Medora in Billings County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Little Missouri Bridge
The Little Missouri River was a challenge for motorists. Motorists had to ford the river or wait for a railroad crew to carry their autos across on a flatcar.
Construction of a transcontinental highway system began in 1912. The lack of proper river crossings impeded the highway’s progress.
Because Medora lacked the finances to build a bridge, the National Parks Highway Association solicited donations from communities along the route. In the spirit of “boosting” the region linked by the highway, donations from $800 to $1,700 were collected to raise funds. For a time the span was known locally as “The Bridge That Boost Built.”
In 1915, the Illinois Steel Bridge Company was contracted to build the bridge. The narrow, steel-truss structure consisted of three 137-foot 9-inch spans supported by 24-foot high steel piers, resting upon a 10-foot thick concrete base. The final cost was $14,580. Grade and road fees were $3,200.
The bridge dedication took place on July 24, 1916. A large crowd gathered to hear well-known North Dakota poet James W. Foley, Jr., a Medora native, read an original composition entitled “The Building of the Bridge.”
The 1916 bridge across the Little Missouri continued in use until replaced in 1942 by a 32-foot wide bridge.
(Marker Number 13.)
Location. 46° 55.054′ N, 103° 31.996′ W. Marker is in Medora, North Dakota, in Billings County. Marker is on Pacific Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. The marker is located just west of the Little Missouri River. Marker is in this post office area: Medora ND 58645, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Frontier Military (here, next to this marker); Little Missouri: The Town (here, next to this marker); Bad Lands Cantonment (here, next to this marker); Medora Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Chateau de Mores (within shouting distance of this marker); De Mores Packing Plant (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dreams of a Cattle Empire (approx. ¼ mile away); Loading Dock (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Medora.
More about this marker. The bottom of the marker contains a photograph of the 1916 dedication of the “Red Trail Bridge.” A smaller photograph at the upper right of the marker depicts a horse drawn buggy fording the river, and has a caption of “Buggy traffic through the Little Missouri River became unnecessary after the construction of the bridge.”
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 31, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 154 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 31, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.