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  Texas : Architecture : Bridges :

THE WACO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
Waco, Texas

Date Built - 1869-1870
Designed by John A. Roebling
Chief Engineer - Thomas Griffith
River - Brazos


by John Troesser
Photos courtesy of Terri Mathis

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Waco Hotels

Waco Suspension Bridge vintage photo
At one time this bridge was the longest (475 feet) single-span suspension bridge in the world and the first over the Brazos River. For a time it was the only bridge over the Brazos.

At one time this bridge was the longest (475 feet) single-span suspension bridge in the world and the first over the Brazos River. For a time it was the only bridge over the Brazos.

Being the only bridge made it a popular crossing point for cattle herds - an economic boon for Waco.

The bridge was hauled in sections by wagons from Galveston. It is said to have been the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge - built thirteen years later.

The cost was $130,000 and sources say there were between 2,700,000 and 3,000,000 locally made bricks used in construction.

The bridge company collected tolls 20 years before selling it to McLennan County for $80,000 (in a bond issue). The county, in turn, "sold" it to the city of Waco for $1.

The bridge originally had crenellated towers that were stuccoed over sometime between 1910 and 1913. The toll-keeper and his family lived in a cottage next to the bridge - complete with a fenced yard and windmill.

The bridge survived floods in 1885, 1907, and 1913. Only the approaches and roads were damaged in the flood of 1885.
Vintage photo courtesy TXDoT
Waco Suspension Bridge today
Waco Suspension Bridge
Waco Suspension Bridge tower
   
People and Suspension Bridge, Waco, Texas 1912 postcard
The Suspension Bridge and Wacoans, 1912

Postcard courtesy rootsweb.com/
~txgenweb// postcards/Index.html
Suspension Bridge, Waco, Texas 1900s postcard
The Suspension Bridge in the early 1900s

Postcard courtesy texasoldphotos.com

The other bridges crossing the Brazos at Waco:

  • The Waco Steel Bridge AKA The Washington Street Bridge, The Iron Bridge c. 1902.
  • The Interurban Railway Bridge c.1910, built close to and just west of the Suspension Bridge.
  • The Railroad Bridge - Known to the public as "the railroad bridge" but is known to the railroad by it's designation of Union Pacific Bridge 844-7.
  • Three Brazos River bridges at Waco, Texas , old post card

    Old post card showing three bridges over the Brazos at Waco.

    One red brick tower of the Suspension Bridge can be seen over the top of the Interurban bridge.

    TE post card archives

    The Whipple Truss Bridge

    Although the caption of a post card gives the location of the bridge as Waco, alert reader Paul Newsome identified it as the Whipple Truss Bridge, c. 1884, still standing at Clifton.
    More Waco Bridges | Texas Bridges
    See Waco, Texas
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    John Troesser
    Photos Terri Mathis
    Recommended Book
    Bridges: The Spans of North America

     
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    This page last modified: October 23, 2007