A Newly Found Cowley Stone Bridge

Windsor 102nd Road Culvert

In Windsor Township, Cowley County, Kansas, we recently discovered a sizable stone arch culvert spanning a small stream on 102nd Road, near Cambridge. This culvert is remarkable for the quality of the masonry and the size of the stones used.

The Culvert

This stone arch culvert is a simple structure, and has been widened on one side with a wooden structure on stone abutments. The original width of the culvert was decidedly narrow, which is a common feature of township stone culverts in southern Kansas.

Windsor 102nd Road Culvert
The 102nd Road stone culvert.

The culvert has a long approach on the west side, while the visible approach and spandrel walls on the east side appear to have failed. Many of the stones in this bridge are huge, most notably in the arch, where there appear to be instances of one massively long stone handling the entire width of the arch.

Another view of the 102nd Road culvert. Note the length of the stones used in the approach.

Under the culvert there are several large stones as well. It is hard to say if they were originally part of the culvert or maybe an outcropping the culvert rests on. There is some damage to the arch, where a small section of the arch appears to be suspended over space; it is unclear if the foundation has washed away or there was a stone here that is now missing. Also, there may be some minor undermining of the remaining visible approach wall, which appears to rest on a gravel foundation and is paralleled by a ditch. That said, there is nothing here that couldn’t be easily rectified with a simple concrete scour apron, and otherwise the arch appears to be in good, stable condition.

It is not clear if there is a stone missing here or if part of the culvert was undermined. At any rate, the rest of the arch appears to be stable for the time being.

Unfortunately, we were unable to find any newspaper information on this structure, but it would appear to be one of several stone arch culverts built by Windsor Township; some years ago we spotted the remains of one on the road between the well-known stone Neer Bridge and Fromm Bridge.

Streambed Pavement
The remains of another stone culvert in Windsor Township. The remains of this structure show that it was of a cruder build than the 102nd Road stone arch culvert, but had a paved streambed for scour protection. It is possible that this was a stone slab culvert (not an arch) though it seems somewhat large in span for the typical slab culvert in southern Kansas.

The 102nd Road culvert is yet another example of the many Cowley County township stone bridges that keep turning up. This culvert is the 16th stone arch bridge in Cowley County we found that was not on the county’s stone bridge brochure. This culvert is a clever structure built by a good workman, and has been added to our map and list of Cowley County stone bridges, map number 32. For those planning on visiting this culvert, there is also an interesting, widened stone slab culvert also on 102nd Road, west of the stone arch culvert and located near the bend in the road.