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Historic Bridges of Nebraska

Otoe County

Wyoming Bridge
unnamed bridge
Wolf Creek Bridge
unnamed bridge

Wyoming Bridge

County Road Over Squaw Creek
9.1 Miles Northeast of Dunbar
Otoe County, Nebraska
Total Length: 97 ft.
Roadway Width: 14 ft.
8-Panel, Bowstring Pony Arch-Truss
BUILT: 1878 by the King Iron Bridge Company
C006616140
Wyoming Bridge

Otoe County records do not mention this bridge specifically, but they do indicate an extended relationship with the bridge's fabricator, the King Iron Bridge Company. The county first contracted with the huge Ohio-based bridge firm in June 1876, when the supervisors ordered three small-scale iron bridges. They purchased structures from King throughout the 1880s, until King sued the county and in 1888 won a sizeable settlement in the U.S. Circuit Court. To defray the expenses in its King Iron Bridge Judgement Fund, the county initiated a special 1.5 mill levy that year.

Otoe County stretched its payments to King until 1891, ordering at least one more superstructure, the Wolf Creek Bridge, from the contractor, but the two soon ceased doing business. Although the records are inconclusive, it seems likely that this bowstring was one of three ordered from King in July 1878. The bridge has evidently been moved to its current location over Squaw Creek near the small town of Wyoming.

In its present location, the Wyoming Bridge is comprised of an 80-foot bowstring arch-truss, supported by steel pile bents. Marketed widely in Nebraska by such industry giants as King and the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, bowstrings were the mainstay structural type for iron wagon bridges in the 1870s and 1880s. Numerous bowstrings were erected in eastern Nebraska during that period, but through subsequent attrition only a handful remain in place today. Most of these were erected by King. The Wyoming Bridge is significant as a well-preserved, early example of a King bowstring: one of the last surviving trusses of its type remaining in Nebraska.

unnamed bridge

Unnamed Bridge County Road over Unnamed Stream
1.5 Miles Southwest of Nebraska City
Otoe County, Nebraska
Total Length: 28 ft.
Roadway Width: 13.8 ft.
1-Span, Concrete Filled Spandrel Arch
BUILT: 1912 by the Kimballton Construction Company
C006601805P

This small-scale concrete bridge carries a gravel-surfaced county road over a small unnamed watercourse southwest of Nebraska City. The structure dates to 1912. On February 6, the Otoe County Commissioners awarded a contract to erect this 24-foot concrete arch to the Kimballton Construction Company of Kimballton, Iowa. The contract specified that the arch be complete with wingwalls, have 8-inch wide 3-foot high guardrails, and a 16-foot roadway width. The contractors completed the bridge that spring, and it has carried vehicular traffic since in unaltered and well-preserved condition. As one of a handful of concrete arches remaining in Otoe County, this bridge is noteworthy for its high degree of detailing and quality workmanship.

Wolf Creek Bridge

Vacated County Road over Wolf Creek
10.3 Miles Northwest of Dunbar
Otoe County, Nebraska
Total Length: 77 ft.
Roadway Width: 13.3 ft.
1-Span, 4-Panel, Pratt Through Truss
BUILT: 1889 by the King Iron Bridge Company
C006610270
Wolf Creek Bridge

In Nebraska, the pinned Pratt through truss was the bridge of choice for short- and medium-span applications in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most of the structures erected during this period were based on standard plans developed either by the state engineer's office or by the individual bridge companies. As a result, hundreds of Pratts were built across the state, all essentially identical, and today the Pratt truss constitutes the most populous group of through trusses. The Wolf Creek Bridge is not like any other truss in Nebraska, however. Erected in 1889 by the King Iron Bridge Company, it displays features such as fishtail floor beams, peculiar upper-chord connections and "sideways" end posts and upper chords that were soon thereafter rendered anachronistic. Moved to this location over Wolf Creek, the truss has more recently been closed to vehicular traffic.

unnamed bridge

Unnamed Bridge County Road over Unnamed Stream
4.1 Miles Southwest of Lorton
Otoe County, Nebraska
Total Length: 78 ft.
Roadway Width: 15.6 ft.
1-Span, 2-Panel, Bowstring Pony Arch Truss
BUILT: 1876 (?) by the King Iron Bridge Company
C00633215

Spanning a small tributary of the Little Nemaha River, this 40-foot bowstring carries a vacated section of county road southwest of Lorton. The wrought iron superstructure has evidently been moved to this crossing, its original location unknown. The structure consists of two-panel, bowstring arch-truss fabricated from a patented design by the King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio. It is perhaps one of five iron spans purchased by the county from King in June and July 1876. Although later moved, this diminutive bridge in southern Otoe County is significant as a well-preserved, early example of a King bowstring: one of the last surviving trusses of its type remaining in Nebraska.

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