C. C. Jamison’s Masterpiece: The Minos West Ford Bridge

Charles C. Jamison rose to be the number one stone arch bridge builder in Butler County, Kansas. Despite the premature failure of one of his very first bridges, this ambitious young man nevertheless succeeded in gaining a reputation for building quality, affordable bridges. To this day the quality of his work stands out. With well-cutContinue reading “C. C. Jamison’s Masterpiece: The Minos West Ford Bridge”

Drystack (Mortarless) Arch Tips

While building any stone arch bridge is quite rewarding, nothing quite compares to a drystack (mortarless) structure. The basic principles between mortared and mortarless work are the same. The primary difference is that more care must be taken when laying the stones for a mortarless structure. This is especially true for the arch. Challenges ofContinue reading “Drystack (Mortarless) Arch Tips”

The WPA Stone Arch Bridges

In the 1930s, the WPA was responsible for building numerous structures as works projects during the Great Depression. This gave employment to people out of work, who in turn built a wide array of structures including band shells, picnic areas…and stone arch bridges. While the WPA did not always build their bridges with stone, theyContinue reading “The WPA Stone Arch Bridges”

A Masterpiece of Stonework: The Wolf Creek Bridge

In the northern part of Oklahoma is a masterpiece of stonework: The Wolf Creek Bridge. This stone arch bridge, located in the Kaw Wildlife Management Area five miles east of Newkirk, spans Wolf Creek in a single, massive span. The structure features first-class stone work — each stone has been cut to fit precisely with its neighbors.

A Cowley County Stone Arch Bridge Before Its Time: The Island Park Bridge

Cowley County, Kansas, is well known for its large stone arch bridges. The county began building stone arch bridges in 1901, after Walter Sharp made clear to the county board that quality stone arch bridges could be made at an affordable cost. The first bridge the county made was a single arch span over TimberContinue reading “A Cowley County Stone Arch Bridge Before Its Time: The Island Park Bridge”

Stone Arch Bridge Restoration and Pudden Bridge: Part 2

So how do you restore a stone arch bridge? In Part 1, using Pudden Bridge (Esch’s Spur Bridge) in Cowley County, Kansas, as our hypothetical example, we concluded that the partial demise of this massive structure’s middle arch was likely caused by breaking stones and deteriorating mortar joints. So now we will use this informationContinue reading “Stone Arch Bridge Restoration and Pudden Bridge: Part 2”

Building Mortarless Bridges

Mortarless bridges are more challenging to build than standard, mortared bridges. The Advantages of Mortared Masonry Mortared masonry is more forgiving then mortarless stonework — the mortar fills in the gaps between stones, forming custom-shaped stones that perfectly fit into the joints. This makes the mortared masonry very strong. Well-built mortared masonry also effectively sealsContinue reading “Building Mortarless Bridges”

DIY Arch Building

While building the arch of a stone arch bridge is the most challenging part the project, it actually is not as difficult as it looks. There are several simple tricks that make the construction easier. Thin Stones Mean Easier Arc Creation As mentioned in our article on turning the arch, the use of thin stonesContinue reading “DIY Arch Building”

The Weak Point of an Arch: The Arch Faces

The arch faces are the most vulnerable point of a stone arch bridge. The upstream faces in particular are more easily damaged, as they are exposed to impacts from debris. Why the Facing Stones of the Arch are Vulnerable The individual arch stones in the arch faces tend to twist out of the arch surprisinglyContinue reading “The Weak Point of an Arch: The Arch Faces”

A Stone Arch Bridge’s Weight-Handling Abilities

What factors determine the weight limit of a stone arch bridge? Arch Ring Thickness The primary factor in the weight limit of a stone bridge is how thick the arch is. Simply, the thicker the arch, the more weight a stone arch bridge can hold. Of course, there is a little more to it thanContinue reading “A Stone Arch Bridge’s Weight-Handling Abilities”