Sep 262012

Just north and west of Schell City, Missouri, down the old “River Road” are the ruins of an iron truss bridge that for a hundred years spanned the Osage River, connecting Schell City and Rockville. It’s not far from where the Bates County Ditch (which has its own interesting and little known history) enters the Osage. Closed traffic for many years, it fell into the river in February of this year. Sadly each year there are fewer and fewer of these wonderful iron truss bridges. The usual cause of their demise is obsolescence and lack of maintenance. They are replaced by architecturally uninteresting steel and concrete girder bridges. This 317 foot iron bridge became structurally deficient when maintenance stopped.

We have posted here on our website and on YouTube a video tribute and mini history of this iron bridge.

We think the Schell City bridge died a natural death, but there were local rumors that it was dynamited. The history of bridging the Osage River and its tributaries is covered in our new book, DAMMING THE OSAGE by Leland and Crystal Payton, which will be available by December 1.

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