Bryant Station Camelback Bridge
Road 275 at the Little River, Bucholts vincinity, Milam County.
Meandering dirt roads lead to this impressive camelback truss bridge near the old Bryant Station trading post in northwestern Milam County. The Chicago Bridge and Iron Company erected the willowy 200-foot span in 1909.
Spanning Little River at County Route 275, Bucholts vincinity, Milam County,
Station Bridge was built across Little River in 1909. The bridge was fabricated
by the prolific Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, a merger of independent
bridge builders Horace E. Horton of Rochester, Minnesota, George E. King
of Des Moines, Iowa, and the Kansas City Bridge and Iron Company of Rosedale,
Kansas. C.Q. Horton, a southern agent for the Chicago Bridge and Iron
Company based in Austin, Texas, was awarded the $5980.00 contract.
Station Bridge is named after a U.S. Army station established to keep
Native American tribes out of the Republic of Texas capital at Washington-on-the-Brazos.
At the order of Sam Houston, president of the Republic, Benjamin F. Bryant
set up the station in 1840. On about three thousand acres, he built a
log cabin and fort on the north side of the Little River. A village developed
around Bryan Station and it became an important stagecoach stop on the
route to Austin.
camelback design is a variant on the Pratt truss. The Pratt truss, typically
used for spans from 125'-0" to 250'-", was the inconspicuous
truss of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The Pratt trusses
are divided into rectangular panels each crossed by two diagonals. The
Camelback Truss replaced the Pratt's design's horizontal top chord with
a polygonal top chord and increased the truss' strength.
The Bryant Station Bridge consists of one camelback through truss of 200'-0" span, both ends of which are supported on pairs of cylindrical concrete columns. Approach spans supported on I-beam bents bring the structure's total length to 343'-0". From a distance it seems as if the verticals of the bridge are of unequal length, although closer inspection reveals that the deck is built on a slope. The banks at each end of the bridge are not of equal height. To account for this, the 15 1/4"-deep deck beams are bolted to double-angle brackets that are riveted to the verticals at varying distances above the lower chord. As a result, the deck gently slopes to match the abutments. For some site-specific circumstances, such as banks of unequal height, Horton's modification of a standard truss to fit its site makes the bridge an artifact showing compromises and choices made in the built environment in 1909. The Bryant Station Bridge is one of two surviving bridges employing a single span pin-connected camelback through truss in Texas and one of five employing a camelback through truss.
© 2003 Historic Bridge Foundation. Photo by Barbara Stocklin, Texas Department of Transportation.