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Longfellow Bridge



David Smothers standing in front of South side truss showing "Longfellow" concrete nameplate above my right shoulder, name also stamped in concrete near my right foot, June, 1997.

Photo taken by Evelyn Smothers


BH Photo #124754


Written by David Smothers

Our family has owned the land that this bridge sat on since 1941, and for us, it was a part of the family. When I was a kid (And as an adult, for that matter), every time I went to visit my grandparents, there was the after lunch walk down to the bridge, it was a tradition. One that my grandfather and great grandfather did long before I was born. I would throw rocks in the creek from it, fish off of it on rare occasions...and since I loved bridges as a child, I felt so lucky that my family had their OWN bridge. This bridge withstood the flood of 1951 intact, and lived to see many more years. We found out that the county intended to replace it in late 1996, and I was NOT happy to say the least. We were ignorant, or powerless... but looking back now, I wonder if we didn't have some legal power to force them to rehabilitate, instead of remove the bridge, since they could not replace the bridge without moving equipment on our land. It WAS in bad shape, it would shake when my brother would just run across it... but I still have regret that more couldn't be done to save it. I would have been happy for the county to close the bridge and the road there, since the daily traffic was about 4. But that was something the rest of my family wouldn't consider. The county weren't complete jerks, as they said if we brought in equipment large enough to lift it, then the bridge was ours for the taking, but we didn't have money for that, and my mother didn't seem to want to see it sit someplace else, anyway. They did cut a T-shaped piece of the truss for us with the concrete nameplate, and we still have that, and our memories. My grandmother died about 3 months before this bridge was replaced, so we just said goodbye to her and it in the same year. I miss my grandmother much more, of course, but the bridge was like a loving pet that you must say goodbye to.. we just had to accept it's life was over, I suppose.


Lost Pony truss bridge over Gillam creek on CR 5508, 3 miles southwest of Foster
Bates County, Missouri
Replaced by new bridge
Built 1925, replaced 1997 by a UCEB
Pony truss
Span length: 52.0 ft.
Total length: 52.0 ft.
Deck width: 14.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.14489, -94.52590   (decimal degrees)
38°08'42" N, 94°31'33" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/366290/4222990 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 37441 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


Bates County, Missouri (80)
Built 1925 (1,314)
Built during 1920s (10,328)
Lost (30,043)
Missouri (6,570)
Owned by county (21,723)
Pony truss (17,235)
Replaced by new bridge (20,448)
Span length 50-75 feet (10,551)
Total length 50-75 feet (9,726)
Truss (36,805)

Update Log 

  • October 3, 2008: Updated by David Smothers
  • October 2, 2008: Essay added by David Smothers
  • September 17, 2008: Added by David Smothers


  • David Smothers - davidsupreme [at] embarqmail [dot] com