In the early 20th Century, a unique Missouri bridge builder named Joseph A Dice built a large number of unique suspension bridges for local governments in Missouri. He did not engineer his bridges and he did not draw plans for his bridges, instead he simply eyeballed the place where the bridge was to be built and figured out how much material he needed and what configuration that bridge should have.
This bridge is near the much larger and unaltered Grand Auglaize Bridge, which is the second largest and most historically intact Dice suspension bridge.
The Mill Creek Swinging Bridge has been extensively altered, and the majority of original bridge material and design has been lost. Thus, this bridge is given a lower Historic Significance Rating. The original cable remains on the bridge but is nonfunctional, having been bypassed by a new main cable. All suspender cables have been replaced. Floorbeams have been replaced. The anchorages appear to have been replaced or heavily altered to support the new cable. The deck has also been replaced with corrugated metal.
This bridge has not been preserved, since the historic integrity has been lost. It is imperative that the nearby Grand Auglaize Bridge which is unaltered never be altered in this manner!
Information and Findings From Missouri's Historic Bridge Inventory
Superstructure: steel cable suspension bridge
Discussion of Bridge
The Mill Creek Bridge is a steel cable suspension bridge that crosses over Mill Creek some two miles southwest of Brumley in Miller County. The bridge was designed and built by Joseph A. Dice, a well-known regional bridge builder. A native of Warsaw, the county seat of nearby Benton County, Dice erected up to thirty-one bridges between circa 1896 and the mid-1930s. These included Dice's most notable spans, suspension bridges over the Osage River in Benton, Miller, and Saint Clair Counties. The 135-foot Mill Creek Bridge, supported by concrete abutments and spill through piers, features straight suspension wire, rather than the widely heralded twisted wire rope made famous by Washington Roebling's 1883 Brooklyn Bridge. Additionally, the structure consists of a non-rigid substructure owing to the lack of bolts to secure the floor beams to the stringer beams and the absence of bolts to secure deck flooring to the stringers. These unusual construction techniques were evidently employed by Dice in order to conserve the meager funds procured from nearby citizens and county coffers. Dice's atypical suspension bridge design also incorporated planked flooring, which was not anchored to the abutments, and a single-lane roadway. All these design elements contribute to the structural significance of Miller County's suspension bridges and to Dice's reputation as an innovative Missouri bridge builder. County records contain little or no written documentation pertaining to Dice's suspension bridges in Miller County, which suggests that they were built for local road districts. Preferring to operate on a verbal and spatial basis, the prolific contractor apparently did not retain any written records either. The self-trained bridge builder never drew up any plans or specifications for the structures he erected, instead, relying solely on his memory. Dice illustrated this unorthodox practice by explaining, "with a ball of string to stretch across the river a couple of times, l could just sort of feel the correct measurements." The majority of the "swinging bridges" Dice designed were built by raising money through local subscription and were simply constructed using timber harvested from along stream and river banks. Since its erection circa 1925, the Mill Creek Bridge has functioned in place, although a recent renovation in which the original towers and concrete pedestals were replaced and the steel cables reinforced with new cables-compromises the bridge's structural integrity substantially. Ten suspension bridges built by Missouri bridge builder J .A. Dice remain in central Missouri. As a group, these spans comprise the state's most important examples of vernacular bridge construction, designed and built without benefit of detailed structural analysis or computation and utilizing atypical construction techniques. The Mill Creek Bridge, with possesses the shortest span in the state, is as a representative example of an esoteric structural type.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.
Original / Full Size Photos
|A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.|
Mobile Optimized Gallery
|A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem
(dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer
download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
© Copyright 2003-2017, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.