HistoricBridges.org Menu:
HistoricBridges.org Menu:

Divider

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Home

Divider

St. Francisville Bridge

   
                  


Advertisements:

Divider
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.
St. Francisville Bridge
Promotions:


Chicago's Bridges Book (By HistoricBridges.org author Nathan Holth): Available Here!

Divider

View Historic Bridges Available For Reuse (These make great cost-effective trail bridges.)

Divider

Show your support for preservation of Virginia's Waterloo Bridge by signing an online petition!

Bridge Documented: July 3, 2009
View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Key Facts
Bridge Name Facility Carried / Feature Intersected Location Structure Type Construction Date and Builder/Engineer
St. Francisville Bridge
MO-B and Belfast Road Over Des Moines River St. Francisville: Lee County, Iowa and Clark County, Missouri Metal Cantilever 12 Panel Rivet-Connected Warren Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed 1937 By Builder/Contractor: F. W. Whitehead and Engineer/Design: Sverdrup and Parcel of St. Louis, Missouri
Technical Facts
Main Span Length Structure Length Roadway Width Main Spans Approach Spans NBI Number
228 Feet (69.5 Meters) 763.2 Feet (232.6 Meters) 21.7 Feet (6.6 Meters) 3 6 603980

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This bridge is a very important bridge for several reasons. First and foremost, it is a cantilever truss bridge. Cantilever truss bridges are few in number nationwide, yet also are being demolished at a rapid rate. In addition, the St. Francisville Bridge is significant as a rare example of a small-scale cantilever truss bridge. While there are a number of other small cantilevers in the country, they are significantly fewer in number than larger cantilever bridges. The small scale cantilever bridges have a strikingly different appearance from larger cantilever truss bridges, most notably the towers do not rise above the surrounding trusses as extensively. Finally, the bridge is significant as a large-scale construction project funded by federal Depression relief programs.

The St. Francisville Bridge contains a traditionally composed cantilever truss with cantilevers following a Warren truss configuration. The bridge also contains a suspended Warren through truss span at the center of the bridge between cantilever arms. The south end of the bridge also includes six steel stringer approach spans.

The St. Francisville Bridge had carried a major regional highway as a toll bridge since its construction. In the early 2000s this bridge was bypassed by a new bridge and SR-27 was realigned onto this new bridge. In 2003 the historic St. Francisville Bridge was converted from a toll bridge to a free bridge to carry local traffic on a county road. The bridge has continued to exist with a high degree of historic integrity and it remains essentially unaltered from its original design.

 Perhaps now that the bridge has been bypassed and the St. Francisville Bridge sees drastically less traffic, the bridge will be protected from both deterioration and demolition. This bridge is a beautiful structure, and its low traffic volume would make this bridge a great bridge to receive a high level of preservation priority. If this bridge's owners continue to maintain the bridge even though it is not a busy toll bridge anymore, than the bridge should last for a very, very long time into the future.

Information and Findings From Missouri and Iowa's Historic Bridge Inventory

Bridge Features

Superstructure: steel, 12-panel, rigid-connected cantilever Warren through truss
Substructure: concrete abutments and spill-through piers
Floor/decking: concrete deck over steel stringers
Other features: upper chord and inclined end post: 2 channels with cover plate and lacing; lower chord: 2 channels with lacing; vertical: 4 angles, laced; diagonal: 2 channels, laced; lateral bracing: 1 angle; strut: 4 angles, laced and braced; floor beam: I-beams; guardrail: 2 channels;
Bridge plate: ST. FRANCISVILLE BRIDGE / FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS / PROJECT NO. 3395-R; builder's plate: ST. FRANCISVILLE BRIDGE / BUILT BY / WAYLAND SPECIAL ROAD DISTRICT NO. 1 / CLARK COUNTY, MISSOURI / BOARD OF SUPERVISORS / O.T. BROWN / CHAS. H. KRUEGER / WILFORD ORR / R.A. KEARNS / SVERDRUP AND PARCEL / CONSULTING ENGINEERS / F.W. WHITEHEAD CONTRACTOR / A.D. 1936

Iowa's Discussion of Bridge

The St. Francisville Bridge carries Iowa Route 394 and the Missouri Supplemental Route B over the Des Moines River, between Lee County, Iowa and Clark County, Missouri. A three-span, rigid-connected Warren through truss cantilevered over the river, the imposing crossing is supported by a concrete substructure with subtle Art Moderne detailing. Designed by the esteemed engineering firm of Sverdrup and Parcel, the bridge was built by F.W. Whitehead, an otherwise obscure contractor. Construction efforts were organized by the Wayland Special Road District No. 1 in Clark County, and funding was provided in part through the Federal Emergency Administration of the Public Works, under Project No. 3395-R. Since its completion in June 1937, the St. Francisville Bridge has functioned as a toll bridge, and is now Iowa's only such crossing still in non-governmental hands.

Missouri's Discussion of Bridge

The St. Francisville Bridge carries Missouri Supplemental Route B, and Iowa Route 394 over the Des Moines River, between Clark County, Missouri, and Lee County, Iowa. A three-span, rigid-connected Warren through truss cantilevered over the river, the imposing crossing is supported by a concrete substructure with subtle Art Moderne detailing. Designed by the esteemed engineering firm of Sverdrup and Parcel, the bridge was built by F.W. Whitehead, an otherwise obscure contractor. Construction efforts were organized by the Wayland Special Road District No. 1 in Clark County, and funding was provided in part through the Federal Emergency Administration of the Public Works, under Project No. 3395-R. Since its completion in June 1937, the St. Francisville Bridge has functioned as a toll bridge, and it is now Missouri's only such crossing still in non-government hands. As of early 1991, the fare for a one-way crossing was 25 cents.

Located at what must be Missouri's most remote interstate crossing, the St. Francisville Bridge is one of the state's few remaining toll bridges. In this it represents a nationwide trend toward toll bridge construction in the 1920s and 1930s. Toll bridges were built at major crossings throughout the country during this time by private companies, small corporations or local citizen groups, to fill the void created by state government inaction. Multiple-span structures such as the Hermann Bridge, the Gasconade Bridge, the Cape Girardeau Bridge and the Jerome Bridge were all built as toll structures and later opened to free traffic once their funding bonds had been retired. The St. Francisville Bridge, on the other hand, is the only such structure still in private hands and still operating as a toll structure. The bridge is technologically distinguished as a relatively uncommon example of cantilevered truss construction. The cantilevered through truss was a signature design of St. Louis-based Sverdrup and Parcel, which also engineered the similarly configured Hermann, Gasconade and Hannibal bridges. The cantilevered Warren truss configuration is uncommon for a bridge of the scale of St. Francisville, however, more often found on the major Missouri and Mississippi River bridges. A well-preserved interstate crossing, the St. Francisville Bridge is an important highway-related resource.

Bridge Considered Historic By Surveys: Yes

View Original PDF For Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory Sheet

Visit Iowa's Historic Bridge Webpage For This Bridge

Divider

Photos and Videos: St. Francisville Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
View Photo Gallery Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer

View Maps
and Links

Divider
 
Home Top

Divider

About Contact Footer

© Copyright 2003-2014, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.