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Commerce Street Bridge (1872)


Commerce ST Bridge Dallas TX b

Digitally cleaned up Source image in link.

Photo digitally altered by Art Suckewer in October 2021


View this photo at dallastrinitytrails.blogspot.com

BH Photo #510756


Sarah Crockrell obtained a charter for the Dallas Bridge Company (a different company than that formed by her husband) from the state legislature on February 9,1860. Her plans to build another toll bridge were postponed by the Civil War, but by 1871 the directors of the company were able to move forward and hire a civil engineer named Wentworth to locate a new structure and superintend its construction. By 1872 the Dallas Bridge Company succeeded in erecting a bridge composed of two wrought-iron bowstring arches, one approximately 140 feet long and fourteen feet high, and the other about 160 feet long and sixteen feet high, which Wentworth placed at the site of the former wood bridge. Ordered from the Moseley Iron Company of St. Louis through a mail-order catalog, the spans were shipped down the Mississippi River to Galveston, transported by rail to the northern terminus of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad at Corsicana, and then carried by wagon to Dallas. According to Dallas historian Sam Acheson, this bridge "proved a powerful, if little remembered, stimulus in augmenting the growth of Dallas as a distributing center, ranking next in importance only to the arrival of the first two railroads in 1872-73. He further states that the bridge "was to prove a vital trade link for Dallas with all of the territory south, southwest, and west as far as the Brazos River." However, as vital to the local economy as the bridge might have been, the fact that it was a privately owned and operated toll bridge caused no small amount of rancor among area residents.

By December 1881, citizen protests against the bridge toll had become great enough to compel Dallas County to appoint a committee to ascertain on what terms the county could purchase the bridge. The county commissioners' court found that Cockrell's company had "failed to erect a good and substantial" bridge and ordered a suit to be filed to revoke the company's charter. In May 1882 the county offered to purchase the bridge for $25,000 but the company wanted $41,600. An offer of $37,500 was made by the county in July for the bridge and all property owned by the company, and a bond issue of $38,000 for that purpose was approved in August 1882. The bridge was opened to free use later in that year.

Apparently finding this bridge to be inadequate, the commissioners' court awarded a contract for $9,875 to the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Works of Levenworth, Kansas, in September 1889, to erect a new bridge at the foot of Commerce Street, and also approved an additional $600 for "taking down and placing on high ground" the old bridge. Despite the terms of this first contract with Missouri Valley, the county contracted with N. O. McAdams in August 1890 to remove the old Commerce Street bridge. The county also signed a new contract with Missouri Valley to construct two bridges using the spans of the old bridge; one to be erected north of Commerce Street across the Elm Fork of the Trinity at Grauwyler, and the other to be erected south of Commerce Street at Miller's Ferry.

COMMERCE STREET VIADUCT HAER No. TX-35 Texas Historic Bridges Recording Project Spanning Trinity River at Commerce Street


Lost Bowstring pony truss bridge over Trinity River on Commerce Street
Dallas, Dallas County, Texas
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1872; Replaced 1890 and relocated; One span went upstream to Grauwyler, the other downstream to Miller's Ferry.
- King Iron Bridge & Manufacturing Co. of Cleveland, Ohio (Iola Plant) [also known as King Bridge Co.]
Bowstring through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+32.77528, -96.82017   (decimal degrees)
32°46'31" N, 96°49'13" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/704165/3628478 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 70766 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 30, 2022: Updated by Bambi Sharkoman: Added History
  • June 28, 2022: New photo from Luke
  • October 26, 2021: Updated by Art Suckewer: tweaked name from older to 2nd