I am glad that somebody else can't find the elusive plaques either. I was not sure if I was going crazy, or if I just did not see them. I had questioned the 1909 date on such a lightweight and non-standardized bridge. Based on your findings, I am much more confident that KSHS used the abutment construction date/raising date instead of the initial construction date when making the reference to 1909. As we well know, this is a very common issue.
I also took note of the bizarre pinned connections. I am glad that you were able to document them in detail. I have not had a chance to visit this bridge in 10 years or so as I live so far away now, but on my last visit, I could not recall seeing any connections exactly like them.
Robert: Your interest in the bridge is well-justified. It is one of the most unusual truss bridges in Kansas, and has a high level of historic significance by my assessment. It is a very unusual hybrid of riveted and pinned connections. Basically, the lower chord is pin-connected, but everything else in the truss web is rivet-connected. Lateral bracing is pin-connected with uncommon four-prong loops. The bridge is also exceedingly lightweight.
It is my suspicion that the bridge is a rare surviving example of two things. Firstly, a transition to riveted connections. Second (and perhaps more rare due to attrition) an example of a lightweight "budget" bridge... many bridges of this lightweight caliber were likely built, but few would have been able to withstand the rigors of even the first half of 20th century traffic.
I spent significant time/effort at this bridge. Its not officially on HistoricBridges.org yet, but it is included in my sample gallery... its near the bottom of the below link... search for the text lightweight and you'll jump right to the photos. I included detail photos showing the unusual design.
As for the date, the Kansas Historic Resources Inventory is HUGELY conflicting. It appears to offer well-documented evidence (1895 county commission meetings describing a contract to Kansas City Bridge Company) which would normally be solid evidence. Yet another page states that the 1909 date is "certain" from "plates at both ends of the bridge" which I didn't see. The documentation also describes 1909 inscriptions in concrete and mentions a 1909 raising of the bridge.
I am not sure what 1909 plates the documentation refers to. My suspicion is that is the error, that this is in fact an 1895 bridge raised in 1909. The style of the bridge certainly seems more like 1895.
KSHS claims that this one was built in 1909 instead of 1895.
This is a very bizarre bridge for a variety of reasons. The most obvious of course is the unusual truss configuration. In addition, it has many non-standardized details. If I recall correctly, I think that I counted three different types of eyebars during my last site visit. I would like to return at some point and take some more detailed shots.
Maybe I am just being a homer, but this one has always intrigued me immensely. If the date of 1909 is accurate, this bridge was built in an era when most of the aforementioned details had been eliminated in favor of standardization.
A legal notice was published that a meeting will take place on October 20, 2010 in the annex room at 8:30a.m. to vote on vacating this bridge. What a shame. Our county commissioners do not see the value in saving this bridge. They closed the bridge in 1991 saying it was too great of a liability for the county to keep open. If anyone has any idea how to save and reopen the bridge to through traffic your input would be greatly appreciated.
Random thought...for those not from the area, Tauy is pronounced like Toy.