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The railroad bridge

In its July 3rd, 1884 issue The Bossier Banner contained an article reprinted from the July 1st issue of The Shreveport Times.

“The railroad bridge across Red River is completed, except the painting and the finishing of the apron or wagon way on this side of the river. The under grade plate girder span, on the Shreveport side, is 60 feet. The through spans of which there are two, measuring each 262 feet 8 inches in length. The draw or pivot span is 300 feet and the last, which like the first, is 60 feet on the Bossier side, making 5 spans and a total length, according to these figures, given us yesterday, 925 feet 4 inches. The width of the bridge is 20 feet from centre to centre of trestle and the approaches are laid with Nicholson’s pavement [wood block pine pavers soaked in creosote]. The bridge has a double track wagon road and ample room for foot passengers.”

“About one year ago active operations were begun, but previous to that time very little progress was made, except in the necessary preparations for the work on the foundation, which has been very tedious. The construction of the bridge was contracted by Col. C. Shaller Smith, of St. Louis, who sublet the foundation and stone work to Mr. Peter Scully. The iron work, or bridge proper, has been in charge of Capt. C. J. Houser, superintendent, also of St. Louis, who informed us that the bridge is first class in every particular and as good and strong as a bridge can be constructed. The iron for the bridge was cast by the Edge Moore Iron Works of Delaware, and forwarded by mail to this city. Sixteen men are now engaged in laying the last coat of red paint on the bridge, which presents a very attractive appearance and is an ornament to our city and the parishes of Bossier and Caddo.”

In a similar vein, in the following issue of July 10th, The Banner reported that “The Times says the track layers on the V.S. and P. Railroad were within 2 ½ miles of Shreveport Monday night, and would reach the bridge at Red River Saturday. We learn that a passenger coach from near Shreveport passed through Lawrenceville for Monroe yesterday.”

“Lawrenceville, situated ten miles south of Bellevue, on the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad, is having quite a boom in business and improvements. There is life and bustle everywhere, and our new railroad town evidently has a bright future before it, in which well directed industry and liberal investments will surely be well rewarded. Success to the new town and its progressive citizens.”

To find out more about the history of bridges and railroads in Bossier Parish, come to the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.


Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us

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