 8, 2016, by Anonymous

Is this the same bridge as http://bridgehunter.com/ar/faulkner/cadron/