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Texas | Architecture | Bridges

Falls County, Texas

Bowstring Truss Bridge

Legion Park
Rosebud, Texas

Built in 1867 by King Iron Works
Originally over Pond Creek in southern Falls County

Rosebud's Carnegie Bridge
Tiny Bowstring Span has Andrew’s Welded “Signature”

By Johnny Stucco

Rosebud TX - Carnegie Foot Bridge Front
Watch your first step.
TE photo, 2005

Rosebud's Carnegie Bridge

by Johnny Stucco
March 1, 2010

Andrew Carnegie was perhaps the ultimate rags-to-riches story. After becoming one of the richest men of his era, upon retirement he set out to give his money away – with a vengeance. His gift of library buildings across the English-speaking world is well known. (Two Thousand, eight hundred buildings world-wide and nineteen hundred and forty-six in the U.S. alone.)

Prior to 1872, Andrew Carnegie had three passions: bridges, railroad passenger cars and telegraphy. His iron mills were seen as a subsidiary to his less-profitable Keystone Bridge Company, which he himself called his “pet” interest. Carnegie’s passion for bridges was that they provided monuments that would endure for generations and that they required engineering and architectural design (when constructed on a large scale). These were skills that Carnegie greatly admired.

While the first bridge across the Mississippi (at St. Louis) was widely known as the Eads Bridge (after its designer James B. Eads), it was, in fact, constructed by Carnegie’s Keystone Bridge Company. The bridge was started in the summer of 1868 and completed in the spring of 1874.

While much has been written on the grand bridges, what are we to make of this tiny bowstring bridge in Rosebud, Texas? Formed of Carnegie steel, it clearly dates much later, but there is no date-plate attached.

Was it an experiment that produced few examples before being abandoned? Were the sisters to this sample turned into scrap for WWII?

Searching the Internet brought up few clues. The overwhelming content for a “Carnegie Bridge” search reveals a beautiful span in Cleveland, over the Cuyahoga River, however, the reference to the name Carnegie is an avenue by that name that connects to the bridge. It is now known as the Hope Memorial Bridge, after Bob Hope’s father, a local stonemason. Who knew? This modest little bridge sits on solid ground in Rosebud’s city park, providing no information – only mystery.

Rosebud native Henry Skupin (now of Houston) called an old classmate who provided some information on how the bridge came to be where it currently is, but nothing on its origin.

William Tarver writes: “If I recall correctly from my youth, the bridge was originally installed over Pond Creek in southern Falls County. Excess erosion caused a new bridge to be installed. The old bridge was purchased by the City of Rosebud and the city paid to transport it to the city park to provide a second means of egress for the park. I think the bridge was a ‘kit’ bridge manufactured by one of the Andrew Carnegie’s foundries around 1900.”

For now, until more information is discovered, or until similar bridges surface, Rosebud, Texas has perhaps the only extant sample of a (small scale) “Carnegie Bridge” in Texas.

[For Updates, see Forum below:]

Carnegie name welded on Foot Bridge , Rosebud Texas
"The quailty goes in before the name's welded on."
TE photo, 2005


Subject: How the bridge came to Rosebud

Some years ago I read your piece on the bridge in Legion Park in Rosebud. There were some questions about its origins. I recently was going through an old Rosebud News, July 5, 1963, showing the moving of the bridge and detailing its arrival in Rosebud.

I revisited your story. It was correctly stated that the bridge was removed from Pond Creek, and a new bridge put in place. The Rosebud bridge, according to the newspaper, was built in 1867 by King Iron Works.

Felix Neinast, a County Commissioner at that time, requested that the bridge be given to the City of Rosebud. The City actually refused the bridge as they felt it would be too costly to maintain and would not add anything to the park. The American Legion took up the cause and decided to accept the bridge from the County and began a campaign to raise money to replace the floor. Prior to being moved to Rosebud, the bridge was in Lott where it was repaired and repainted before being moved to its present location.

I enjoy your [magazine] very much. Thank you for preserving history! - Fran Hargrove, Rosebud, Texas, August 19, 2021

Rosebud TX - Carnegie Bowstring Steel Foot Bridge
Repaired & repainted in Lott
The bridge at its new home
TE photo, 2005

Subject: Rosebud Bowstring Truss Bridge
I’ve been enjoying looking around your site. The bowstring bridge in Rosebud is almost certainly made by the King Bridge Co. The reason for statement is that the structure of the bowstring truss matches the King patent. The Carnegie marks represent the mill that made the iron. King would have likely made the bridge between the 1860s and the 1880s. I hope this helps. Regards, Art Suckewer, January 12, 2014

Rosebud TX - Bolt on Carnegie Bowstring Steel Foot Bridge
"Bolt upright"
TE photo, 2005

Rosebud TX - Carnegie Bowstring Steel Foot Bridge
Form and Function
TE photo, 2005

Rosebud TX - Grafitto on Carnegie Bridge
Romantic grafitto
TE photo, 2005

More Texas Bridges

See Rosebud, Texas

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