Rock Church Bridge

Hood County

Abandoned route spanning Paluxy River near County Route 2870 in the vicinity of Tolar, Texas

 

History

The Rock Church Bridge spans the Paluxy River at the Rock Church Community of Hood County, Texas. Closed to traffic, and privately owned, the 1917 cable and stayed truss suspension bridge is located just east of FM 2870, not far from Tolar, Texas. This vernacular structure looks as if it was constructed from left over scrap materials, but the appearance is typical of several suspension bridges built in Texas between the 1890s and the early 1900s. Basic materials used to fabricate this type of bridge included cable, timber, and metal pipe. Readily available, gas piping cost little, could be easily transported to the site, and cut to length in the field. When Rock Church families decided to replace their timber "swinging bridge" with a sturdier one able to carry not only their children to the Rock Church School, but their wagons, they chose the cable suspension bridge. Jesse Caraway donated land for the bridge and its approaches, and traveled to Tolar to bring materials from the railroad depot to the site. Members of the community, according to local residents, participated in building the bridge. Today, the bridge still stands, but the approaches are gone and no public road allows access. The Rock Church Bridge remains a silent witness to an extinct building technology.

 

About this drawing:

The Texas Historic Bridges Recording Project is part of the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), a long-range program documenting historically significant engineering, industrial, and maritime sites in the United States. The HAER program is administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. The Texas Historic Bridges Recording Project was co-sponsored during the summer of 1996 by HAER under the general direction of E. Blaine Cliver, chief, the Texas Department of Transportation, Environmental Affairs Division and Design Division, and the Federal Highway Administration.

 

© 2003 Historic Bridge Foundation. Drawing by Jennifer M. Chrusciel, 2000