In Little Walnut Township, Butler County, Kansas, we were driving down Teter Road when we spotted the top of a stone arch just poking above the road surface at the edge of the road. Stopping to investigate, we found a sizable culvert, now partly buried, and off to the side of the road.
Though part of the culvert is on private property, another part of it remains in the road easement, and even encroaches somewhat into the road itself. It is located approximately halfway between Teter’s intersection with 110th Street and 120th Street.
The Teter Road stone culvert no longer carries the road. A newer culvert, probably dating from the 1930s, carries the road over the ravine instead of the stone arch culvert. Some of the arch of the stone culvert appears to have been knocked off where the culvert meets the roadway and some of the approaches appear to be in shambles. The stones knocked out of the arch appear to have been small, and obviously formed a running joint in the arch, there evidently having been no way for there to have been good bond between the missing and the remaining arch stones. All that said, the bulk of the arch and abutments appears to be in excellent condition, and was well built, the stones fitting well. Carefully lowering a small camera through the arch opening just visible above the roadway, we were able to obtain a good view inside this culvert. This curious stone bridge, though intriguing, is not, perhaps, much to look at. Notwithstanding, it possess some significance, answering a question about another stone arch culvert we found earlier this year.
A Matter of Design
After examining the Teter Road culvert we noticed that it had some significant similarities to the Glencoe/Little Walnut township line culvert.
A comparison of pictures taken looking through the two culverts reveals the similarities.
The similarities in the design of these two culverts is immediately noticeable. Unlike many stone arch culverts in the area, these two culverts both are segmental arches started off fairly high abutments. As pointed out in the post Investigating the Glencoe Township Culverts Part 3, we pointed out that the Glencoe/Little Walnut township line culvert did not look like the other Glencoe Township culverts we found. As the townships usually designed the culverts, we speculated that the Glencoe/Little Walnut township line culvert might have been built by Little Walnut township. Since the Teter Road culvert is definitely in Little Walnut Township, and given the fact that the Glencoe/Little Walnut township line culvert and the Teter Road culvert share the same, relatively unusual design, this appears to confirm that the Glencoe/Little Walnut Township line culvert was actually built by Little Walnut Township. In fact, a look at the two culverts also suggests that they were built by the same mason; the similarities in construction are quite noteworthy. Unfortunately, at this time, we have not been able to find any definite clues as to the identity of the builder of these two culverts.
Though partly buried and somewhat battered, the Teter Road stone culvert is a noteworthy example of an early Butler County township culvert. It also brings the number of known stone arch bridges in Butler County at this time to 30. Based on a thorough search of the roads of Little Walnut Township, it appears that the Teter Road culvert is one of four stone arch culverts that remain of the many once built by Little Walnut Township.