Investigating the Glencoe Township Stone Culverts Part 1

SE 90th Street Glencoe Township Culvert

As we have mentioned in previous posts, we have discovered four stone arch culverts hitherto more or less undocumented in Glencoe Township, Butler County, Kansas. Butler County rose to fame at an early date for its huge number of small stone bridges used to replace dubious timber structures. In the end, the Butler County townships built hundreds of these structures. Unfortunately, a vast number of these stone culverts are long gone; it seems, judging from newspaper references, that many of these stone culverts had some combination of shallow foundations, insufficient waterway, and narrow road width. The Glencoe stone culverts, however, were frequently if not always built to a 16′ width. Most noticeably, the remaining stone culverts in Glencoe feature surprisingly good workmanship and reasonable waterway. In the next two posts, we will look into old newspaper references on these bridges and see who built these small, quality stone bridges and when.

How It All Began

Our very first newspaper reference that led us to Glencoe Township with the idea of finding a stone culvert was in the form of an aggravatingly short remark on page two of the December 28, 1905, edition of the Leon Indicator.

“Glencoe people are being made happy with some new stone arch culverts; one is in progress just north of C. W. Talliferro.”

The Leon Indicator, December 28, 1905.

The location of C. W. Talliferro’s land was easily found in the old 1905 Kansas plat book made available by Kansas Memory. Armed with this information, we found this stone culvert on SE 80th Street as expected.

Glencoe Township Culvert
This SE 80th Street stone culvert is almost certainly the one referred to in the December 28, 1905, edition of the Leon Indicator.

This was an encouraging find, which prompted us to wonder if there were more stone arch culverts in Glencoe Township.

Looking for More

Because it was obvious that Glencoe Township erected some quality stone culverts, and because precise culvert references tend to be hard to come by, we decided to scour Glencoe Township thoroughly for more stone culverts hidden under the roads. Shortly before we began the on-the-ground exploration, we found a helpful notice in the El Dorado Republican.

Bids For Bridge.

Notice is hereby given that on the 26th day of May, A.D. 1906, the Township Board of Glencoe Township will, at 2 o’clock p.m. of said day, open bids for one 16 foot arch culvert with 16 foot roadway, located on line between sections 29 and 30, Tp 27, R. 8. Also one 6 ft arch, with 16 ft roadway located between sections 17 and 20, Tp 27, Range 7. Letting to be held at school house in S. D. No. 54. Plans and specifications on file at residence of J. P. Lucas, Township trustee. The Board reserves the right to reject any and all bids.

J. P. Lucas, Township Trustee

From the May 11, 1906, edition of the El Dorado Republican.

We specifically kept an eye open for remains of these culverts. The 16-foot culvert had given way to a more modern full-out bridge. However, the 6-foot culvert remained on the road, in surprisingly complete condition.

SE 90th Street Glencoe Township Culvert
The SE 90th Street stone culvert in Glencoe Township is likely the 6-foot-span arch culvert referred to in the call for bids presented in the El Dorado Republican. This culvert is in remarkably complete and unaltered condition.

In the end, we found a total of four stone culverts in Glencoe Township. Besides the two mentioned above, we found one that was almost filled in but still in use on 80th Street, while the other, located on the township line, had been either repaired or widened with metal on one side while the other side remains in good shape. It carries Price Road.

Thus, our search of Glencoe Township proved a success, yet one question remained: Who built the culverts? In the next post of this series, we will look more into this in detail.

To see the precise locations of the stone culverts mentioned above, please see our Stone Arch Bridges of Butler County, Kansas page.

To see part 2 of this series, click here.