Of all the many well-kept and scenic stone arch bridges of Butler County, Kansas, the Grant Bridge near Cassoday stands out. This bridge is not large; it is a modest 30-foot segmental arch span spanning Satchel Creek on NE Grant Road. What makes the bridge stand out, however, is its completeness. The bridge is intact and original down to its tall stone guardwalls. With a modest coating of ivy, this bridge, located in rural Butler County, is arguably the most scenic of all the many stone arch bridges in the county.
The Grant Bridge, completed in 1914 by C. C. Jamison, was among the very last stone arch bridges to be built by Butler County.
The Grant Bridge’s Background
The contract for the Grant Bridge was let in 1913 to C. C. Jamison. Little was said about this bridge until January 1914, when it was completed. According to the January 30, 1914, edition of the El Dorado Republican C. C. Jamison built the bridge for $1,100. This bridge was named Grant Bridge after a local landowner. This was common practice; a look at an old plat map reveals the Grants did own land at the site of the bridge that bears their name. A close look at the Grant Bridge reveals that it was built with concrete at the waterline. As it features concrete at this critical point, and was built during one of county engineer C. W. Buskirk’s several terms in office, it is safe to assume this was one of Buskirk’s “scientific” stone arch bridges.
The Last Stone Arch Bridges in Butler County
Based on newspaper records, there appears to have been only three more new stone arch bridges, one rebuild with stone of an existing stone arch bridge and a few stone culverts built by Butler County proper after the Grant Bridge was built. The rebuilt stone arch bridge was actually the very first stone arch bridge C. C. Jamison built for the county. The arch partially collapsed during flooding in 1915, and C. C. Jamison landed the contract for rebuilding this 1896 bridge. The three new stone arch bridges the county built after the Grant Bridge were as follows:
- Sections 7 and 8 Fairview Township Fourmile Creek Bridge completed in 1915. This bridge was began by S. A. Poe (a brother of S. R. Poe) who was removed from the job after a disagreement with a bridge inspector. The bridge was completed under J. F. Farley.
- The Wilhite Bridge over the Little Walnut River completed in 1915 by C. C. Jamison.
- Brownlow Schoolhouse Bridge over the Stony Branch of Hickory Creek, completed in 1918 by Kiser & Sons. (This bridge may have technically been a large culvert.)
As can be seen, the Grant Bridge was built at the end of the stone arch bridge era in Butler County. In the final tally, Butler County proper built approximately sixty stone arch bridges and culverts by the time the stone arch bridge era came to a close. About a third of these structures remain.
The Grant Bridge Today
The Grant Bridge remains in more or less unaltered condition, and is one of the last four stone arch bridges built by Butler County. The condition of this piece of transportation history is incredible. The Grant Bridge is arguably the most scenic stone arch bridge in Butler County, and is well worth a visit. With its spectacular condition, graceful design, and picturesque setting, the Grant Bridge is a fitting tribute to the builders who have come before.
Additional resource: Index of the Stone Arch Bridges of Butler County, Kansas