Carpenter’s Bluff Bridge was originally built for the Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf (MO&G) Line and the construction was completed in 1910. The bridge is a Pratt Through Truss is and 1,18.2 feet and the deck is 11.5 feet wide. From the vertical, the deck clearance is 19 feet high. The bridge was designed to include a wagon shelf, an extra lane that served travelers on foot and horseback, as well as horse-drawn vehicles. But those that used the bridge were required to pay toll to use the bridge. The bridge was designed to withstand major floods such as the 1908 flood that took out several area bridges in the area.
In 1921 the rail line was transferred to the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway Co and they maintained it until 1965 and closed the Texas line. The Texas & Pacific Railroad maintained the bridge for a short time before transferring ownership to Grayson County, Texas and Bryan County, Oklahoma.
The counties agreed to convert the bridge to vehicle traffic and was opened to the public for free. The bridge was setup for single vehicle traffic and the old wagon shelf was used for walking traffic. Eventually the walking shelf fell into disrepair and was closed permanently.
In 2017 a new bridge and bypass was built. The bridge was closed to foot traffic. During my research I found a few articles that mentioned the original plan was to tear down the bridge since it needed a lot of repairs. But the community was able to save the bridge and it was converted to a foot bridge.
My Visit to Carpenter’s Bluff Bridge
I made multiple visits to Carpenter’s Bluff Bridge in 2017 before they closed the bridge. I took a few night photos of the bridge from the new bridge and the rest during the day. The wagon shelf is in bad shape. Most of the deck is rotten and looks spongy. The supports are rusted out in a few places. It won’t be around much longer. The rest of the bridge was rusty and crusty. A few welds on the supports were broken but still safe to use.
in 2020 I made the trip again. I did not take any photos during that visit. The bridge looks to be in better shape. The wagon shelf is still in bad shape. I will update this section during my next visit.
Please Note: The Original article was written on my personal site on July 20th 2020 and will not be updated. This article will be updated as I find more information or more pictures are submitted.
About the Images
Carpenters Bluff Bridge was shot on a bright sunny day in July using my Sony a6000 Camera and with a Sony SEL16F28. The night shot was shot from new bypass bridge on a cloudy night. I then edited the images with Adobe Lightroom CC and Topaz Labs Denoise AI and Topaz Labs Sharpen AI and DXO NIK Collection to crop, clean up the image, remove noise, and recover the lost details. See the images in full resolution over at Flickr | Vanishing Texas Flickr Group
There are also 2 pictures used with permission from James Nelms, one of our regular photographers. You can follow his work on Flickr.