Conveniences Sorely Needed: Montana's Historic Highway Bridges, 1860-1956

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Montana Historical Society, 2005 - History - 173 pages
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Old bridges do more than just span rivers. They provide an important historical connection between the hopes and dreams of the people who built them and those who continue to benefit from their use today. Many of Montana''s historic highway bridges are symbols of the cooperative spirit that led to economic and social stability throughout the Big Sky Country for over a century. Other bridges, such as those built during the Great Depression, are physical reminders of significant periods in American history and tell stories about the breadth of Montana''s transportation past. In addition, these bridges reflect both the best and worst in engineering techniques and serve as testaments to the science of practical bridge design, ranging from the aesthetically delightful Fort Benton Bridge to the more mundane Fred Robinson Bridge in the Missouri Breaks country.

In the modern era, where many people seem to be in a hurry to get where they''re going as fast as possible, old bridges can be obsolete nuisances that need to make way for modern conveyances. There is, however, a growing group of preservationists who see them as symbols of an earlier time that are worthy of saving. Today, Montana''s historic bridges are a visible, rarely appreciated, and fast disappearing part of the state''s historic landscape. Yet the stories they tell about Montana''s complicated social history are important to understanding the dynamics of Montana''s development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and reflect the optimism many people had, and have, for the state''s future.
 

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Contents

Wolf Point Bridge across the Missouri River
4
CHAPTER
12
Parsons Bridge on the Jefferson River
18
Fort Benton Bridge span opened to permit passage
24
The Golden Age of Bridge Building in Montana
29
CHAPTER 2
30
Pratt through truss and pin connection diagrams
36
East Bridge in Billings with a destroyed span 4 1
42
Bad Route Creek Bridge near Fallen
75
Milk River Bridge on U S Highway 2
81
Steel stringer overpass at Garrison
87
Sidney Bridge across the Yellowstone River
93
Culbertson Bridge over the Missouri River
100
Mossmain Overpass at a railroad junction near Laurel
106
Fallon Bridge across the Yellowstone River
114
Fred Robinson
120

Dearborn River High Bridge near Augusta 4 7
48
Conley Street Bridge at Deer Lodge
54
Yellowstone River or Voges Bridge west of Big Timber
62
Bonner Bridge in Missoula County under construction
68
Toston Bridge across the Missouri River
125
Saving Montanas Historic Bridges
133
Glossary
153
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Jon Axline is the historian at the Montana Department of Transportation. A frequent contributor to Montana The Magazine of Western History, Axline's publications include his contributions to the Helena history series More From the Quarries of Last Chance Gulch and Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History. He lives in Helena, Montana, with his wife Lisa and daughters Kate and Kira.

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