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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Local Bridge to nominated for National Register of Historic Places

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The State Highway 289 Bridge over English Creek has been nominated to be on the National Historic Register. The bridge is a Pratt thru-truss bridge, which was built in 1929. Photo by Emily McIntosh
There are places people travel, go to and cross over that many take for granted every day until they stop and wonder how long has this been here and what is its history?

The State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) announced Dec. 4 that they have nominated 12 properties for the National Register of Historic Places, one of which is in Fulton County.

On State Highway 289 south of Mammoth Spring, near Saddle, is an old Pratt thru-truss bridge that has been safely leading travelers across the English Creek since 1929, according to the AHPP.

The Pratt thru-truss bridge was designed in 1844 by Thomas and Caleb Pratt, according to the National Register of Historic Places registration form. Early truss bridges were made with wood, but this bridge is made from concrete and steel to carry heavy loads. The total structure length of the bridge is 153.8 feet with a Pratt thru-truss span of 122 feet.

Those who first settled around what is now known as Mammoth Spring in the 1830s, called the area "Head of the River" because it was close to the source of the Spring River, states the registration form. When David Dale Owen, a geologist came, he found that the underground spring, which feeds the river, produced about 200 million gallons of water per day at about 9,000 barrels per minute. It was thought that the spring was one of the largest springs in the world, so the spring was named Mammoth Spring, which later became the name of the town.

Mammoth Spring soon saw a lot of tourism from those who heard of the gigantic spring, and roads and bridges needed to be made to accommodate them and their heavy vehicles.

According to the AHPP, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company of Roanoke, Va., was contracted to build the Pratt thru-truss bridge across the English Creek in 1929. This company was a division of American Bridge and Iron Company, which was founded in 1889 by I.E. Hunter, C.L. Michael and P.K. Wentworth. The company expanded throughout the rest of the 19th century and in 1952 it merged with the American Bridge Company, which is still in business today.

The 289 Bridge over English Creek was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places according to two criteria. Under Criterion A in the National Register criteria the "property is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history." Criterion C states that the "property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction or represents the work of a master or possesses high artistic values or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components lack individual distinction."

The AHPP in the National Register of Historic Places registration form states that the bridge qualifies for nomination under these criteria. "Constructed in 1929, the AR 289 Bridge over English Creek is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A for its associations with the development of vehicular transportation in Fulton County," the form states. "The AR 289 Bridge over English Creek is also being nominated (for) Criterion C as an excellent example of an early 20th century Pratt thru-truss bridge."

Other structures and properties that were nominated to be on the National Register of Historic Places are:

Block 35 Cobblestone Alley at Little Rock in Pulaski County, a ca. 1889 stone street remnant.

Southwestern Proving Ground Building No. 4 near Hope in Hempstead County, built in 1941 as a gun shelter and stockade.

Earl Building at Morrilton in Conway County, a 1926 automobile dealership.

Heber Springs Commercial Historic District at Heber Springs in Cleburne County, with buildings dating to 1895.

Mike Meyer Disfarmer Gravesite at Heber Springs in Cleburne County, final resting place of a noted portrait photographer.

Little Rock to Cantonment Gibson Road -- Fourth Street Segment at Atkins in Pope County, an 1828 road traveled during the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

Enola Baptist Church at Enola in Faulkner County, a ca. 1953 building featuring a Mixed-Masonry veneer by African-American stonemason Silas Owens Sr.

Ephesus Cemetery at Emmett in Nevada County, with burials dating to 1876.

Camden to Washington Road -- Rosston Segment near Rosston in Nevada County, built in 1821.

Concord School House near Eureka Springs in Carroll County, an 1886 one-room schoolhouse.

Illinois River Bridge at Phillips Ford near Savoy in Washington County, a 1928 reinforced-concrete, filled-spandrel arch.

According to the AHPP, anyone can get their property registered on the National Register of Historic Places or the Arkansas Register of Historic Places as long as the criteria is fulfilled.

For more information about the National Register of Historic Places, write to AHPP at 1500 Tower Building, 323 Center Street, Little Rock, Ar. 72201 or call 501-324-9880 (TDD 501-324-9811). E-mails can also be sent to info@arkansas preservation. org or for more information visit the AHPP's Web site at www.arkansaspreservation.org.

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