This list of lesser-known bridges in Kansas is composed of bridges that are not well documented for various reasons. Some of them are off-road while others, even though they are actually on the roadway, have largely escaped the public eye — an easy occurrence if they are not on the national bridge inventory or are largely obscured.
1. Walz Ford Bridge, Butler County, KS
Location: On Bluestem Road, head 1 mile south from the paved SE 210th road, Clay Township, Butler County.
Walz Ford Bridge is a partly-filled-in double arch bridge. Newspaper evidence showed that its two 18ft arches once carried the road over Rock Creek at the Walz Ford. The bridge was built at the turn of the 19th century and is now high and dry. The two arches are still visible on one side; however, the other side is buried.
The road still goes over the bridge, though the Rock Creek crossing is effected on a newer bridge some feet away. The only evidence readily available for the stone bridge is a long stone approach, broken by the new bridge, and a single guard rail over a shallow draw over which the bridge spans.
An in depth article on the Walz Ford Bridge can be found at HomesteadOnTheRange.com.
2. Horse Creek Bridge, Cowley County, KS
The bridge is on private land; no trespassing please!
The bridge is tucked away in the light woods off to the North-North-West side of the paved Grouse Creek Road (County Route 14) where it crosses Horse Creek. This spot is just barely south west further of the intersection of 232nd road (which, incidentally, is the road you take to see the triple arch Esch’s Spur bridge).
The Horse Creek bridge was built in 1913 by Walter Sharp. Clearly, the road was relocated at some point after the bridge was built.
Additional resource: Index of the Stone Arch Bridges of Cowley County, Kansas
3. Abandoned Road Bridge Near Elgin, Chautauqua County, KS
Location: This bridge is on private land — no trespassing please! You’ll find it over an unnamed draw hidden in the very closely wooded area on the Hewins-to-Elgin drive, a short way west of Elgin on Dalton Road.
This small bridge is one of the numerous evidences of an abandoned road that ran north of and more or less parallel to the current road. It is likely only visible from the road in winter.
Keep your eyes peeled while on the abandoned road; you will see hairpin turns supported by old stone retaining walls, ancient cars, and this bridge. Who knows, maybe there are more stone bridges in here that we didn’t see!
4. SKOL Railway Culverts, Cowley County, KS
Location: Taking US 166 east out of Cambridge, the SKOL railway follows the highway for a few miles. Keep an eye on the railway — there are several stone culverts in plain sight.
Technically, the ones we saw and included pictures of are not stone arch bridges, they are stone slab bridges. However, they are still interesting and represent a significant precursor to the arch well worth seeing.