St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Bridge

Before they built their own bridge, St Louis Iron Mountain & Southern had trackage rights over Fort Smith & Van Buren Bridge Co (a Frisco property) from STL&SF north connection [29 feet north of SLSF crossing at Van Buren] to StL&SF south connection, located between Ark River bridge and Ft. Smith. Total trackage rights mileage 1.39 mi. Agreement dated 11-24-1885 and Nov 2, 1891. Each engine or psgr car $2.00, each frt car $1.50, minimum charge of $12,000 per annum. The Iron Mountain, Helen Gould, bridge was dedicated May 27, 1891.

Contributed by Bill Pollard

The so-called Helen Gould bridge was 2407'-3" long and consisted of 10 197'-1 7/8" Peagram truss spans and a 366'-7" draw span. There was a 38' concrete span on the west approach. The Peagram truss was designed by Washington University graduate George H. Peagram and was also used in the train shed of St. Louis Union Station. The bridge was manufactured by the Union Bridge Co. of Athens, OH.

The Peagram truss was not extensively used because it used different numbers of panels in the top and bottom of the chord. This resulted in suspended floor beams instead of the usual arrangement of attaching the floor beams to the truss.

Iron Mountain "Helen Gould" Bridge from Belle Point

Contributed by Bill Pollard
This view of the Iron Mountain/Missouri Pacific bridge is from the Oklahoma side of the Arkansas River.

H. E. Huber Collection
Iron Mountain Helen Gould bridge originally served as a railroad, wagon and pedestrian bridge from Ft. Smith to Indian Territory, or Oklahoma.

Toll booths

Collection of Mike Condren
Bridges connecting Ft. Smith and Oklahoma, highway on the left, railroad on the right during the construction of the highway bridge.

A view of the Ft. Smith bridges during the 1943 flood.

Contributed by H. E. Huber
May 1943 flood from the Oklahoma side of the river.

Library of Congress Collection
Contributed by Justin Farnsworth
A view of the 1943 flood.

Contributed by Bill Pollard
From the July 1950 Missouri Pacific Lines Magazine

Contributed by H. E. Huber
This view of a 1950s flood shows the obvious pin connected construction.

Louis A. Marre Collection
The west end of the Helen Gould bridge in 12/59, just before the next picture was taken, some 5 months before the end of MP passenger service to Ft. Smith.

Louis A. Marre Collection
MP #8032 leaves the portal of the Helen Gould bridge as it departs Ft. Smith on train #126, 12/59.

Mike Condren Photo
MP GP7 #244 is Van Buren bound as the AC Local leaves Ft. Smith in June of 1967.

Mike Condren Photo
MP #367 approaches Ft. Smith working the AC Local, 5/3/68. The arches are for the US 64 bridge.

Mike Condren Photo
MP GP7 #179 is seen crossing the Iron Mountain "Helen Gould" bridge and taking the south leg of the wye as it enters Fort Smith, 8/19/68.

Mike Condren Photo
In this sequence taken from the walkway of the US 64 bridge, MP GP7 #188 on the AC Local approaches Fort Smith on 8/27/68. Note that the rock work for channelization of the river is present on the OK side of the river.

Mike Condren Photo
Rubble during the demolition of the Iron Mountain bridge as part of the Kerr-McClellan Navigation project.

Bill Pollard Contribution

This site is maintained by the Arkansas Boston Mountains Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society located in Springdale, Arkansas
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