“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Evansville in Natrona County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)

Richard's Bridge

The Bridge of the Emigration

Richard's Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 17, 2015
1. Richard's Bridge Marker
Inscription. Canyons and the southward curve of the North Platte west of here forced emigrant wagon trains to cross to the north side of the river somewhere between present Glenrock and Casper. This region was known generally as the Upper Platte Crossing. Until the construction of this bridge the crossing was usually done via dangerous and expensive ferries, the most famous of which was the Mormon Ferry, located at different times three to six miles west of this site.
In the winter of 1852-1853 John Richard (pronounced Reshaw) and his business associates including his brother Joseph and Joseph Bissonette, began construction of the bridge that stood at this site for thirteen years. It was completed in time for the Oregon and California emigrations of 1853.
An Oregon emigrant, John Murray, wrote on June 9, 1853: "The bridge is a substantial structure - it as 8 wood framed piers filled & sunk with rock & the reaches are supported by heavy braces. The sides are railed up & bottom planked. The bridge is about 150 yards long & comes out this side (north) on a high rock bank... At each end of the bridge are Indian lodges and trading houses & a blacksmith shop, Above the bridge a mile is another trading post where they have lots of horses and mules to sell or trade."
In 1859 another-bridge across the Platte was built by Louis Guinard
Richard's Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 17, 2015
2. Richard's Bridge Marker
six miles west were the military post Platte Bridge Station was established. Richard soon bought Gurnard's Bridge and operated stores at both locations. In 1864 Richard's Bridge was the departure point for the four large trains that opened the Bozeman Trail.
At the end of the 1864 travel season Richard closed his trading post at the bridge and moved everything to his store at Platte Bridge Station. In 1865 he sold his operations and left the area. Early in 1866 the army dismantled Richard's Bridge and hauled the timber to the post at the upper bridge, newly named Fort Caspar. It was used as firewood and building materials.
Erected 2000 by Oregon-California Trails Association.
Location. 42° 52.206′ N, 106° 16.026′ W. Marker is in Evansville, Wyoming, in Natrona County. Marker is on Platte Park Road near Cemetery Road (Curtis Road), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Evansville WY 82636, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. City of Casper (approx. 3.1 miles away); Pioneer Monument / Fort Casper (approx. 3.2 miles away); Monument Corrections (approx. 3.2 miles away);
The replicated Richard's Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 17, 2015
3. The replicated Richard's Bridge
Oregon-California Trail (approx. 3.3 miles away); Giving Shape to History (approx. 3.6 miles away); The Armory (approx. 3.7 miles away); Wyoming's Oil & Gas (approx. 3.9 miles away); Cable Tool Drilling Rig (approx. 3.9 miles away).
More about this marker. The marker and a reconstructed bridge are located in Reshaw Park.
Also see . . .  Reshaw's Bridge -- WyoHistory. During the fall of 1852, an experienced mountain trader named John Baptiste Richard, along with Joseph Bissonette, Charles Bordeaux, Louis Guinard and William Kenceleur, began building the first successful bridge to span the North Platte River. Earlier bridges, built just a few years before, were dismal failures destroyed by spring flooding. This bridge was constructed only a quarter of a mile above The California Crossing and, until 1860 was known simply as The Bridge or Platte Bridge. (Submitted on January 4, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsRoads & Vehicles
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 4, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 171 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 4, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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