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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Las Cruces in Dona Ana County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Historic Green Bridge

 
 
The Historic Green Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Wyndfire, August 1, 2015
1. The Historic Green Bridge Marker
Inscription. This structure is the oldest steel highway bridge in New Mexico, built in 1902 by Chaves County as part of the three-span Pecos River Bridge east of Roswell. There it connected the growing town with the smaller communities and ranches of the Eastern Plains. It remained in service until 1937, when the highway was relocated a few miles away due to severe flooding. A few years later the New Mexico State Highway Department dismantled the Pecos River Bridge and moved the center span to a smaller secondary road over the Rio Hondo. There it linked smaller ranches to the town of Picacho and the adjacent highway to Roswell and Ruidoso. The reassembled Rio Hondo Bridge at Picacho was cleaned, re-decked, and painted graphite green. The local residents of southeastern Lincoln County fondly referred to it as the "Green Bridge". It remained in use until 1989, when it was bypassed with a modern concrete bridge. Lincoln County donated the bridge to the Museum in 2007. It was again dismantled and moved to the present site, where it has been restored to its historic condition. (Text is repeated in Spanish on the second half of the plaque.)
 
Location. 32° 17.941′ N, 106° 43.211′ W. Marker is in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in Dona Ana County. Click for map. Marker
Architecture of the Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Wyndfire, August 1, 2015
2. Architecture of the Bridge Marker
Iron and steel truss bridges gained popularity after the American Civil War during the expansion of railroads across the country. With bigger and heavier trains, these structures were much sturdier than their timber-frame predecessors. When Chaves County decided to build a sturdy, dependable bridge across the Pecos River in 1902, they benefited from several decades of advances in bridge building techniques, materials, and scientific approaches. By then a number of Midwestern companies had emerged to fill a growing need for railroad and highway bridges. Rather than build something on their own, Chaves County looked to these companies for advice. The design recommended and built by the Midland Bridge Company of Kansas City was one of several standard types of the day - a Pratt Through-Truss (patented by Thomas and Caleb Pratt in 1844). In this type, all the diagonal structures (except for the end ones) slant downward toward the middle of the bridge. These trusses support the weight of the bridge and traffic. Through-truss means the deck is at the bottom of the truss system, so traffic passes "through" the trusses when crossing. (Text is repeated in Spanish on the second half of the plaque.)
is located on the grounds of the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, in Las Cruces, NM. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces NM 88011, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. María Gutiérrez Spencer (approx. 2.4 miles away); Miller Field Gates (approx. 2.4 miles away); America's First Battle of World War II: The Philippines (approx. 3 miles away); Heroes of Bataan (approx. 3 miles away); Doña Ana County Courthouse (approx. 3.5 miles away); Rio Grande Theatre (approx. 3.5 miles away); La Mesilla (approx. 4.7 miles away); Doña Ana County Courthouse and Jail (approx. 4.7 miles away but has been reported missing). Click for a list of all markers in Las Cruces.
 
Categories. Bridges & Viaducts
 
The Historic Green Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Wyndfire, August 1, 2015
3. The Historic Green Bridge Marker
Rural Transportation in New Mexico Agriculture is heavily dependent on having good transportation networks. With a good road, a producer carried a larger load and made fewer trips hauling his goods to town. Without one, he often had to move (and sell) his crops when the road was passable or the river low enough to cross - not always when he could get the best price for his crop. Prior to the 1920s most rural roads and bridges were built and maintained at the expense of community and county governments. Much of the work was done by residents living near a road - often rural farmers and ranchers. The improvement of rural roads and the building of sturdy steel bridges like this one, along with the establishment of highway departments and a federal road network, marked a major step forward for many rural agricultural communities in the early 20th century. (Text is repeated in Spanish on the second half of the plaque.)
The Historic Green Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Wyndfire, August 1, 2015
4. The Historic Green Bridge
In its current location on the grounds of the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
The Historic Green Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Wyndfire, August 1, 2015
5. The Historic Green Bridge
Wide view of the bridge.
Secondary Historic Green Bridge Markers image. Click for full size.
By Wyndfire, August 1, 2015
6. Secondary Historic Green Bridge Markers
State of New Mexico Historic Designation Marker, 2007; and National Register of Historic Places Marker
Additional Historic Green Bridge Markers image. Click for full size.
By Wyndfire, August 1, 2015
7. Additional Historic Green Bridge Markers
A Registered Cultural Property marker; and marker celebrating the different stages of the bridge's life and its donation by Lincoln County.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Wyndfire of Phoenix, Arizona. This page has been viewed 218 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Wyndfire of Phoenix, Arizona. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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