Stone Arch Bridges

Year(s) Listed:
Location Class:
Built: N/A | Abandoned: N/A
Status: Endangered
Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance

Stone bridges, though the most expensive way to erect a bridge, represented the strongest and most durable bridge construction method. When arranged with an arch, stone can bear an almost unlimited load making it a popular choice near mills where heavy vehicles would cross or along a major roadway into a town. Stone bridges represent a shift in structural engineering and aesthetics in the 19th century from temporary wooden bridges to more permanent river crossings and were often constructed with local stone. Though incredibly durable, stone bridges in Kansas are vastly becoming extinct. Constructed prior to the motorized vehicle, these bridges are often very narrow with limited visibility. Lack of government funding to repair these stone arch bridges has resulted in deteriorating structures. Many historic bridges are also being replaced to accommodate larger and heavier equipment and vehicles. Examples of historic stone bridges that are in danger of demolition in Kansas include the Diamond Creek Bridge outside of Strong City, and the Chase County Bridge. Further study of stone arch bridges in Kansas is necessary, as well as a comprehensive plan to protect and repair the structures.

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