We recently found three more stone arch bridges in southern Cowley. Two were found in Grant Township, while one, a most remarkable structure, was found in Spring Creek Township.
292nd Road Grant Township Culvert
The first stone arch bridge we found is of moderate size and is located on 292nd Road, near the west edge of Grant Township. It is built somewhat like the Cedar Township culverts; concrete appears to have been used to make the angles.
Unfortunately, this culvert is obviously suffering from structural problems. As is readily apparent in the photo, hinges have formed in the arch suggesting collapse is on its way. However, a look at the other side of the arch showed no such structural problems; likely the defect is primarily confined to the side of the arch shown and a collapse will result in a narrowing, but not the complete destruction, of this culvert.
This culvert has been added to our list and map of Cowley County stone bridges, number 46.
251st Road Grant Township Culvert
This small structure is in good shape, though the workmanship is rather crude. Here again cement was used to help make the arch angles.
Note how some of the arch stones are “inverted;” in other words they are placed with the thin end up and the thick end down. Not ideal, but, obviously, the culvert is still carrying the road after many years of use.
This culvert has been added to our list and map of Cowley County stone bridges, number 47.
A Remarkable, Tiny Stone Culvert
The stone culvert we found in Spring Creek Township probably ranks as the most unique stone culvert we have found, mainly because of its size. This culvert is tiny! Only about an estimated one or two feet in span, this tiny structure features a true stone arch and truly carries the road, which is the north-south jog on 231st Road (231st here is stair-stepped in shape), north of 231st’s intersection 322nd Road.
It is not clear what shape was intended for the arch; as it sits the culvert is parabolic in shape, though rather lopsided, and consists of tiny slabs of stone, laid surprisingly well. The culvert was widened with a length of culvert pipe on one side, but this pipe is now more or less filled in.
As can be seen in the photo above, there is concrete on the underside of the arch suggesting concrete was used for mortar. The concrete is very thick on the top of the arch, which shows that, for whatever reason, the top stones of the arch did not really rest on the arch form. Why such a tiny stone culvert was built is a mystery; it seems that such an involved structure of such diminutive size would hardly be economical. Regardless, it is an interesting if strange example of the stone mason’s art, but for those who seek to view this structure be aware that it is very easy to miss! Check our map for the location, then drive slowly; there are many new culverts on this stretch of road with this gem located inconspicuously over an almost nonexistent ditch.
This culvert has been added to our list and map of Cowley County stone bridges, bridge number 48.