The Indian Territory in the Civil War Message Board

Beale Bridge Location Not "E Street"

The Beale Bridge Across the Poteau River (1860-1861) was not the lost E Street Bridge to Ft. Smith, as shown below.

A US Congressional Act of June 18, 1888 authorized the Fort Smith and Choctaw Bridge Company to build and maintain a bridge across the Poteau River near Fort Smith, Arkansas and to use the Choctaw Tribe’s land claimed by Mrs. M. A. Bower, a tribal member.

https://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/27226/rec/1

This bridge became known in Fort Smith as the E Street Bridge across the Poteau, because of its direct eastern connection thereto. The E Street bridge lay between the Beale Wagon Road (Whipple) bridge of 1860-61, located 1/3 mile to the north (downstream toward the Arkansas), and the later OK 9A bridge(s), located 2.5 miles to the south, to Arkoma. The 1880 USGS map previously noted suggests that an documented, two-span bridge replaced the Beale (Whipple Arch) Bridge destroyed by the evacuating Federal Army on April 23, 1861. This postwar Carnall bridge was shown to still exist during the 1878 USGS land survey around Fort Smith.

Routine lowland flooding in Oklahoma, caused by the nearby Arkansas River, slowly pushed the main Oklahoma highway connections (say say starting with the Butterfield Trail from 1858-1861, from Leflore County into Fort Smith southward (up the Poteau and away from the Arkansas River, and the historic Beale Bridge crossing. The E-Street soon suffered a similar fate.

The E Street Bridge was one of the first bridge crossings from Ft. Smith into Oklahoma after the Civil War. The bridge design was a light-weight Pratt through truss for carrying wagons and pedestrians. Built in early 1890’s and finally abandoned by 1944 due to massive Oklahoma flooding of western approach roads. The bridge was removed in 1969 as the Poteau was being made navigable by the U.S. Corps of Engineers south to the marine port at Mill Creek. Only one pier remains readily visible on the Oklahoma side. See pictures of the E Street bridge at:

https://bridgehunter.com/ar/sebastian/poteau-river

and the only standing pier remaining, on Google Earth at GPS: 35° 22.687'N, 94° 26.016'W

Messages In This Thread

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