Categories
Maintenance

On Spandrel Walls

One of the important parts of a stone arch bridge is the spandrel walls. The spandrel is the part of the bridge that is built up over the arch to form a reasonable roadbed grade. Unlike the approach, the spandrel walls are located over the arch. Except for a very flat arch, something must be […]

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History

Andes Bridge

The Andes Bridge, which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, is one of four double-arch bridges in Cowley County, Kansas. (The others include the Neer, Rock Creek, and the Fromm bridges—the smaller west arch of the Fromm Bridge was buried by the county to prevent collapse.) In 1909, Walter Sharp built the […]

Categories
Construction

Stone Arch Bridges: Who Built It?

One characteristic of masonry structures in general, and stone arch bridges specifically, is the fact that the person(s) who built the bridge inevitably left behind a hallmark. Not just any and all plaques, but the workmanship itself is often telltale. Each builder has his own method, and, in the case of bridge contractors, the contracting […]

Categories
Locations

The Esch’s Spur Bridge

The Esch’s Spur Bridge (called Kirk Bridge on the plaque) is a well-known triple-arch bridge outside Dexter, Cowley, Kansas, that is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Built in 1913 by Walter Sharp, this bridge has spanned Grouse Creek for over a century. Arguably the most renowned of the Cowley bridges, it is […]

Categories
Construction

Stone Arch Bridges: Methods of “Turning the Arch”

Arguably the most difficult part of building a stone arch bridge is “turning the arch.” This phrase simply refers to keeping the correct angle on each individual stone so that the arch goes in a circle — not as easy, perhaps, as one might think. The Gothic Arch To begin with, some arch shapes are […]

Categories
History

What’s in a Name?

Many of the old stone arch bridges around the world have names which, after a fashion, tell a tale of the history of the structure and, sometimes, the area around it. Others have obvious names that are not particularly informative, beyond, perhaps, what body of water the bridge is spanning. In Kansas, many of the […]

Categories
History

Record Bridges of Cowley Kansas

Cowley County is known as the stone arch bridge capital of Kansas. While something of a latecomer to the stone arch bridge building trend of this part of the state, Cowley quickly rose to become famous for its stone arch bridges. Shortly after the county built a stone arch bridge over Timber Creek, they undertook […]

Categories
History

Otter Creek Bridge

The North Branch Otter Creek Bridge in Greenwood County, Kansas, is a well-known, triple-arch stone bridge listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It was built by pioneer bridge builder Walter Sharp, as shown by the plaque. Walter Sharp is renowned for being the foremost builder of the famous Cowley County stone arch bridges. […]