Sunday, November 9, 2014

Walnut River Wrought Iron Truss Bridge

Wrought Iron Truss Bridge in Butler County, Walnut River, near Douglas, Kansas

Drive south of Augusta, Kansas on Highway 77. 

[Highway 77 follows the course of the Walnut River. The Walnut River joins the Arkansas River at Arkansas City. The highway continues south of Douglass to Winfield and Arkansas City and further south. The highway also parallels the Santa Fe railroad tracks which arrived in Douglass in 1881. This was also the route of the Southwest Stage Coach, operating in the 1870's and 1880's from Florence to Arkansas City, via El Dorado, Augusta, Douglass, Walnut, Lone Tree, and Rock, but this is another story.]

Just past Douglass, turn right or west onto 230th Street. This is a dirt and gravel road that goes around a bend in the road and takes you over the Santa Fe tracks. The road straightens out into rich bottom land where corn and silo grow. A half mile or so and one comes to a "T" which is Buffalo Road. Your choices are north and south. Go south (left). Buffalo Road quickly turns west again and continues as 230th Street. A few hundred feet and the road jags to the left again to cross the Walnut River.

This is one of several wrought iron truss bridges that can still be found in Kansas. There is a larger one nearby at Bois D'arc.

This bridge was made by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio. The company was founded in 1864. In an 1882 pamphlet the company proudly proclaimed that it had worked in 26 US States, Canada and Mexico, and that: "during the past 18 years this firm [has] erected nearly 4,300 spans, varying in length from 20 to 300 feet."

Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio

The span of this bridge is about 100 feet. The bridge bed is made of large timbers laid horizontally and then vertically to make a path that cars can follow. Be sure to slow down and be mindful of the height and weight restriction.

Slow down

Height 6 feet 6 inches, Weight 3 tons

Walnut River two miles south of Douglass, Kansas