|Craig Bridge 1904
|Original proposals from Elkhart Bridge Co. The County archive has a wonderful collection of bridge documentation, everything from proposals such as
these to repair billing and estimates that followed the bridge throughout its life. These two examples offer the commission different prices on bridges to
cross the Missouri at Craig and optional materials in 1902. The Commission voted on the second of three variations, proposal Z-A-3 was an all cast
steel frame and combination steel, wood decking, including piers for $9,999.00, thats just under $250,000.00 in change today.9.00
The Craig Bridge was completed in 1904, through the aid of public support in aid of petition and county officers such as John F. Wegner who saw the need to retire the ancient hand drawn
ferry crossing and build a solid link to span the Missouri. This Bridge, the second oldest structure to cross the Missouri in Montana was slated for the scrap yard to make way for the new
two lane super bridge built by Morgan & Oswood Construction of Great Falls Montana. This concrete two lane grew beside the century old single lane steel span over the last few years.
The Craig Bridge was carefully disassembled section by section. The steel and wood decking removed to lessen the weight to a manageable 22 tons each. Tamietti Movers of Butte,
America was sold the bridge as scrap and contracted to move the three main structures, including the smaller approach pony truss to the Hardy Creek station for a short rest when later
in 2007 the pieces could be safely moved to Helena for reassembly on the 108 acres of the former State Nursery & Seed Co. The plans changed and transport to Helena directly was
Initial plans were to try and adopt and preserve the bridge in place but that became more and more complicated and in the end we were given space to provide a home that was large
enough to give it a proper stance and to regain service in some way, though this is not comparable to its presence on the great Missouri, it is however a much preferable fate to being
scraped for tractor rims and a link to our history lost forever.
My grandfather once told me that poetry could not do justice to the sensation of standing inside the Great Plunge of the Broadwater Resort, its mass could not be taken in all at once. Its
beauty, like sunlight dancing off water and stained glass became difficult to put into words.
That amazing structure was lost to time..... No one ever gave it a fighting chance to survive. The power of that industrial era where nothing was impossible and dreams ignited the spirit
has to be preserved at any cost. When the youth can no longer see the accomplishments of our past they are limited in the dreams of what can be.
Thank you all for your help and contributions to the Craig Bridge Project, support is still needed to move and reassemble this link to our past. With your help this bridge will stand again.
Articles by MARTIN J. KIDSTON - IR Staff Writer can be seen on these links, Thanks Martin for your dedicated writing and updates on the efforts to save these bridges.
Jon Axline article on Craig Bridge can be read at
|This great panorama shot of the bridge provided by Kent Barnes of the
MDT Bridge Department.
Kent was instrumental in getting the different departments and contractors together
and moving foreword to save this amazing st