Investigating the Glencoe Township Stone Culverts Part 2

SW 90th Culvert

In our last post we showed some basic newspaper references that led us to Glencoe Township, Butler County, Kansas, in search of stone arch culverts. Unfortunately, these newspaper references did not say who the builders of these culverts were. Furthermore, we actually found four stone arch culverts in Glencoe, but only could find references for two of them. That said, by investigating the characteristics of these bridges and doing a little research into Glencoe Township stone culvert work, we can deduce a pretty clear idea of who built the two culverts specifically mentioned in the newspapers. In this post, we will investigate the two stone culverts we have definite references for, and we will examine the remaining two Glencoe stone culverts in a future post.

Glencoe Township Expenditures of 1905

A very valuable piece of information on the Glencoe culverts can be found in the November 24, 1905, edition of the El Dorado Republican. On page 6 of this paper is a statement of receipts, expenditures, and indebtedness of Glencoe Township. Among other items mentioned in this summary is a $125 expenditure on October 28 for 5 stone culverts, paid to Harry Brickley. As we mentioned in our first post on this topic, the December 28, 1905, edition of the Leon Indicator said:

“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.

We found the culvert mentioned by the Leon Indicator still in use on SE 80th Street. The Indicator’s comment further suggests that several stone arch culverts were in progress at the end of 1905. And, as the 1905 Glencoe expenditures stated, 5 culverts were let to Harry Brickley. It would seem that the SE 80th Street culvert was one of these culverts built by Harry Brickley. There is one potential problem, however. The 1905 fiscal year for Glencoe Township ended October 31, 1905, as stated in the El Dorado Republican article mentioned earlier. The Leon Indicator article is dated December 28, 1905. It could, in theory, be possible that the contract for the SE 80th Street stone culvert was let sometime between November 1 and December 28 of 1905. However, the fact that the work for the culvert was in progress by December 28 suggests that the builder had had plenty of time to start the culvert (there was usually a delay between the letting of a stone bridge contract and the beginning of its construction), making it probable that the SE 80th Street culvert referred to in the Leon Indicator was one of the October 28 batch of culverts, which also fits in with the Indicator’s indirect reference to several other stone culverts being built during the same time period.

Glencoe Township Culvert
The SE 80th Street culvert mentioned in the December 28, 1905, edition of the Leon Indicator.

Thus, we conclude that Harry Brickley very likely was the builder of the 1905 SE 80th Street Culvert shown above.

The 1906 Glencoe Township Expenditures

The 1906 Gencoe Township Expenditures can be found on page 5 of the February 22, 1907, edition of the El Dorado Republican. Unfortunately, they lack the detail of the 1905 expenditures, and do not show any Glencoe expenses from November 1, 1905, to January 26, 1906. This could mean that Glencoe did not spend any money during this time frame, which would be almost conclusive evidence that Harry Brickley built the SE 80th Street culvert based on what we have already said above. That said, the records are too unclear to say definitively that Glencoe did not spend any money from November 1, 1905, and January 26, 1906.

On the 1906 Glencoe expenditure list, Harry Brickley’s name appears extensively early on as receiving money from the township, but as 1906 progressed, several other bridge builders appear in the expenditures, such as Abe Matheney and Walter Sharp. The expenditures appear in the list on a quarterly basis. Now, as mentioned in our previous post on the topic of Glencoe culverts, on May 26th 1906, the bids for the SE 90th Street stone culvert were received. The nearest date to May 26th we find in the 1906 expenses was July 28. Harry Brickley’s name tops the list of the July 28, 1906, expenses, and we could not find any names of other known bridge builders in the list. Perhaps the SE 90th Street culvert was also by Harry Brickley?

SE 90th Street Glencoe Township Culvert
The SE 90th street culvert.

While, at a glance, we have a weaker case that Harry Brickley built the SE 90th Street culvert shown above, there remains another important clue about the builder of this culvert.

Clues From the Culverts Themselves

If we assume (as is very likely) that the SE 80th Street culvert was built by Harry Brickley, we can safely assume that he also built the SE 90th Street culvert. A close look at the two photos above reveals an unmistakable similarity between the culverts. The style of masonry is identical. The arch stones tend to be large, chunky, cubical blocks cut to the curve of the arch with a low reliance on mortar. Furthermore, the stones in the spandrels of both culverts are flatter and rectangular in shape. A more subtle similarity is that both culverts feature a ledge directly beneath the arch itself, perhaps having been intended originally to support the centering. So far, these are the only two stone bridges in the Butler area that we know for certain feature this ledge beneath the arch.

As can be seen in these two detail photos above, the arches are phenomenally similar in overall design, with the ledge underneath quite obvious in both cases. There can be but little doubt that they were built by the same person. This, reinforced by the newspaper references to Glencoe’s expenditures, strongly suggest that Harry Brickley was the successful builder of these enduring miniature stone bridges.

In the next post of this series, we will examine who exactly Harry Brickley was. After this, we will look into the two Glencoe stone culverts we have no definite newspaper references about and make an educated guess about who their builders might be.

To see the first post of this series, click here.

To see the next post of this series, click here.