Bridges in the boondocks


Springfield Bridge over Cadron Creek near Springfield, Arkansas was completed in 1874. It was in continuous use for 117 years until 1991 when a new bridge was built upstream. Since maintenance has stopped on the bridge, it is rapuidly deteriorating. However, the fact that it is still standing after 135 years in the elements tells us someone did something right when they designed and built the bridge.

Springfield Bridge over Cadron Creek near Springfield, Arkansas was completed in 1874. It was in continuous use for 117 years until 1991 when a new bridge was built upstream. Since maintenance has stopped on the bridge, it is rapidly deteriorating. However, the fact that it is still standing after 135 years in the elements tells us someone did something right when they designed and built the bridge.

The story of  Springfield Bridge started on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer.com.  Click here see more bridge pictures and find out how this thing started.

The bridge was bolted together. Nuts for the bolts are square shouldered. The bridge rests on native stone masonry supports on each end. The approaches are under gird with what appear to be 12″ x 12″ bridge timbers. These timbers for the most part,  are intact.

During winter months when the trees have dropped their leaves, you can get a glimpse of the old bridge from the road. Not so once the leaves sprout.

Leaves and vines dropping on the floor of the bridge have, over the years, created a layer of humus. No doubt, a good crop of grass will grow on the bridge in warmer months.

This is the east end of the bridge. In he lower right, you can see one of the 12 x 12 bridge timbers which support the bridge approach. Leaves and vines dropping on the floor of the bridge have, over the years, have created a layer of humus or compost. Take your choice. No doubt, a good crop of grass will grow on the bridge in warmer months.

A bit further north, just east of Morrilton AR is another abandoned bridge, Creek Road Bridge. Putting yourself next to Springfield Bridge is a short stroll from the highway. Creek Road Bridge is another story. The road to the bridge dead ends well east of the bridge. The dead end is solid underbrush. Closer inspection reveals a hint of a path, but it is helpful if you are a contortionist when you negotiate it. I’m not and my bones still ache.

Not far from the Creek Road bridge are these remains of an old vehicle. The right fender and the hardware which held the radiator in place are still there, but just barley. How it wound up in a creeks bottoms will remain a mystery.

Not far from the Creek Road bridge are these remains of an old vehicle. The right fender and the hardware which held the radiator in place are still there, but just barley. How it wound up in a creeks bottoms will remain a mystery.

You wind your way through a grave yard of former impromptu dumping sites, now overgrown, but still somewhat crunchy under your feet. While this sounds a bit on the gross side, it is preferrable to being up to your ankles in mud, an all-too-familiar condition in creek beds. I ran across the remnants of a late 30s or mid 40s pickup truck just a few yards from the bridge.

Here it is. Creek Road Bridge, east of Morrilton. Visiting the bridge is appropriate for hardy souls only. It is not far from the road, but the pathway is thick to say the least. I base these comments on late winter conditions before the "wait-a-minute" vines and "sticker" bushes have reached their warm weather potential.

Here it is. Creek Road Bridge, east of Morrilton. Visiting the bridge is appropriate for hardy souls only. It is not far from the road, but the pathway is thick to say the least. I base these comments on late winter conditions before the "wait-a-minute" vines and "sticker" bushes have reached their warm weather potential.

I came back from this trip bloodied, muddied and grinning like a jackass eating sawbriers. It’s a nasty job, but someone’s got to do it. I did observe one nicety at the old Springfield Bridge. As I was leaving the bridge site, a  couple in their twenties drove up to go see the bridge. There is hope.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe

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3 Responses

  1. Sometimes bridges are replaced by newer ones, but other times they are left to die … some to budget cuts, and some to structural concerns.

    But here’s what stuck me in this story … I’m wondering how does Joe pick his theme, get his ideas, etc … have you done a post about that?

    As always, well done!

  2. Frank, I don’t employ a set agenda or protocol to determine content. I do however, always have my antennae sensitized to ideas. I’m what you would call an idea predator, in this sense of the word, to wit: Since a predator must eat to survive, he or she must always be on the hunt. So I am always looking for ideas.
    That does not preclude some premeditated content. The bridges were as a result of some research. The cypress trees, I knew about and had been there before.
    Most of the Grist content, however, is extemporaneous. I leave in a general direction to see what I can find. That’s how I found the house at Lester, the guy with the mules and most of the other posts.
    It’s a challenge of the hunt thing with me. I head out on a Saturday or Sunday, knowing that by Sunday evening, I have to have a couple of 400 word essays and a half-dozen or so meaningful photos.
    It keeps life interesting.
    Thanks,
    Joe

  3. Thanks Joe as I was curious about your perspective. Well said and much appreciated. Carry on the good work!

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