Clements Stone Arch Bridge

I hope all of you had a great restful weekend.

We had company this weekend, a close friend of mine made her semi-annual visit from Missouri. Glenda arrived Friday night and we had a great few days together. We grilled steaks Friday evening, took a day trip down to the Flint Hills Saturday where we visited Cottonwood Falls, ate lunch at the Emma Chase cafe, visited the Clement’s Stone Arch Bridge, and then stopped by 3 old stone schoolhouses on the way home. Sunday we went to church, and then Sunday evening we got together with some friends for some more grilled steaks and some fierce domino playing. Yesterday morning, Glenda headed back home, and then I went out to help Harland with some fence repair. The rest of the day was spent watering my flower beds (we haven’t had rain for a month), and doing some weeding.

I took a few pics over the weekend, among them pics of the stone arch bridge I mentioned above.

It was built in 1886, and was used until a new bridge was built(in the 1980s?) further up the Cottonwood river  in Chase county.

Glenda takes a break while Harland peeks over the side of the bridge.

The Cottonwood river

I looked up the application for the National Register of Historic Places to learn more about it. It was built of native limestone from local quarries. It is a 2 arch bridge rising 40 feet above the river. The cost to build it was $12,000, which was a hefty sum in 1886.

Harland and I walked down through the brush to get to the river’s edge for a better view.

Harland contemplates how many ticks we'll collect before we wade through the brush.

Beneath the bridge

This was the first time we’ve ever trekked down under the bridge so we were suprised by just how large it is. Look how small Harland looks there in the lower right corner of the pic above.

In the pic below, you can still see the chisel marks in the stone.

Unfortunately, the bridge is in disrepair. Last year part of the railing and riverbank on the south end of the bridge was washed away in a flood. The bridge is owned by the county, but doesn’t have the resources for its upkeep.

If you would like to learn more about the building of the bridge, you can read the National Register application by clicking HERE.

If you are interested in visiting the bridge, click HERE for a map. (Fourteen miles west of Strong City on US-50 to Clements, then 1-1/2 miles South)

Have a great day all!



Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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13 Responses

  1. Lynda M O says:

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos you all take. You provide opportunities for further education and some of the neatest out of the way spots in Middle America.

  2. LOVE these pictures. I’ve never been to see this bridge, though I’ve heard much about it. I need to take my daughter there! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Alica says:

    That picture with Harland under the bridge really does show a neat perspective on just how huge it is! You get to see some of the neatest, out of the way places…thanks for sharing them with us!

  4. Mandy says:

    I love learning about landmarks and the history behind them, beautiful pictures too!

  5. Kerry Hand says:

    Love bridges. I understand the science. But still wonder how they even stand up.

  6. JMart says:

    These photos are great! I almoat felt as though I was there and that’s a good thing!! Anyone interested in a more in-depth account of this area might be inclined to read PrairyErth by William Least Heat Moon.

    Visits with dear friends are great for the soul.

    Thanks, Suzanne

  7. Karen says:

    You go to the most interesting places! I love seeing old bridges – the amazing construction is like a puzzle. So nice that your friend came to visit. It sounds like you had a great time! xx

  8. I just love stone bridges. They blend with the prairie best. That one is huge!

  9. I’ve seen pictures of this bridge before, but never realized until now how big it is!

  10. Lovely Mrs E says:

    It’s been many years since you posted this article, so I hope you see this. I love the Clements Stone Bridge and have several drawings and photos of it. It is especially dear to me because my great-grandfather, John Frew, of Cottonwood Falls, was a civil engineer, and was one of the architecs to design the bridge.
    I hope the county can keep it from totally collapsing. The last time I saw it was in 2005, and I have since moved out of state. Thanks for featuring this wonderful old bridge.

    • Suzanne says:

      Thank you for sharing your story about this bridge and congrats to John Frew on a job well done as the bridge is still standing after 126 years. Unfortunately, while there is talk from time to time about fixing and upkeep on the bridge, nothing comes of it. It’s sad.

  11. Cecily Beth Adams Ingalls says:

    I am related to Cottonwood Falls Kansas family as well. My mother is Eileen Price Adams, daughter of Ogle and Elizabeth Price, Elizabeth was Elizabeth Frew, daughter of John Frew. I have pictures of the bridge as well, and the schoolhouse. Visited there several times with my mother. There is a picture of me on the bridge over the Cottonwood Falls bridge when I was about 6 months old…. during the flood of 1951 🙂 I have a faceabook page or you can email me if you wish.
    704 NW Euclid Avenue Lawton Oklahoma 73507

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