3 votes

Berry Bridge (Berry State Aid Bridge)



From Historic Bridge Inventory

BH Photo #167499


The first bridge in the county over the Niobrara, most likely, was one mile west and constructed ca 1881 as a private toll bridge near the Sears place.

The military constructed a bridge near the Berry location ca Nov 1883. This bridge became know as the "Red Bridge" as the military probably painted it in the same red and white trim of the post.

How many wooden structures before the 1899 steel bridge is unknown. Ice flows had an easy time on low wooden bridges with their supports in the river. The 1899 steel bridge was replaced with the current one in 1920-21. The 1899 bridge was moved downstream and is now the Brewer Bridge.

The bridge is named after widower Susan Berry, who had a farm (pre emption claim) on the north side of the bridge (Lots 1 and 2 on either side).

Mary Alice Gorden, age 3, drowned here on May 15 1903.

East of the bridge is "Berry Falls." Historically this was known as "Parry Falls" as this was where S Parry had the first patent.

About a mile west of the bridge on the south side of the river was one of the first settlers to use the Homestead Act to acquire land in Cherry County, Charles Sears. He arrived in Apr 1880 and received his patent in June 1886. This is the location of "Sears Falls."

For the early pioneers the crossing of the Niobrara was a major obstacle to establishing a viable farm economy. Even with a bridge, the bad roads and dangerous approaches often made it difficult. When the river froze over was a welcomed time, as the river could be crossed in many locations and the frozen river became a road itself.

The Berry location was a prime spot for the settlers to get to the post. Here they could get their mail, sell produce and buy supplies at the two post traders without making the next five miles to Valentine.

James Grooms


Through truss bridge over Niobrara River on a county road, 9 mi. east of Valentine
Cherry County, Nebraska
Open to traffic
Built 1920-21 by the Pioneer Construction Co.; rehabilitated 1995
- Pioneer Construction Co. of Malvern, Arkansas
Riveted, 8-panel Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 149.9 ft.
Total length: 150.9 ft.
Deck width: 16.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.7 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 1992
Also called
Nobody local calls it the "state aid" bridge.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.90192, -100.36264   (decimal degrees)
42°54'07" N, 100°21'46" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/388756/4750823 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2003)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 92000753 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
NE C0E1637705P (Nebraska bridge number)
BH 23897 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of June 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 41.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 6, 2011: New photos from James McCray
  • June 14, 2010: New photo from Nathan Holth