A Unique Cowley County Stone Bridge

102nd Road Crooked Creek Bridge

We recently found another stone arch bridge in Cowley County, Kansas, that is little known. This bridge spans Crooked Creek in Ninnescah Township on 102nd Road, just downstream from the 1908 Crooked Creek Bridge we found earlier this year.

The Bridge

The 102nd Road Crooked Creek Bridge is very unique inasmuch as it features numerous small, well-fitting stones in the arch instead of the standard chunky blocks of stone used in nearly all of Cowley’s other stone bridges.

102nd Road Crooked Creek Bridge
The 102nd Road Crooked Creek Bridge.

The stones at the very base of the arch are larger than the arch stones themselves, and it seems that the mason was using these thin stones to make turning the arch easier. The stones in the spandrels and approaches do not fit very well, but a close look reveals that concrete was used as mortar in these parts of the bridge, suggesting that everything save the arch proper has been rebuilt at some point. The upstream side of the stone bridge is not visible, having been widened at some point.

The Mystery

One thing immediately obvious about this bridge was that its design differs considerably from the later Ninnescah Township stone bridges. Unfortunately, the old newspapers are silent about this stone bridge, so, unless a reference turns up, the date and builder of this gem will remain unknown. The design of the bridge suggests that it may pre-date most if not all of Cowley’s stone bridges, but again, without newspaper references, it is impossible to determine anything conclusively. The bridge appears to be in good overall condition, and was obviously built by an excellent craftsman.

This bridge has been added to our list of Cowley County stone arch bridges, map number 31.