Mystery Bridge Nr. 137: The arch bridge with unique railings

This next mystery bridge takes us to Kansas and this bridge: The Gypsum Creek Arch Bridge. And if there was a true meaning of something being located out in the middle of nowhere, this is it.

The single span, closed spandrel concrete arch bridge is located at least 20 miles away from the nearby towns in each direction. The nearest town is Roxbury, which is an unincorporated community. The bridge is approximately 25-30 miles northeast of the incorporated county seat, McPherson.   It spans a branch of Gypsum Creek on an old alignment of 27th Avenue. There is almost no information about the bridge, yet a pair of photos can be found in the website, including a Google Street View shot, presented here.  Judging by the bridge’s appearance, it must’ve been built between 1900 and 1920 but was replaced by a culvert on a new alignment at least 20 years ago, by which the bridge has long since been claimed by nature. The bridge is located in the vicinity of the Maxwell Natural Preserve.

Judging by the bridge’s appearance, the structure is a real diamond in the rough for not only is the structure an arch span, but also the railings reveal a series of arches with ornamental features on the top rails- something that is rare for an arch span, pre-rehab. Most arch bridges have vase-style ballustrade railings, especially for longer spans. Yet the bridge builder who designed this structure wanted to break away from that tradition and leave a mark for himself.

Yet who was he to be this creative and when did he leave his mark? And what other bridges did he build using such a fancy design?  This is the question we are trying to find out.

If you have any information about the bridge or its builder, please feel free to leave your comments here or in the website.  If we have enough data, the next step is to nominate the bridge fort he National Register, while at the same time, work to restore the structure for future use.  Such a diamond is worth a save to get a better understanding on its history.