9 votes

Eagle's Nest Bridge


View from east bank

Photo taken by James Baughn in February 2016


BH Photo #348944



From HAER INVENTORY, Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory; EAGLE’S NEST BRIDGE, Pike County, MO CR18, Bridge No. 018001.8 Bridging the Salt River at Eagle’s Nest Ford was a process that took nearly three years to complete. Pike County Surveyor J.D. Beauchamp first viewed suitable sites for the bridge in June 1904. This was a preliminary survey, with no further action taken at that time. Then, in December 1904, the Pike County Court ordered Beauchamp to estimate the cost and determine the best location for a Salt River bridge between Eagle’s Nest Ford and Bullock’s Ford. A month later the Court ordered funds from Buffalo and Salt River Townships to be set aside for two years to pay for the proposed bridge. This order was later rescinded though, and in early February 1905 the Court established a special fund to pay for the structure. A year later, in February 1906, the Court finally ordered Beauchamp to solicit bids to build a bridge based on his designs. On March 5, 1906, the Missouri Bridge & Iron Company was awarded an $11,390.00 contract to construct a Salt River crossing just below Eagle’s Nest Ford. The contract called for a 295-foot main span and four forty-foot approach spans, and an 18-foot roadway. The substructure consisted of concrete-filled steel piers under the main span, and steel pedestals on concrete piers under the approach spans. Although Missouri B&I agreed to complete the project by the following January, the truss was not ready for traffic until June 1907. Today, Eagle’s Nest Bridge still functions in its’ original location. Possessing a high degree of historical integrity, the bridge remains little changed from its’ original appearance. Before the state highway department began building bridges in the 1920’s, the individual counties were responsible for erecting and maintaining such structures. Numerous long span trusses were erected over the Salt, Meramec, the Cuivre, the Grand and other major rivers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their pinned connections and relatively narrow roadway widths have made them likely targets for replacement however, and many of them have been subsequently replaced. As a result of decades of attrition, relatively few long-span trusses remain in use in Missouri. Eagle’s Nest Bridge is distinguished among these as a well preserved example of a relatively uncommon type of Pratt sub type – the Pennsylvania through truss. Even more significant is the bridge’s distinction as the longest pinned-connected truss, other than the Chouteau over the Missouri River. A graceful long span structure, it is one of Missouri’s most important early wagon trusses. Clayton Fraser, 14 September 1990.


Abandoned through truss bridge over Salt River on CR 115
Pike County, Missouri
Abandoned with deck removed. County road commissioner Harry Grote says he is waiting on verification from county clerk but is pretty for sure this bridge and roads leading to it are still county owned.
Future prospects
Available for reuse
Built 1907 by the Missouri Bridge & Iron Co.; Closed 1979
- Missouri Bridge & Iron Co. of St. Louis, Missouri
Pin-connected, 14-panel Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 293.9 ft.
Total length: 450.0 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 13.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Ashburn Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.50552, -91.16988   (decimal degrees)
39°30'20" N, 91°10'12" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/657344/4374475 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 55 N., R. 2 W., Sec. 30
441 ft. above sea level
Inventory numbers
MO 082-018001.8 (Missouri off-system bridge number)
BH 22311 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 21, 2018: New photo from Jeremy Ruble
  • October 20, 2018: Updated by Jeremy Ruble: Added category "Lally columns"
  • October 19, 2018: Updated by Jeremy Ruble: Property owner update
  • October 11, 2018: Updated by Jeremy Ruble: No Trespassing by notice of owner
  • October 1, 2018: New photo from Jeremy Ruble
  • August 24, 2016: Updated by K. Allen Ballard: Changed name to actual Historic Name based on 1990 MO Historic Bridge Inventory; Added narrative from same document.
  • February 13, 2016: New photos from James Baughn
  • October 18, 2010: Updated by Jamie Forbes: Added elevation
  • June 6, 2005: Posted new photos


  • Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory
  • Jamie Forbes - jwforbes87 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • K. Allen Ballard - speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Jeremy Ruble - jaruble1982 [at] gmail [dot] com


Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 22, 2020, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

Being a city alderman for 18 years has given me some idea of legalities regarding roads, alleys, infrastructure and more. I can tell you our small town has only rarely ever abandoned maybe a couple of alleyways let alone a road or former piece of city property.

I can tell you that unless the county commissioners specifically abandoned (in a public meeting) all right of ways and possession of this bridge then it remains in county hands.

Think about it, what private entity would assume liability for this bridge or the roads on either end. A landowner might claim to own such roads or access to discourage unnecessary incursions by curious parties, but in legal point of fact that claim should be backed up by public record (meeting notes) and a legal description tranfer from the county to a landowner or interested party. That transfer should be recorded in the County Courthouse by the Recorder of Deeds.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted August 23, 2020, by A Person (Aperson63303 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Allow me to help clear some things up.

The bridge is owned by the county. However going to be bridge or fixing it or moving it will require lots of red tape.

Unless you climb up the bridge from a boat in water you are technically trespassing. Pike County like many counties did not want to close the bridge with barriers and maintain the road on both sides to the bridge.

They made the mistake of going cheapest way possible at the time and closed and ended county road at last house on each side. They in turn like most counties do to get out of unnecessary maintenance gave up the road and any and all easements right aways on both sides from last houses.

Back in 2007 the south side road still went to bridge but from last house to bridge was clearly marked private. Homeowner at time as long as you asked was nice enough to let you go there. Due to too many trespassing and partying there he felt the liability was too great, and took his farm equipment and tore the road out which he legally owned as of closure.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 20, 2018, by Jeremy Ruble (saukee0 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

A lot of local folks are taking interest in this bridge since I started this project. When the road commissioner calls me back with the verification I will talk more with him on the structural intergity of the bridge and if there are any hopes in saving it.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 20, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Jeremy may have reopened hope for this one. It looks too big for an easy (relatively) relocation. Anyone imagine a scenario where this bridge is savable in situ? NRHP seems like a place to start.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 19, 2018, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

I went back through my archives and found an email I received in 2005 from a worker at the Pike County road & bridge department. He asked me if there was anything that could be done about saving this bridge. At that time, he expected that the county would leave the bridge as-is until it eventually collapsed and had to be fished out of the river.

Fortunately we haven't reached that last stage yet.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 19, 2018, by Jeremy Ruble (saukee0 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I’m not really sure. When the road commissioner verifys with the county clerk and call me back I will ask him about this.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 19, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

If the county owns it, what does that mean for the chance of recognition and preservation?

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 12, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I've found the best strategy is to ask. I can't honestly recall ever being turned down, and more often than not the people are more than happy to talk about "their" bridge. There's a number of bridges where I've withheld pictures for a period of time, particularly to avoid ruffling the feathers of anyone who may object.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 12, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

It's pretty common for plowing to encroach on public rights of way. Rural folks (I was once among them) actively discourage people from coming around their property due to the ease with which thefts can occur in isolated areas. The county highway department has the legally correct information on where the public can freely travel.

You don't need a plat book. The online GIS and a verification call to the county should get accurate information.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 12, 2018, by Jeremy Ruble (saukee0 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The road to this bridge on the west side has been completely removed and is now a corn field. You have to walk up the hill to get to it. The woman chewed me out on Facebook and said she is reporting it to the owner. I will be obtaining a plat book to do more research. For now I would just stay away. Also the road is currently under weather to it.

Eagle's Nest Bridge
Posted October 12, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

I've seen occasional mistakes due to slow updates, but it might be worth a call to the county to verify ownership. Their GIS shows this bridge and roadway as county property.


Ashburn Bridge
Posted August 23, 2016, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

In looking at the History Bridge Inventory it seems this bridge is named "Eagles Nest Bridge". I need to confirm this first & I will update name then. I was close by last Friday, but didn't have time to check in on it again. Last visit was probably 2007 'ish.

Ashburn Bridge
Posted April 24, 2014, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

As to the purpose of such a bridge in the 'boonies', I asked a local gent (now 80) who knows this area; he says this bridge was originally the MO Hwy 79 bridge prior to the concrete/paved roads we now have. This bridge is pretty wide for a wood deck through truss. Scenic Hwy 79 was not built until much later, (in the 1950's)

In Nov 2006, I took some photos here, mostly of my originally favored 35mm panoramic shots, physically pasted together after film processing, Pre-Photoshop. One multi-panel panorama, won Honorable Mention @ John Wood College, Quincy, photo contest.

Another man, Rev. Richard Epperson (Salt River Christian Church, New London) told me he worked a motor grader for Pike County and they were still snow plowing/grading Pike CR115 and this bridge into the very early 1980's.

Ashburn Bridge
Posted July 8, 2012, by Jäger Stein (CJager [at] herzeleid [dot] net)

As a young kid I used to crawl out on the bridge and fish from it, The story I always heard was it used to a Rail Road bridge.I was shocked to find it on here.

Ashburn Bridge
Posted July 6, 2012, by J Taylor (fozzie_tb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I remember this bridge as a child. We crossed it to get to Taylor Chapel on CR 115. I remember wondering why such a large steel bridge was out in the middle of nowhere connecting two dirt roads. It had a wooden plank deck and my mom was terrified of it every time my dad would cross it but we thought it was a great adventure. This was back in the early '70's. Years later I always wondered if I had imagined this bridge. To find a picture of it and see that it was real brings back a lot of memories of summers spent at my Great Grandmother place up in Louisiana, MO and our trips to Taylor Chapel. I think this calls for a road trip his summer to check to see if the bridge, and the chapel, are still there. Show my kids a little piece of my history and childhood.

Ashburn Bridge
Posted October 18, 2010, by Jamie Forbes (jwforbes [at] rollanet [dot] org)

A few pictures from my visit: Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ashburn Bridge
Posted March 22, 2007, by Bob Kasal (cherry63376 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This bridge is in the middle of nowwhere. I can not guess what purpose it would have had. It sure was fun finding it.