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Historic Bridges of Nebraska

Antelope County

Neligh Mill Bridge

Elm Street over the Elkhorn River in Neligh
Antelope County, Nebraska
Total Length: 145 ft.
Roadway Width: 17.3 ft.
1-Span, 8-Panel, Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss
BUILT: 1910 by the Western Bridge and Construction Company
C000202710
Neligh Mill Bridge

John Neligh began construction of his water-powered merchant mill on the bank of the Elkhorn River in 1873, shortly after platting the town of Neligh. He sold the unfinished millworks to William Gallaway the next year, and Gallaway completed the structure soon thereafter. As it expanded operations steadily in the 1870s and 1880s, the mill formed a focal point for the town and Antelope County.

Early in 1884 the county commissioners acted to replace the existing wagon bridge across the Elkhorn River here. They first advertised for a timber/iron combination span, then changed to an all-iron span, then awarded a contract for the bridge to B.F. Parks, then canceled the contract when Parks failed to perform.

Finally, in March 1884 the county contracted with the King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland to erect an iron Pratt truss. King's truss functioned for a quarter century before the county moved to replace it with a heavier span. Early in 1910 the commissioners ordered a 140-foot Pratt truss from the Western Bridge and Construction Company of Omaha, which then held the county's annual bridge contract. Western Bridge completed the truss by May. The Neligh Mill Bridge has carried traffic since, in unaltered condition.

Now restored and owned by the Nebraska Historical Society, the Neligh Mill is one of the state's more interesting historical sites. This river crossing, located at the southern periphery of Neligh, has formed a regionally important link that joined the northern and southern halves of Antelope County. The Neligh Mill Bridge was the first bridge in the county over the Elkhorn River and reportedly the first bridge over the river west of Norfolk. It is noteworthy as a well-preserved example of a mainstay structural type for wagon bridges in Nebraska.

Elkhorn River Bridge (a.k.a. Singing Bridge or Krumm Bridge)

Elkhorn River Bridge Township Road over the Elkhorn River
3 Miles East of Clearwater
Antelope County, Nebraska
Total Length: 135 ft.
Roadway Width: 13 ft.
1-Span, 8-Panel Bowstring Through Arch-Truss
BUILT: 1883 by the King Iron Bridge Company
C000221910

On February 8, 1883, the Antelope County Commissioners contracted with the King Iron Bridge Company to erect an iron arch across the Elkhorn River northeast of Clearwater. For this crossing, the Cleveland-based bridge company built a 98-foot bowstring arch-truss, fabricated from Zenas King's patented tubular arch design. Completed late that spring, the bridge carried wagon traffic with only minor repairs for nearly 45 years. Around 1929 it was moved to its present location over the Elkhorn. Here the bridge replaced a ca. 1890 timber structure, known as the Krumm [Crum] Bridge. In recent years the bowstring has become known as the "Singing Bridge" because of the melodic sound it emits when crossed. A replacement span was built just upstream in 1990, taking vehicular traffic from the old bowstring. The Singing Bridge is now preserved in place as one of the last remaining examples in the state of this important early bridge type.

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