4 votes

Deacon Mesmer Bridge


View from south

Photo taken by James Baughn in May 2010


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BH Photo #164360



Camelback through truss bridge over South Fabius River on CR 166/310th Lane
Shelby County, Missouri
Open to one-lane traffic on a minimal-maintenance road
Built 1899; later relocated here
- Massillon Bridge Co. of Massillon, Ohio
Pin-connected, 9-panel Camelback through truss
Length of largest span: 170.9 ft.
Total length: 171.8 ft.
Deck width: 12.8 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.0 ft.
Also called
Deacons Bridge
Mesmers Bridge
Camelback Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.94877, -91.90127   (decimal degrees)
39°56'56" N, 91°54'05" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/593858/4422649 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 59 N., R. 09 W., Sec. 4
Average daily traffic (as of 2018)
Inventory numbers
MO 102-126000.1 (Missouri off-system bridge number)
MONBI 16588 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 22565 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of March 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 18.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 26, 2016: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added builder
  • September 9, 2015: New photo from Chris Gonnerman
  • May 6, 2010: New photos from James Baughn



Camelback Bridge
Posted April 12, 2014, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

A former classmate who lives in Steffenville to the north says the locals have called this bridge the following names; "Mesmers Bridge, Deacons Bridge and Deacon Mesmer Bridge after the guy who lived on the hill next to it."

Camelback Bridge
Posted April 10, 2014, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

I did a PS9 crop & invert from my postcard and the answer appears to be "The Massillon Bridge Company" built the bridge in LaGrange. Good guess guys.....

Camelback Bridge
Posted April 10, 2014, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

Tony & Nathan, et al, I will go back & take a closer look at my hi-res scan to see if there's enough detail to determine builder, etc. or post the sign itself.

Camelback Bridge
Posted April 9, 2014, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I noticed that on the old postcard pic as well Nathan.

Funny though because Massillon certainly isn't noted for building Camelbacks.

Camelback Bridge
Posted April 9, 2014, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The plaque on the below bridge looks like a Massillon Bridge Company plaque...

Camelback Bridge
Posted April 9, 2014, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

As promised here is a RPPC (real photo postcard) of the original bridge over the Wyaconda River in LaGrange. The postmark on the back says Aug 29, 1911. The present bridge @ Shelby County bears a striking resemblance to this one at LaGrange. I hope this is helpful. Happy Bridge hunting to all B-).

Camelback Bridge, Shelby County
Posted April 9, 2014, by K. Allen Ballard (speedeeprint [at] gmail [dot] com)

My son & I visited & photographed this bridge late Monday afternoon [04-07-14]. What a great subject, took lots of pix including some panoramics that I like to stitch together later. It is worth the effort to get here. I did not drive across as there was one bad spot in the deck that was loose and besides the road from the south was washed out more than I cared to try to straddle with my car. We had a lot of rain in NE Missouri on Thursday & Friday and I was afraid we'd not make it close enough. However, the road was firm enough except in 3 places which we drove around. We drove in from the north, from Steffenville, MO.

You may be correct about this originally being the LaGrange Wyaconda bridge, I have recently obtained a nice RPPC postcard (frontal view) of the bridge @ LaGrange. (I grew up in LaGrange). I will try to get a good scan of it to share with you this week. Here is a lo-res jpg slight side shot of Camelback (looking southwest'ish, from the left side.) THX for the great website.

Camelback Bridge
Posted May 8, 2010, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

The Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory says that this bridge was built in 1899 and then moved here "from outside the county." However, it doesn't give any more details.

I have a couple postcard images showing a camelback bridge over the Wyaconda River near La Grange in Lewis County. This might be the same bridge, as La Grange is only about 20 miles from here.

The details are the same: the panel configuration, portal bracing, cresting, and overhead bracing. The color postcard shows telegraph lines attached to the bridge. I noticed that a couple of insulators are still hanging from the current bridge, so even that detail matches. The only things missing are the decorative finials on top of the endposts and the plaques, but it's pretty common for those to be stolen or lost during relocation.

The bridge inventory says this bridge was determined non-eligible for the National Register (as of 1992), but I suspect that would be different now. If this bridge was built in 1899, it's almost certainly the oldest camelback through truss in Missouri.

Camelback Bridge
Posted May 8, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Slight correction to previous comment. The final sentence should read "...were probably built by three different companies..." I have not seen curved portal bracing on a Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron structure.

Camelback Bridge
Posted May 8, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have seen similar cresting on a couple other bridges.

The preserved Forrestville Bridge in Fillmore Co. Minnesota


and the Vedigris River Bridge in Wilson Co. Kansas (status unknown)


All three of these bridges were built by different companies, and thus the cresting is not exactly identical.

Camelback Bridge
Posted May 7, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I have seen cresting like that before........If I could just remember where.

Camelback Bridge
Posted May 7, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Oh.....the things we do for the ultimate prize!

Camelback Bridge
Posted May 7, 2010, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

Nathan, it's probably just as well that you didn't try to visit this bridge. The roads on either end are unmaintained dirt roads, and they were particularly nasty thanks to recent rains.

I first tried approaching from the southwest. I parked where the gravel road ended and hiked down a steep hill, only to find that the "road" continued another quarter-mile through an awful quagmire.

Later in the day (hoping that the mud had firmed up a bit), I tried approaching from the east. This road wasn't quite as bad, but was still a mess. I had to hike the last quarter-mile in rubber boots, and it wasn't fun (especially since a thunderstorm was rapidly approaching).

I spent way too much time driving and hiking to reach this bridge. Not recommended during wet weather!

Camelback Bridge
Posted May 6, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Wow, this is a nice bridge. I documented a couple of the bedsteads in this county last summer, but unfortunately not this bridge. Wish I had.