1 vote

Wabash - First Missouri River Bridge



BH Photo #128080


1868. Construction of the original begins

Between 1880 and 1884, virtually the entire superstructure was replaced and upgraded. The Fink deck truss spans are replaced with Whipple through truss spans and the girder approach spans are replaced. The through trusses are replaced. Additional piers are added on the east. No cast iron was used in any of the upgrade.

1884. The steamboat Montana crashed into the piers of the Wabash Railroad Bridge with total loss of the steamboat. The bridge seems to have suffered no damage.

1936. Removed. Functionally replaced by a new bridge erected about 1/2 mile downstream (north).

Sources include: Missouri Railroad and Warehouse Commission, Annual Report 1884


Lost bridge over the Missouri River with Trellis through truss and Whipple through truss spans
St. Charles, St. Charles County, Missouri, and St. Louis County, Missouri
Replaced by new bridge erected about 1/2 mile north (downstream)
Upgraded in 1884 from the original in 1871; replaced 1936 by the current Wabash Bridge
- American Bridge Co. of New York
- Charles Shaler Smith of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Detroit Bridge & Iron Works of Detroit, Michigan
- Edge Moor Bridge Works of Wilmington, Delaware
- Kellogg & Maurice Bridge Co. of Athens, Pennsylvania
- Keystone Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Phoenix Iron Works of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
- Pittsburgh Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Saint Charles Bridge Co.
- North Missouri Railroad
- Wabash Railroad (WAB)
Trellis through truss and Whipple through truss replacing earlier Trellis and Fink trusses.
Length of largest span: 318.0 ft.
Total length: 2,928.0 ft. (0.6 mi.)
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 40.5 ft.
Also called
Wabash Railroad Bridge #59
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.79152, -90.47205   (decimal degrees)
38°47'29" N, 90°28'19" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/719555/4296677 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Saint Charles
Inventory number
BH 38184 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 18, 2019: New photo from Joe Sonderman
  • July 29, 2017: Updated by Fmiser: Trimmed description to be limited to the later, 1884-1936 upgrade
  • June 30, 2017: Updated by Fmiser: added to "fink" category
  • January 10, 2017: New photos from Dave King
  • December 19, 2014: Updated by James Holzmeier: Added Wabash bridge number and uploaded new images
  • November 10, 2014: Updated by James Holzmeier: Uploaded Wabash RR data sheet
  • October 27, 2014: New photo from Nathan Holth
  • October 26, 2014: Updated by James Holzmeier: Added bridge dimensions as well as adding two (2) Wabash RR line drawings
  • October 13, 2014: New photos from James Holzmeier
  • November 17, 2012: Updated by Mark Frazier: Updated 1871 timeline.
  • December 31, 2010: Updated by Mark Frazier: Additional history notes.
  • November 22, 2008: New photo from James Baughn

Related Bridges 



Wabash - First Missouri River Bridge
Posted July 29, 2017, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

Art - you are correct. There were effectively two bridges here using the same substructure. Between 1880 and 1884, he early Finks were replaced with Whipple, the Trellis were also replaced, even the girder approach spans were replaced.

In light of that, I edited the details of this page to reflect the post-1884 bridge and put info on the earlier one on this page:


Wabash - First Missouri River Bridge
Posted June 30, 2017, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

To me, it looks like the superstructure was replaced between 1871 and the 1936 replacement. The late images do not seem to have the same type of compression members as the early images and a lot of other details are different.


Art S.

Wabash - First Missouri River Bridge
Posted October 26, 2014, by James Holzmeier (wabashry [at] gmail [dot] com)

Great video, Thomas Matlock!

First Wabash Bridge
Posted December 3, 2013, by The Independent Rage (theindependentrage [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'm surprised this old bridge was still being used in the 1930s for railroad traffic. All of the other bridges over the Missouri River from the 1870s were obsolete and replaced by the 1910s (with the exception of the Fort Leavenworth bridge, which lived on until the 1960s after being converted for pedestrian, wagon and (later) highway traffic). Looking at the video linked in one of the other comments, that looks like the original St. Charles bridge to me.

First Wabash Bridge
Posted October 10, 2013, by Thomas Matlock (tsmatlock [at] frontier [dot] com)

I believe the train is crossing the First Wabash Bridge at St. Charles in this home movie shot by my grandfather in 1930. http://youtu.be/VaIIyYUwlpQ

First Wabash Bridge
Posted December 3, 2009, by patrick Muenks (patrick [dot] muenks [at] xerox [dot] com)

I beleive this bridge collapsed.