BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 138: Tribute to James Baughn

The next Pic of the Week series dedicated to James Baughn takes us to Jefferson City, the state capital of Missouri. With a population of 42,700 inhabitants, Jeff City (which is the nickname of the city) represents one of only nine capital cities that have a population of less than 50,000 inhabitants. It is also the city with its lone crossing over the Missouri River and is one where the nearest crossing over the second longest river in the States is over 75 miles- in each direction!

In either case, our profile this week is the Jeff City Twin Bridges. The bridges feature two, identical steel through arch bridges that carry US Highways 54 and 63. Its history is similar to the twin suspension bridges out east, the Delaware Memorial Bridges. The first bridge was designed by Sverdrup and Parcel of St. Louis Missouri and fabricated by Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Company, completing the now southbound bridge in 1953. A video showing the construction of the bridge can be seen below:

Originally it was built to replace a combination truss and swing bridge built in 1896. An identical span was built in 1991 to accommodate northbound traffic. As of present, the twin bridges are still serving traffic in and out of Jeff City. You can view the video of crossing the Jeff City Bridges here:

The pic at the beginning of this article was taken by James Baughn at sundown, showing the two spans in its original glory, standing side-by-side. 🙂

Stupp Brothers was one of a handful of bridge builders in Missouri that played a key role in the construction of bridges in the state for well over a century and a half. Many structures built by Stupp still exist in the state, even though records indicate that the company had built bridges in neighboring Illinois, Iowa and Kansas and there was even one constructed in Mississippi. I had a chance to interview one of the family members who is still associated with the company in 2017, in connection with one of the bridges that spanned the Merrimack River carrying the former Route 66. How the company came into being and is still running strong, you will find in the interview in the next article.