Jack Beale Smith’s Example Bowstring Arch Bridge for Redbank Creek was shown at
This bowstring example is officially called in Missouri:
Steel's Fish Trap Bridge
See at https://bridgehunter.com/mo/saline/bowstring/
Saline County, Missouri
Built 1882 by the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co., using stone abutments from an earlier 1875 bridge
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas
Bowstring through truss
Span length: 100.0 ft.
Total length: 100.0 ft.
Deck width: 14.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 12.6 ft.
Bowstring through truss bridge over Salt Fork River on CR 225
WHERE DID ALL THE BEALE IRON BRIDGES GO??
Consider the following: It seems that most, if not all, of the six Iron Bridges built by the Federal Government for the Beale Wagon Road in Indian Territory just prior to the Civil War just disappeared sometime after the War, at least the iron bridges did by 1872. These iron bridges were under the control of the U.S. Army and perhaps even owned by them. No former Confederate operative could either claim ownership to them, or move them without the permission of federal authorities. So where did they go?? Especially, the four 100-foot Whipple bowstring arch spans??
As I looked at the above Steel’s Fish Trap Bridge, and checking Google Maps, I note that it was located on Salt Fork River in Saline County, Missouri. It was built on the former stone masonry foundations of a former 100-ft bridge (surely iron), said to have been built in 1875. It is strange that this former bridge didn’t last very long, even though it was built on the same foundations that the present 138-year old iron bowstring arch bridge now sets on.
Recall that the Saline County area, located south of the Missouri River, was an area heavily fought over by Sterling Price’s Confederate forces (twice in fact) against Missouri’s and other USV troops (once in October 1864), and must have suffered heavy damages to its infrastructure.
Perhaps the U.S. Army simply took the BWR iron bridges down, say about 1874, hauled them over to the newly built “Katy” Railroad depot at Eufaula (North Fork Town) and shipped them northbound (into Yankee country) to Kansas City, then east to Sedalia, Missouri to be used to rebuild the local county roads where Missouri General Egbert B. Brown used to command.
The 1875 Salt Fork bridge site looks a lot like the old 1859 BWR Little River bridge did. Fortunately, the USA didn’t take/destroy the stone masonry abutments, like those now seen at Little River and Redbank Creek, IT. You can bet the nearby former Confederate states or Indian Nations didn’t get them.