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Fort Benton in Chouteau County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Fort Benton Bridge

 
 
Fort Benton Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
1. Fort Benton Bridge Marker
Inscription.  When railroads replaced steamboats, Fort Benton's importance as a trade center declined. In response, Fort Benton businessmen formed the Benton Bridge Company to construct a bridge across the Missouri River to capture the trade of the rapidly developing Judith Basin. The first steel bridge across the Missouri River in Montana made it possible for ranchers and farmers to ship their livestock and grain from the Fort Benton railhead. It thus preserved Fort Benton's significance to regional trade. Since the Missouri was classified as a navigable waterway, the newly formed Benton Bridge Company needed federal permission to build. Congress approved the project after requiring that one span be built on a pivot so the bridge could open to let boats through. In 1888, the firm of Haney and Ryann began sinking the bridge's piers, which they protected with ice breaks built of heavy timbers. The work was dangerous; two men died during construction. The Milwaukee Bridge and Iron Works Company built the steel and iron superstructure. On completion, the newspaper declared the 825-foot, six span, pin-connected, through-truss bridge "as strong and durable as its
Fort Benton Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
2. Fort Benton Bridge Marker
is handsome." It cost pedestrians 5 cents and a horse and buggy 25 cents to cross. Each head of cattle cost 12.5 cents, with special rates of large droves. The county purchased the structure in 1892. After June 1908 floods washed out the swing span, the Army Corps of Engineers gave permission to replace it with a permanent pin-connected, steel Parker through-truss span. Vehicles continued to cross the Missouri over "the Great Iron Bridge" until 1962.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society; Department of the Interior, National Register of Historic Places.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program marker series.
 
Location. 47° 49.049′ N, 110° 40.037′ W. Marker is in Fort Benton, Montana, in Chouteau County. Marker is at the intersection of Front Street and 15th Street, on the right when traveling east on Front Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1505 Front Street, Fort Benton MT 59442, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Open Range Cattle (a few steps from this marker); "George Montgomery: Rider of the Purple Sage" (a few steps from this marker); June 6, 1908 (a few steps from this marker); Stream Flow Monitoring (a few steps from this marker); Old Fort Benton Bridge
Fort Benton Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 14, 2019
3. Fort Benton Bridge
(a few steps from this marker); Pacific Hotel (a few steps from this marker); Culbertson House (within shouting distance of this marker); First Fire Engine House (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Benton.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located in Fort Benton's riverside park.
 
Categories. Bridges & Viaducts
 

More. Search the internet for Fort Benton Bridge.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 9, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 9, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 50 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 9, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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