4 votes

Morel Bridge



Everything about this bridge seems wrong! 1. The bridge does not cross anything. However... 2. The bridge sits on land. And not just that..... 3. The bridge is on an island, or buried in the island. And to add insult to injury.... 4. While most bridges cross water, this bridge is on land surrounded by water!

Go figure.


BH Photo #192947


Taken from the following link: http://montanahistorywiki.pbworks.com/w/page/21639746/Nation... Morel Rainbow Arch Bridge (25200 East Side Road)

In 1913 Deer Lodge County officials decided to build a bridge to span Silver Bow Creek, appropriating $2,067.88 for materials and $265 to H. B. Grant for design specifications. The bridge made passable the county road between the nearby Milwaukee Railroad Morel Substation and the community of Anaconda. The county’s decision to build the bridge reflected a national initiative known as the Good Roads Movement, an effort to improve rural and in-town highways. In Montana, many “Good Roads” infrastructure improvements were the work of prisoners from the state penitentiary. In 1914, the year inmates completed construction of the Morel Bridge, over one-third of Montana’s inmates were employed in work camps, primarily building roads. Praised for its strength, economy of materials, and low cost, the Morel Rainbow Arch Bridge is patterned after the Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge, patented by J. B. Marsh of Iowa in 1912. The design was particularly suited to the use of prison labor because it could be built primarily by unskilled workers. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Montana Department of Highways designed and built numerous concrete bridges, but this rainbow arch concrete bridge is the only one of its kind in Montana. The bridge was abandoned in 1916 when the Anaconda Mining Company—which owned the surrounding land—built Pond 2, one of a series of settling ponds that separate old Highway 10 and the interstate. Today, Atlantic Richfield, a BP affiliated company, maintains the water treatment facilities and the State of Montana manages the site for wildlife and recreational use.


Marsh arch bridge over Silver Bow Creek on an abandoned county road
Warm Springs, Deer Lodge County, Montana
Open to pedestrians
Built 1914 by prision inmates in Montana as part of the "Good Roads Movement". Bridge abandoned in 1916 due to construction of mining settling ponds.
- H.B. Grant
- Montana State Prison Convicts of Deer Lodge, Montana
Marsh arch
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 12, 2000
Also called
Rainbow Bridge
Morel Rainbow Arch Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+46.15792, -112.77191   (decimal degrees)
46°09'29" N, 112°46'19" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
12/363188/5113119 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Warm Springs
Inventory numbers
NRHP 00001491 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 47874 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 4, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Prison Laborers"
  • January 29, 2011: Added by James McCray


  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com


Morel Bridge
Posted May 1, 2020, by Bryon

Here are all the pictures in a direct link even showing a picnic area on the bridge.


Morel Bridge
Posted May 1, 2020, by Bryon

Similar description however in this link is the only other picture of the bridge I found in my brief search showing it sitting in a marsh type setting with a higher water level.


Morel Bridge
Posted January 30, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Probably a lot of "Morels" growing around there too!....... sorry, I got caught up in all the "pfun"!!

Morel Bridge
Posted January 30, 2011, by J.P.

Did anyone else happen to notice that the name of the local town is Anaconda, which has a giant wetlands/lake area........sorry i work at a movie theater so found this thought entertaining.

Morel Bridge
Posted January 30, 2011, by Craig Philpott (cphilpott [at] puc [dot] edu)

It seems so right that this span is a "marsh arch".

Morel Bridge
Posted January 29, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Rather unique.......to say the least!

Perhaps the status of this bridge should be changed to "Open to swimmers"

Morel Bridge
Posted January 29, 2011, by James McCray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)


I'll let you guys try to figure this one out!