A New Addition to the Stone Arch Bridges of Butler County List

SW Diamond Road Stone Culvert

As some of our readers have, perhaps, already noticed, we have added a new entry to our list of stone arch bridges and culverts of Butler County, Kansas. We have verified the existence of a largely obscured stone arch culvert on SW Diamond Road in Augusta Township. This culvert is not large, and has been widened with a cement arch on both sides of the stone arch. From the road, it looks like an ordinary cement culvert. However, we had information suggesting that there was a stone arch culvert at this spot, and, by using a “selfie stick” in order to see down into the culvert, we verified that there is actually a stone arch section within the structure.

Details of the Culvert

The culvert is located roughly halfway between Diamond Road’s intersection with SW 60th Street and Diamond Road’s intersection with SW 70th Street. As has been stated previously, it looks like an ordinary cement arch culvert from the road, complete with cement curbing and cement wing walls. Looking down, it still looks like a cement culvert, and spans a small nondescript channel. The cement was obviously laid on a wooden form designed to match the shape of the original. The prints made by the individual boards of the form are clearly visible in the cement; even the grain of the wood used is shown in relief in the cement. Underneath, on the downstream side, the cement extends until it terminates abruptly in a crude seam where it meets the stonework.

SW Diamond Road Stone Culvert
The inside of the Diamond Road culvert, showing the concrete arch and where it terminates at the stone arch. Note the imprints of the boards of the form on the concrete section of the arch, and the size of the stones of the stone arch. This is a rather hard bridge to photograph; a selfie stick is helpful for lowering the camera down. We had to do some basic lighting adjustments to the photo for clarity, and we also made it black and white for best visibility.

The stones used appear to be reasonably large, but it is obvious that the original culvert was relatively narrow, hence the widening.

History

At this time, we do not know who built the stone section of the culvert or when. That said, several facts give clues to the history of the culvert. First, it had to be a township job, both because of its size and the fact that this culvert is not one of the 60 or so newspaper-documented stone arch bridges and culverts Butler County proper built. It is known that Augusta Township built many stone arch culverts; they were one of the most proactive townships in the stone arch culvert days of Butler County, Kansas. Many of these culverts were built by O. Markley, and mostly were built in the early 1900s. As such, it is probable that the builder was O. Markley and the culvert very likely dates from the early 1900s. Further research may uncover more, though the townships culverts tend to be poorly documented.

Though this culvert isn’t exactly the most scenic of Butler County’s many stone arch road structures, it is a rare example of the once numerous township culverts built in the county in years gone by.

Additional resource: Index of the Stone Arch Bridges of Butler County, Kansas